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How To Organize Apps on iPhone

a cell phone with apps icons

How many apps do you have on your phone? The number is probably bigger than you think. That's why it's a good idea to put some thought into how you want to organize your iPhone apps to make your life a little easier.

Based on your preferences, your methods of organization are going to differ. Here are some ways to organize and customize the apps on your Apple iPhone’s home screen.

Whether you prefer an automatic tidy-up or enjoy putting each app exactly where it belongs on your phone, we’ve got the tips and tricks to suit your style. 

Organize Your Apps With the App Library

Let’s dive into how the App Library can make your iPhone (and by extension, you) smart, sleek, and organized. The App Library, a new feature from iOS 14, has changed how iPhone users manage their apps. It offers a dynamic way to organize and access your apps, tailored to your usage patterns and preferences.

Think of the App Library as a smart, automated filing system. It categorizes all your apps into predefined folders such as “Social,” “Utilities,” or “Entertainment,” making it easier to locate them. The App Library also learns from your usage, ensuring that the apps you frequently use are front and center.

The beauty of the App Library is its simplicity and efficiency. Just swipe left on your iPhone’s home screen to land in the App Library. Compare that to the old way of navigating apps, when you had to swipe through multiple screens or search in random folders to find the app you needed. 

Moreover, the App Library complements another iOS 14 trick for organizing apps. You probably already know that you can tap and hold apps until they wiggle. But now you can also select multiple apps and move them together. You can even see the option to “Remove from Home Screen,” keeping that app (or those apps) out of your way.

How Does the App Library Work?

The App Library automatically places your apps into Social, Entertainment, and Productivity & Finance groups. Then, it brings your most-used apps to the top of the screen in their respective categories. 

Finding and Opening Apps

To access the App Library, swipe left on your home screen past all your existing pages. Once there, you’ll see your apps neatly sorted. 

Can’t spot the app you need right away? Just tap the search field at the top, type in the app’s name, or browse the alphabetical list. If you see a category with several small icons, tap it to expand and view all the apps within that category.

Decluttering Your Home Screen

With every app living in the App Library, you might find yourself with extra home screen pages you don’t need. Good news: You can hide these pages to streamline your experience. 

Simply long-press on the home screen, tap the dots at the bottom, and uncheck the pages you want to hide. If you want them back, just recheck them. This makes navigating between your home screen and the App Library incredibly smooth.

Rearranging Home Screen Pages

Have multiple home screen pages? You can reorder them to suit your preferences. Maybe you want a page dedicated to your go-to apps right at the front. Just enter the jiggle mode by long-pressing the home screen, tapping the dots, and dragging the pages in the order you prefer. Tap Done to lock in your new layout.

Choosing Where New Apps Land

When downloading new apps, you have control over where they go. Dive into Settings > Home Screen & App Library, and choose to have new apps appear on both the Home Screen and App Library or just in the App Library.

Moving Apps to the Home Screen

If you frequently use an app in the App Library, you might want it on your home screen for quick access. Just touch and hold the app and tap “Add to Home Screen.” This places the app on your home screen while keeping it in the App Library.

Manually Organize Apps

If you like a more hands-on approach, the App Library might not be your jam. In that case, this section of the guide will help you find some ways to keep your iPhone apps organized. 

Apps will find a spot on your display automatically by default, but chances are, you will want to move things around to declutter, especially if you frequently go to the app store to add new apps. Moving apps and creating different organizational folders is very simple on your iPhone.

1. Hold Down on Your App

To rearrange apps on your iPhone, start by pressing and holding down on the app you want to move. When the app icons begin to jiggle, it’s your signal that you’ve entered edit mode. You can select multiple apps at the same time if you want to move a little faster. 

2. Move Your Apps as Desired

If you move the app to a place where other apps already exist, they will automatically shuffle out of the way and reorganize accordingly. If you fill up your first page or just want increased organizational power, you can move your finger to the right edge of the screen, and a second display page will be created where you can put more apps.

But what if your ideal app placement spans across multiple home screen pages? Easy! While still holding the app, drag it to the edge of the screen. This action will seamlessly transition you to the next page. If you keep moving to the right and run out of pages, don’t worry — your iPhone is smart enough to create a new page for you.

3. Create App Folders for Grouping

iPhone folders are great for putting similarly purposed apps in one place. Putting all of your food delivery apps or your games next to each other can take up a lot of space, so it can be helpful to use folders where you can centralize them.

