How many ways can you launch apps on your Mac? It’s not an infinite amount, but there are plenty of ways to click to get your favorite Mac app onto the screen. The most obvious is the Dock, though I know many Mac users who don’t mind navigating or personalizing the Finder instead.
The Dock has issues. It hasn’t changed much through the years. Icons get smaller as apps are added to the Dock, so finding an app to launch can take a few extra seconds with each click. Enter iBARLauncher, Tab Launcher, and a handful of other Mac app launchers that do what the Dock does better or more conveniently.
Click Here, Not There
Even experienced Mac users know why Apple hasn’t done much to the Dock’s app launching prowess. The Dock is easily understood by those new to the Mac. The Dock works without being confusing or convoluted. The Dock is a time honored app launcher that can be instantly visible or completely out of the way.
iBARLauncher – this inexpensive Mac Menubar utility can be customized to hold only those applications you need and use the most. Just click the Menubar icon and iBARLauncher drops down a menu of your selected applications.
There’s not much to iBARLauncher so there’s not much to not like. Selecting which apps to run in the drop down menu couldn’t be much easier, either. It’s all drag and drop. Open the app’s Preferences. Drag and drop the apps you want in the launcher menu. Done.
What’s not to like? iBARLauncher can hold the apps you use the most, and lets the Dock slide out of the way and out of sight.
Wait. There’s more!
Tab Launcher – Another favorite launcher mimics the Dock but gives you far more customization and personalization options. Tab Launcher works exactly like the Dock, but with, well, Tabs.
There’s is plenty to like in Tab Launcher because tabs give you options for more apps than the Dock, and apps can be categorized or organized into specific tabs. But that’s not all. Tab Launcher works on the edge of any display connected to your Mac and the customization options are endless.
Nicely done, well documented, and just a dollar more than iBARLauncher– a bargain.
DragThing — This one is an oldie but a goodie and dates back to the last century. It’s also the simplest to set up and use and yet holds the title as the single most customizable Mac app launcher on planet earth. DragThing is so simple all you have to do is drag and drop apps onto a floating palette. Or, spend days both organizing and customizing how it works.
Drag and drop to move apps onto a DragThing palette, drag and drop to rearrange. That’s the easy part so you’re up and running instantly. But preferences abound so start slowly.
It’s not that I don’t like the Dock, but it hasn’t changed much since the last century and my workflow has; nothing improves without change.