macOS: 5 Ways to Find and Launch Mac Apps

There are multiple ways to find and launch Mac apps, and we’re here to tell you about 5 of them.


Launch Mac apps using Finder.It’s not glamorous, nor is it fast, but nevertheless one way to find and launch apps is by using Finder. macOS has a dedicated Applications folder where all your apps are found. You’ll find Applications in the sidebar on the left, or by going to [ComputerName] > Applications.


Launch Mac apps using Spotlight.A faster way to launch apps is Spotlight. You can launch Spotlight by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the menu bar, or with the keyboard shortcut Command (⌘) + Space. Then, just start typing a few letters of the app name, and it will appear.


Launch Mac apps using Launchpad.Launchpad first came to the Mac with OS X Lion. It’s a fullscreen graphical user interface (GUI) that makes it easy to find apps. Once you find the app you want, just click on its icon. Access Launchpad by clicking the Launchpad app in the dock (default location). Or, you can access it with a trackpad gesture. Pinch inward with your thumb and three or more fingers.


Launch Mac apps using the Dock.When you first set up a Mac, you’ll find a selection of Apple’s apps on the Dock. You can add apps to the Dock, or remove them. To add an app, go to Applications Finder, then drag the app onto the Dock. To remove an app, click and drag the app off the Dock, and it will disappear in a puff of smoke.


Launch Mac apps using Siri.Siri came to the Mac with macOS Sierra. One of many things she can do is launch apps. Access Siri by clicking the Siri icon in the dock, in the menu bar, or assign a keyboard shortcut in System Preferences.

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The trouble, for me, with Spotlight and Siri is you have to know the name of the App. Oh sure Pages is easy. But what about that odd one with the icon with scissors that you use in place of Photoshop? (Grab) Or that other one for audio. Oh you know it it has the blue icon with yellow and red squiggly bits. (Audacity). And telling Siri to “open that sound editor app” doesn’t work. You need to have the name, and know how to spell it. So, I have half a dozen of my most used apps in the… Read more »


Talking about non-features: in OS 9 Apple had the wonderful feature of programmable F-keys to launch apps and files. I loved that, I miss it. (After the loss of Rosetta, I haven’t had the energy to find yet another dang macro app.)


Allow me to save you some of said energy: I really like Keyboard Maestro, which I tried after seeing that QuicKeys, which I had always intended to try in the System 7 days (but never got around to actually doing it) works only “substantially” with releases after Snow Leopard. Sierra is the most recent version the makers of QuicKeys mention on their site.

Keyboard Maestro, on the other hand, takes compatibility with the latest releases way beyond merely “substantial.”

Please note that I say the above as nothing more than a satisfied customer.