Launchpad alternative to organize and launch apps

For the apps junkies out there, which organization method/tool do you use to efficiently organize your apps and find them when you need them?

My case is simple: I have way more than a hundred mono-purpose apps which I use sporadically. At some point, I forget what a name/icon does…

For example, when I am looking for an app to make a diagram, I would check in my launchpad or applications folder. I remember OmniGraffle, but I also have forgotten about this nice little app that makes ASCII diagrams from 1 year ago and will ignore it while it could have been interesting for my goal at the time.

To improve on that, I could make explicitly named folders in the launchpad but it involves too much dragging and dropping to my taste.
I could also create folders in the applications folder, but I wondered if a more intelligent tool would ease the overall experience. It could, for example: populate some metadata that would help spotlight search suggest apps by keyword, suggest categories for most common apps, offer a bulk way to put them in folders, etc…

Anyway, did anybody find a tool of that kind or come up with a smart workflow?

Thanks in advance!

Tags :slightly_smiling_face:

@anon41602260 posted a nice idea that tags can be dragged into the dock and open in grid, fan, etc. of your choice.

This is something I need to do myself. Especially with all the creative names developers come up with.

Plot twist: the tags apparently have to be in the side bar, so you can click All Tags… to see all the tags, then drag your desired tag to the side bar and release. From there you can drag it into the Dock.

Plot twist 2: At least one Apple app (Notes) doesn’t allow tags to be added. (of course)

Hm. Pretty cool just having the tags in the sidebar. You can click to see e.g. notes apps, or drag and drop an app on the notes tag to tag it.

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I tag a few applications in the info pane, set Alfred to include that metadata in application search, and that helps them show up. For example, here’s how I have Sublime showing up as a potential hex editor. Since I’m in Alfred constantly, I don’t forget to use this method.


Probably because Notes does not expose its notes as external files in the file system, and the tags in the sidebar are file tags. Of course, Apple controls all the magic and if the right hand spoke to the left they could make this work. (It often seems that product teams at Apple have no idea that other product teams exist, and would definitely never eat lunch at the same table with people not on their team.)

Aside: it seems that Siri can find notes that have a tag, because Siri treats the tag like ordinary text from the note. So Siri can find “Show me notes Olympics” but cannot find “Show me notes tagged Olympics”. Search your notes on Mac doesn’t mention tags.

I do something similar - I just dragged the Apps folder to my dock and set it to pop up like a start menu. Super nice for me as a former Windows guy.

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Sometimes I add them to a folder in things 3 referring to Info “Regarding Installed Apps.” It beats opening them up and trying to figure it out. Also, you know how the App Store might elaborate about certain apps, I’ll include that info in there. So at least it is nicely filed and sometimes I just like to see what in tarnation I have installed. So I add notes and it can really help.

I sure wish you could add pictures to Things 3.

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Sorry, I don’t follow. I have tags in the sidebar that tag apps.

Should have said “the tags … are file tags”

I just tried that, and it seems to work only sporadically. A little more than half of the apps where I added a comment of ‘notes’ actually show up in Alfred when searching for notes.

I just have a (plain text) note called WhichApp (in nvUltra / Obsidian, whatever).

Whenever I have trouble remembering, for example, my current favorite regex app, or the name of the markdown presentation app I use … I add it to the note as soon as I figure it out.

Next time it’s easier to find.

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Very nice. It even keeps the tags if you overwrite the app manually during some kind of non-Sparkle, non-MAS update. Just tested.

I’ve created a folder called Dock Apps. In it, I have sub-folders specific to various categories of activities. I put aliases to apps in those sub-folders. For example


  • Numbers
  • Igor Pro
  • Excel
  • GeoGebra


  • Music
  • myTunerRadio
  • Spotify

I put the sub-folders to permanent locations on my Dock.



That does happen sometimes. You should see the same missing information when you do a spotlight or finder search. Whatever steps you need to get Spotlight to completely index will also fix Alfred’s search.

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Notes is just a package (glorified folder) like all other .apps.
I think I found out why it can’t be tagged though - it’s owned by root.
Nope, that’s not it, as some other apps are owned by root:wheel.
So maybe it’s because it is in Macintosh HD/System/Applications, whereas others that aren’t part of the OS install are in /Applications. Perhaps a part of the special protections for the OS.


I can’t tag these apps, but…

I can tag these apps.

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We’re talking past one another – I thought you were talking about the tags assigned to Notes’ notes, and now I see you’re talking about

Anyway, Notes the app has read/write permissions that belong to “System” and I don’t think we can change that. That situation might be blocking assigning a tag to Notes the app.

However if you duplicate to make (or whatever name) then you can both tag that duplicated app, and when launched it will open your notes database.