Change Launchpad Icon Size in Mac OS X Lion from Large to Small

Oct 19, 2011 - 29 Comments

Change Launchpad Icon Size

Of all the Launchpad tips and customizations, one that has been greatly desired is the ability to manually adjust the icon size of apps. A tip sent in by Rohan Agashe moves us in that direction, allowing you to change the Launchpad icon size down from the large icons in OS X 10.7.2 to the smaller Launchpad icons that were present in Mac OS X Lion 10.7.1.

This trick is limited to those who have an existing backup of Mac OS X 10.7.1 through Time Machine or otherwise. We are not going to provide old copies of or the executable since it is part of OS X Lion and that would be against the EULA.

Shrink Launchpads Huge Icons Back to Small

Dock executableAs stated before, you will need a copy of from OS X Lion 10.7.1. This will be stored in the Time Machine backup, or is accessible on Macs that haven’t been updated to 10.7.2 yet. After you have that:

  • Right-click on from OS X 10.7.1 and choose “Show Package Contents”
  • Open “Contents” and then open “MacOS”
  • Copy the executable file “Dock” to your Mac OS X desktop

Now you’re going to replace the OS X 10.7.2 Dock executable with the older copy:

  • Hit Command+Shift+G and enter the following path:
  • /System/Library/CoreServices/

  • Locate and right-click on and choose “Show Package Contents”
  • Shrink Launchpads Large Icon Size

  • Open “Contents” and then open “MacOS”
  • Make a copy of “Dock” and name it “Dock-backup” and place this somewhere you can easily find it
  • Move the 10.7.1 copy of “Dock” executable to this folder, authenticate the change to overwrite the new version with the old
  • Launch the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal)
  • Type the following command:
  • killall Dock

  • Re-open Launchpad and enjoy the smaller icons

The original Dock file is backed up so you can return to the large Launchpad icon sizes if you want. You’ll need to continue to keep a copy of the 10.7.1 for future OS X updates, unless of course Apple gives us manual controls over Launchpad icon size. In my view, the large icons look best with the motion blur, so if you like maximum fanciness stick with the huge icons.

Thanks to Rohan for the tip

Don’t forget to check out our OS X Lion tips archive for more.


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Posted by: AJ in Customize, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. zaius says:

    tried this on mountain lion. doesn’t work anymore.

    everything on the dashboard shows up on the desktop also now.

  2. […] for Launchpad, which is currently stuck at a single size, although it can be modified to be slightly smaller. stLight.options({ publisher:'fe5e0a84-1fac-40de-8014-9f89fc1cbe6a' […]

  3. dobes says:

    When I got the message that Dock was still in use, I temporarily trashed the version in the file and substituted the 7.1 Dock. It worked great and the small icons returned, but I think people should know that when you return to the 7.1 Dock you lose the ability to order your desktops and fullscreen apps in Mission Control. In the end, that was more important to me and I returned to the big icons, again following the steps here, and again without a problem. Thanks anyway – I wish I could have used this!

  4. Rohan Agashe says:

    use terminal with root privilages.

  5. Sean says:

    Hi everyone,

    I tried this, but when I authenticate the replacement of the newer file with the older, it gives me this error message it can’t be done because “Dock” is still in use… :S How do I solve this?


  6. […] Change Launchpad Icon Size in Mac OS X Lion from Large to Small Change Launchpad Icon Size in Mac OS X Lion from Large to Small… Source: […]

  7. Howie says:

    This works great, but we lose the ability to change the order of desktops in Mission Control.

  8. Coriander says:

    Do u have a wallpaper link for the left pic?

  9. Robert says:

    Well – the huge icons makes finding stuff harder. Regardless weather we are capped at 20 icons or not – smaller, in this case, is better. For me, anyway,

  10. Pendragon says:

    From the example originally presented, both the large and small icon versions are still limited to 20 icons per page.

    Yes, the icons got bigger, but then, the background space got smaller. Aside from being a bit more difficult for my old eyes to see, what is the gain?

    I don’t mean to be rude, I just don’t understand.

  11. Rohan Agashe says:

    For people who dont have access to 10.7.1 can use the file from 10.7 or can extract the file from the installer.

    10.7.1 was a minor update and it did updated the file that we need for this customization.

    So even if ur using the file from 10.7.1 or 10.7 they both are same nothing differs.

  12. Rohan Agashe says:

    i forgot to tell after u replace the file do not forget to repair disk permissions with disk utility.

  13. Rohan Agashe says:

    I know its a horrible idea to replace the updated file with older one but the launchapd icons were very ugly after updating to 10.7.2 .
    If apple wont have thought to change the icon size of launchapd the update wont have even touched that execuatble file.
    Till apple gives us an option to change the launchpad icons i am gonna stick with it.

  14. Blah says:

    Okay, this is a really horrible idea. Using a critical system component from a previous version of Mac OS X on a newer version? Just don’t do it. Please.

  15. Marcus says:

    I have a 10.7 but not a 10.7.1 on hand. Will it still work?

  16. Matt says:

    You can also get this file from your Mac OS X Lion install DMG too:

    /Volumes/Mac OS X Install ESD/Packages/Essentials.pkg

    Use unpkg to extract that, navigate to the, pull out the Dock exec, and BOOM, Michael Steeber steals the post for another website.

  17. Paulo says:

    Oww… please.. put a link to download this file!

  18. Justin says:

    Sweet!! I’ve been wondering how to reverse these massive icons!

    Thanks so much OSXDaily!

  19. Michael Dweeber says:

    Here’s a link to the old Dock if anyone wants it

  20. Aaron says:

    Finally! Doing this later so I can get rid of these dammed cartooned sized things on my iMac!

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