I have grown very fond of a sparse first page of apps on iOS and want to hack, reverse-engineer, and/or fake out Launchpad to get a clean first page of apps.

Here is a picture from iOS that is analagous to what I want to accomplish:

enter image description here

I don't need a text overlay at the top (bars, ATT, time, etc...) or the row of icons at the bottom - I just want space on the first screen, followed by subsequent pages that can be totally full (or ideally also have flexible space). I don't need precise control such as a gap between say pages and numbers, but that would be really neat to emulate a layout exactly as pictured (three apps at the top, four at the bottom).

If it's not possible to hack in a true into the Launchpad database, can anyone show how to make "dummy invisible apps" that I could one by one drag to displace the apps I don't want on page one?

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    Is there some reason why you can't just move all the apps that you don't want on the first screen to other screens? Or do you really need the apps at the bottom? – Kyle Cronin Jul 24 '11 at 20:26
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    Did you know you can drag-and-drop Launchpad icons to organize them however you want? You can reorder them, put them on different pages, and even organize them into folders (independent from the Applications folder hierarchy). – Ross Churchley Jul 24 '11 at 20:29
  • Oops, @Kyle beat me to it. – Ross Churchley Jul 24 '11 at 20:32
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    @bmike Hm, it might have something to do with the sheer number of applications you have. For me, new application added either by copying to the /Applications folder or with the Mac App Store appear in Launchpad in the furthest right space, even if there are slots left on the front space. – Kyle Cronin Jul 24 '11 at 21:00
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    I think @Kyle might be right. iOS has a maximum number of app pages (12 or something; I've never gotten close). If you have more icons than whatever Lion's maximum is, then the usual drag-and-drop behaviour might be different. In that case, once you've organized enough things into folders to get back under the page max, you should be able to arrange things into the way you want them. – Ross Churchley Jul 24 '11 at 21:33

To summarize...

As in iOS, you can organize your Launchpad icons as you please using drag-and-drop. You can reorder apps, move them from one page to another, and even put them in iOS-like folders. Note that Launchpad folders are entirely independent from the /Applications hierarchy: creating a folder in Launchpad won't create a folder in /Applications, for example.

Your problem seems to be related to the fact that you've got so many apps. Again like iOS, there seems to be a maximum on the number of pages of apps Launchpad can handle. If you really need all 400+ apps on your Launchpad, there's not much you can do other than reorganize everything into folders to free up some slots. But I doubt you need instant access to everything Adobe has ever installed on your computer, so you have a few more options to clean out your Launchpad:

  1. Delete apps entirely. There's probably a few apps on your computer that are just sitting there, never to be used; you can free up space on your Launchpad and on your hard drive by getting rid of them.
    • Apps from the App Store can be uninstalled directly from Launchpad by holding option/alt and clicking on the black X over the app's icon.
    • Any app can be deleted by dragging it from the Finder to the Trash.
    • Alternately, you can use something like AppZapper to delete an app along with any hidden auxiliary files.
  2. Move apps out of Launchpad's sight. Launchpad looks for apps in /Applications, /Developer, and ~/Applications. If you like those folders to be as pristine as your Launchpad, you can move your extraneous applications to a different folder. Launchpad will lose track of them as of the next reboot.
  3. Just remove the Launchpad icons. Finally, Andreas Ganske has developed a preference pane which modifies the Launchpad database to show or hide whatever applications you want.

If you just want a clean Launchpad, option three is probably your best and easiest answer. Options one and two are there if you like to keep your /Applications folder clean, too: useless apps might as well be deleted, and your CS4 uninstallers could probably be moved somewhere a little more out of the way until you need them.

Finally, you hint at having problems with having Launchpad duplicates. As I mentioned in an answer to this question, this may be a problem of actually having more than one copy of the same app installed.

Hope this helps clear up some of your upgrade troubles!

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    You were totally right. I had duplicate entries, lots of apps, and a bug bit me renaming folders. It's really easy to folder and manage this screen. When I deleted the dock files in application support, everything became manageable. Very pleased now. – bmike Jul 29 '11 at 23:13
  • Glad to hear it helped! – Ross Churchley Jul 29 '11 at 23:47

Folders are a first step - if you find you can't rename a folder, see this tip.

Here's my first pass at taming the launchpad - I still don't know what I want in the dock versus the Launchpad yet - but two pages with room for apps to download to the second page from the store is much nicer.

enter image description here

I wasn't at all aware folders were possible and will go back and clean up the first 10 pages of apps to see if I can maintain some space as desired.

If you want to start over, you can move your ~/Library/Applicaion\ Support/Dock/*.db files to the trash and restart the Dock - it will make a clean list of the current Apps in Launchpad the next time it starts.

It's more labor intensive that I had hoped since Launchpad doesn't respect shift+click or option+click to select multiple apps for moving to another screen or "folder"-ing. Working one by one with over 400 items was daunting and I perhaps gave up too soon in trying to tame Launchpad.

I was quite overwhelmed the first few times attempting to use it.

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