I have a mid-2013 13" MacBook Air and I like to use the keyboard whenever possible as opposed to clicking.

In Mavericks I could open Launchpad (Fn-F4 in my case), navigate to a folder using the arrow keys, open that folder with the return key, navigate to an app icon using the arrow keys, and open that app with the return key. All good.

In Yosemite (OSX v. 10.10) I can open an app that way only if it's in the top level of Launchpad. If I'm inside a folder in Launchpad, I can navigate around using the keyboard but cannot open an app using the return key. Nor can I open an app with command-O or any other key that I can find. (Inside a folder, when I navigate around, the background of the selected app icon turns a light gray instead of a darker gray in the top level of Launchpad. I'm not sure if that is significant in some way.)

This is puzzling to me. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

[Update, Sept 18, 2016: Launchpad launches apps as expected with the return key in this situation as of OS X El Capitan, version 10.11.5. No more bug.]

  • Yesterday at an Apple Store I replicated this issue on a (non-Retina) 27" iMac and a Mac Mini. I'm thinking this is just a straight-up bug in Yosemite.
    – Ben Read
    Nov 5, 2014 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


LaunchPad was designed as a primarily non-keyboard UI for opening apps.

A drastically easier way to launch an app via the keyboard is to use Spotlight under Yosemite. A simple Command-Space, then the first few letters of the app name, then press return.


Just press ctrl+↩ return or +↩ return to launch the app. Both works for me.

  • Thanks much but this does not work for me. Inside a Launchpad folder, return does not launch an app by itself or in combination with any modifier key. May I ask what hardware are you using (and could you please confirm that you're on Yosemite?)
    – Ben Read
    Oct 31, 2014 at 14:26
  • I'm on a 13" macbook on Yosemite. Works for me with that key combination.
    – jherran
    Oct 31, 2014 at 14:31
  • Hmm. I'm trying to figure out why it works on your rig and not mine. Are you on a MacBook Pro or Air? And what vintage? The other possibility is that something is set one way on your system and not mine. Not sure what that would be.
    – Ben Read
    Oct 31, 2014 at 14:35
  • I use a 13" Macbook Pro Retina (late 2013). I'm pretty sure that I use default keyboard configuration. Funny, with shift+return I also could open apps.
    – jherran
    Oct 31, 2014 at 14:44
  • So perhaps the behavior I'm experiencing is specific to the MacBook Air. Thanks again for helping to diagnose this.
    – Ben Read
    Oct 31, 2014 at 17:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .