Sometimes my Launchpad just look like this without any app icons. What causes this problem and how can I solve it?

I am using 2011 11″ MacBook Air with OS X 10.9.1



5 Answers 5


This didn't work for me,
Finder did not respond, clicking on Apps gave this error

Could not obtain valid temporary directory for sandboxed app ...

I also had to open a terminal and run:

cd /var/folder
sudo rm -rf *

Searched for and opened Activity Monitor, stopped the com.apple.IconServicesAgent service and rebooted.

My icons came back in launchpad and dock.


Delete the Dock database files and relaunch Dock:

rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db && killall -HUP Dock
  • 2
    I don't recommend to delete these files, to my know this resets the while dock.
    – idmean
    Apr 7, 2014 at 17:16
  • @wumm Yes it will reset the dock, but it is also likely to fix the problem. You can always make a backup of the files first and restore them if the problem was not fixed.
    – grg
    Aug 16, 2014 at 17:44

i read on another website if you type the following in terminal the launch pad gets back to normal:

rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db; killall Dock

i had the same problem and this worked so hope it helps anyone else with the same problem.

  • This does help BUT ! only for a few days. Then the problem returns.
    – ILIV
    Nov 1, 2017 at 8:31

A less intrusive way to tell LaunchPad to reset it's settings and regenerate app listing and icons is to perform this command line step:

defaults -currentHost write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true; killall Dock

Your screen desktop may blank and the dock will go away momentarily. If this doesn't work, the next step is to log out and back in. A reboot also could help further in some limited cases.

See more discussion at https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/194073/5472 and https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/150973/5472

  • For me, I tried many ways, only this one works for me. Thanks! Jul 24, 2019 at 18:46
  • This also resets the LaunchPad to its default factory state, i.e., cluttered up with apps you don't want, don't need, don't use, and can't get rid of. May 19, 2023 at 19:06
  • Yes @hbquikcomjamesl that is what regenerating the app listing does... It removes the customizations and / changes from the default, causes the icons to be read and stored again in the database. The other answers do that as well, less safely and more margin of error.
    – bmike
    May 19, 2023 at 21:12
  1. Open Finder
  2. Go to "~/Library/Application Support/Dock".
  3. Find file *.db, delete it,
  4. Open Terminal, type killall Dock, and all icons return.

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