Launchpad is the application launcher that Apple has included in OS X since Lion was released in 2011. It makes it dead easy to find and launch applications on your Mac, regardless of where they're installed. Apps you've installed using the Mac App Store are really easy to remove - you just click and hold the icon, similar to what you'd do on the Springboard interface of an iOS device.
But apps you've downloaded elsewhere can be a bit trickier. Occasionally, the database that Launchpad uses can get corrupted, and you may find links to "dead" apps that are no longer installed, or missing apps that you know are on your Mac. Here's how to fix that problem:
- Go to the Finder.
- Hold down the Option key and click on the the Go menu.
- Select Library.
- Look for the Application Support folder. Open it.
- Look for the Dock folder. Open it.
- Locate files ending in ".db". Drag them into the Trash.
- Go to the menu and select Restart...
- Click on the Restart button.
(Alternately, you can simply log out and log back in, if you prefer.)
Once your Mac has restarted, it will automatically rebuild the Launchpad database and repopulate it with an accurate count of the apps you have on your Mac.
There you have it! Now you can rebuild Launchpad and get a fresh listing of the apps on your Mac. Did this help you clear out the cobwebs? Let me know in the comments.