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When exploring the new Launchpad feature, at first, it would seem as is it draws it's content primarily from the Programs folder.

It seems to be the case, however, that the Launchpad database is drawn from somewhere else.

For example, when installing a game through Steam, the game itself will not show up in the Programs folder, but will show up in Launchpad. In this particular case, I want it to be in Launchpad. The drawbacks, however, are that I am unable to remove the game from Launchpad and am unable to change the icon.

Where can I directly view and modify every Launchpad occurrence?

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The Launchpad database is located at ~/Library/Application Support/Dock/*some-hex-name*.db

To edit it, you'll have to use SQLite. You can do this on the command line, or with a graphic interface.

See this Ask Different question for recommendations for a GUI app.


MacOS Sierra and newer

On macOS Sierra and newer the old launchpad database does not exists anymore. Instead every user has his personal launchpad database somewhere inside /private/var/folders (contains a lot of cryptic names).

How to find the database

The personal database is owned by you user, so you can use the following command to find out the path of the database:

 echo $(find /private/var/folders -user $(id -u) -name com.apple.dock.launchpad 2> /dev/null)/db/db

After you have the path to the new database, you can continue to edit it like before (e.g. using sqlite3 command).

Thanks to Chris Perry from Jamf Nation for sharing what he found! See his post here.

  • Thanks, this indeed is the location of the database, although not every table is really readable. Apps seem to be primarily stored in the table apps and renaming there should probably work. Editing the icons, though, should prove to be a bit harder. – Aron Rotteveel Jul 25 '11 at 6:33
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    Update for 2016: I'm running macOS Sierra 10.12 and there is only one file under my ~/Library/Application Support/Dock directory called desktop picture.db. I can't find the dock database. – Dai Dec 11 '16 at 7:43
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Apologies for tacking this on to a 2-year old thread, but FWIW the value for some-hex-name is stored in ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/com.apple.dock.another-hex-name.plist as "LaunchPadDBName".

It seems like the number itself is not important, and may in fact be random; but, it may probably needs to conform to the UUID format. Changing this value for a user, then logging in, will result in a new .db being created if it does not already exist.

You can use this to set multiple accounts to use a pre-defined LaunchPad configuration, etc.

"another-hex-name" is the UUID of the computer

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