The iPhone comes with several default folders. If you want to create a new folder, follow these steps:

  1. Hold your finger on your open display until the apps begin to jiggle.
  2. Find two apps you want to be in a folder together and click and drag one onto the other.
  3. Once you create the folder, you can press and drag other apps into the folder as well.
  4. Press and hold the folder, then tap Rename to enter a custom name for the folder.

You can create multiple pages of apps within each folder, and the folders hold up to nine apps per page.

Doing the opposite is also just as easy. All you have to do is open the folder, hold down the app you want to move, and drag it out of the folder onto the home screen. 

What Are Some Other Ways To Organize Your Home Screen?

Your app organization is entirely up to you: some prefer alphabetical order, while others prefer to organize by function (podcast apps in one folder, social media apps in another). You’ll find no objective answer if you ask, “How can I organize my apps?”

Instead, the way iPhone users edit home screen layouts (or Samsung Android users do, for that matter) is highly individualized. Your home screen pages and folders should be effective for you, but that can look different depending on who you are.

Your iPhone’s home screen is your canvas for organization and expression. Let’s explore some possible ideas to arrange your apps.

  • Verb-Based Folders: Beyond the usual “Productivity” or “Utilities,” consider organizing apps by what you do with them. Folders named “Watch,” “Play,” or “Learn” offer a direct path to the apps you need for specific activities. 
  • Color Coding: Organize your apps by their dominant colors. This method makes your home screen aesthetically pleasing. The result is a vibrant, rainbow-like arrangement that makes your phone screen beautiful – though it can make navigation unintuitive.
  • Alphabetical Order: For those who prefer a classic, orderly setup, arranging apps alphabetically might be the way to go. You can reset your iPhone to automatically sort apps this way or create individual folders labeled “A,” “B,” etc., for a more segmented alphabetical arrangement.
  • Ergonomic Placement: Think about how you hold your phone. Positioning frequently used apps around the phone’s edges or within easy thumb reach can enhance accessibility and efficiency. This method is best for those who prefer apps over folders.
  • Themed Rows: If folders aren’t your thing, try organizing apps into rows based on themes or genres. For instance, the top row could be for communication apps, the next for entertainment, and so on. This creates a visually organized and theme-specific navigation system.
  • Frequency of App Usage: Arrange apps based on how often you use them. Keep the most-used apps on the first home screen for quick access. The second and third screens can house less frequently used apps and categories, creating a decluttered and focused layout.
  • Emoji Folders: Use emojis to label folders for a more playful and visually engaging approach. Match the emoji to the folder’s theme, like a music note for your music apps. This method adds a touch of fun and personality to your home screen organization.

Use Widgets To Pull App Info

Widgets are a relatively new addition to Apple’s mobile display, starting with iOS 14 (though included in iOS 16 and iOS 17). Widgets are icons that give you information from your different applications.

For example, your weather widget can give you consistent information about current weather conditions, and you can have a calendar widget to keep you informed about your daily tasks.

To add a widget to your home screen, do the following:

  1. Touch and hold your display until the apps jiggle.
  2. Tap the plus button in the upper-left corner.
  3. Select a widget, choose a widget size, and select “Add Widget.”
  4. Press Done.

You can also create widgets to put on your lock screen so that they are the primary thing you see before you unlock your phone. Widgets have expanded the number of ways people can organize their iPhones, so it is good to utilize them.

Widgets also run similarly on iPads. Additionally, Apple Watch users can use similar widgets that they’d find on their iPhone screen right on their wrist. Aside from getting notifications, lock screen shortcuts, and an additional device compatible with Siri, the ability to use widgets with an Apple Watch is a significant draw for the accessory.

Many people make liberal use of fitness and health apps on their phones. Whether you monitor your health or track your workout goals, it is good to access your wellness apps easily through the widgets.

Try putting a calendar widget and a health widget on your lock screen so you can keep up to date on your daily health goals, like water intake, nutrition tracking, and fitness. Your Apple Health App and other health-tracking apps can go in a designated folder on your main display.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, we simply don’t want to delete apps. But it takes some savviness to properly arrange everything and avoid clutter. 

Organizing your iPhone to work for you is a breeze with tools like the App Library, folder creation, and widgets. Simply drag and drop to achieve your desired layout. 

If you can’t access the App Library by swiping left, it might indicate a need for an iOS update or perhaps a new phone if your current model is too old.

This is where Navi steps in. Our free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder quickly compares the best iPhone deals across carriers, helping you find an upgrade that fits your lifestyle.

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