Organizing Your Apps In iOS

There are many ways you can organize your apps on your iPhone or iPad. You can move apps from page to page and set their positions inside each page. You can create and modify app folders and move apps around in those folders to different pages. You can also bring apps down to the bottom row of your home screen and even put app folders there. You can search for apps to launch them, instead of remember exactly where you put the app icon.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Organizing Your Apps In iOS.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's look at different ways you can organize your apps in iOS.

Let's look at all the different ways you can organize your apps on a device like the iPad. So here I've got four different app screens. You can see the dots at the bottom which shows me which screen I'm on. I can flip through them very easily.

Now within any screen I can reorder what's there. I do that by tapping and holding any of the app icons I see and after a couple of seconds you can see they all start jiggling. Most of them have little x's next them so I can delete them but also the one that I'm currently have my finger on I can move around and put it in a different order.

Now, of course, I have my iPad in horizontal mode. If I do it in vertical mode they'll be in the same order, with Pages first, Numbers second, Keynote third, but they will not be 5 X 4 but instead be 4 X 5. So don't worry too much about trying to put in the upper right hand corner or the lower left hand corner because they won't always be that way depending upon the orientation of your iPad. However you still get them in the same order from the first on in the upper left to the last one in the lower right.

As long as everything is still active here I can take any app I want and move it to another screen or I can actually just flip to another screen. I'm going to swipe right to left and you can see I go to the other screen and everything is still active and I can still move things around. So I can get around in all my screens and arrange the app icons on those screens like I want.

But I can grab one, so let me grab say the Kindle app here, and if I drag to the right it will go to this next screen here, this page of my home screen, and I can drop it there. So you can easily move apps back and forth. I'm going to drag this to the left between the screens and that is how you can arrange them.

You can make screens or pages that have apps that are similar. For instance, you can put a lot of work oriented apps on one page and then put games on another page, entertainment apps on another page, etc. So you can organize them that way.

Now we have app folders which are probably the biggest tool we can use to organize things. So, for instance, say I want to put Pages, Numbers, and Keynote together in one app folder. I simply take one of the them, I'll take Numbers, and I move it on top of Pages and I release. It creates this app folder here. It gives it a name based on the categories of the apps. So in this case it notices that both are productivity and they get that folder name from that. But I can select the folder name and change it to whatever name I want. Then I can tap outside of that and you can see I've got the app folder there.

If I want to move something else into it I can simply drag it into it. If I want to move something out of it I tap inside and I can drag out and then position on the screen like I want.

Now these folders can have multiple pages inside them. So, for instance, here's a folder. You can see there is four dots there and I can move between those and see different apps in those. So I can also drag and go to a different page inside the app folders. So I can organize things inside these app folders. I can't have other folders inside of folders but at least I have these pages and I can organize inside them. To leave this I just tap outside and you can see it takes me outside there.

To get rid of an app folder you simply drag everything out. You drag the last one out and the app folder itself disappears. You can drag the app folders themselves very easily and reposition them on the page or take them to another page of your home screen as well.

Now even with some really good organization, having some good app folders, and having my pages kind of organized by the type of app that's there it still can be hard to find apps especially if you have a lot of them. So I rarely, actually, look for a specific app deep inside of a folder. Instead I will simply search for it.

So I'm going to hit the Home button here to stop everything from moving. So now everything is kind of static. I can't move things around or delete apps. I'm just going to swipe down in the middle of the screen and do a Spotlight search. One of the things I'll get from a Spotlight search are apps. So right away, just by typing a couple of characters, I see Applications and even a Top Hit there which is in Applications that I launch many times. It is one of my own games. I can quickly find that app. You can see it is much quicker for me to actually do that than going and looking through the different screens, looking through the different app folders, and try to find that app.

So I don't really worry about throwing lots of apps into folders. If I'm not going to be using them that often I'll just do a Spotlight search and launch the app that way rather than having to find out where it is in my iPad interface.

Now don't forget about the bottom row. Some people call it the dock because it is like the Mac dock. You can fit up to six apps here on the iPad. Less on the iPhone, just four. But you can put important things here. If you find yourself using something a lot you can just move it down there. Now notice that any screen I'm on I have access to those apps.

In addition, what is really cool, is that you can put app folders there. So, for instance, I can put this app folder down here. It is available on any screen I want and I can quickly access all those apps in there. So I can imagine that some people would like to fill the entire bottom with app folders and just have one screen of apps per app folder, tap it and you have access to nine apps. So you can have nine times six here on the bottom of the iPad for quick and easy access.

So one last tip I've got is to look at how other people organize their apps. If you have a friend or family members that have an iPad or iPhone every once in a while exchange them and take a look at how each of you organizes your apps differently. This gives you some good ideas. For instance, I did this recently and got the idea of going to these app folders, and since you can name them whatever you want, it was very easy for me to simply add Emoji as some of the different things that are here. So, for instance, you can just add a little graphic there, like that, and you can see it appears and makes that folder stand out a little bit more.

Comments: 14 Responses to “Organizing Your Apps In iOS”

    Richard Anderson
    4 years ago

    I have about 200 apps on my iOS devices which I organize by keeping them in alphabetical order, no folders. This is easy to do and maintain by using settings/general/reset home screen layout.

    To find an app to start it, I generally find it with spotlight search (as you showed in the video). I don’t go through the screens to find it.

    One problem with iOS folders (categories) is that an app can be in only one folder. For apps that fall in multiple categories which one do you pick?

    Richard Fuhr
    4 years ago

    It would be nice if Apple extended its Spotlight Search capability on iOS so that the results of searches include folders. That functionality already exists on the Mac. I have put in a request to Apple that they implement similar functionality for iOS.

      4 years ago

      Keep in mind that iOS “app folders” are very different from Mac folders. iOS has no file system — so there are no folders with files. Each app has its own set of documents. App folders on iOS are just collections of apps. Why search for the app folder name instead of the app name?

        Richard Fuhr
        4 years ago

        A possible reason to search for an app folder rather than a particular app would be if you have a folder in one of your distant home screens and you are not sure which app in that folder you would like to launch. For instance perhaps you have a Weather folder somewhere.

    Chris Laarman
    4 years ago

    I have six iOS devices and well over 2000 apps. I maintain some overall directory of the apps in a spreadsheet. On my devices, I group them in folders by (to keep it concise) type of data. Thus I can easily assess if I should add or remove “yet another you-name-it” from that device.

    Mr. Luigi
    4 years ago

    Unless I’m in a meeting and don’t want to get caught playing on my phone, I like to use Siri to open Apps. No typing and easy on the eyes.

    For example to view recent MacMost podcasts on Downcast it’s as simple as activating Siri and saying…

    “Open Downcast”

    BOOM! It’s there. :-)

    4 years ago

    I can’t move the apps from page to page on my iPhone like you showed in this video. Can that be done?

      4 years ago

      Yes. Just drag them to the edge and wait for the screen to change. If you have never done it before, it can be tough to get the hang of it.

    4 years ago

    I would love to use the search function. The instruction was to swipe down half way to go to search. On my iPhone6 that move produces only my notifications and calendars. Is the app search unique to the iPad?

      4 years ago

      Sounds like you are swiping from the very top of the screen. Swipe starting closer to the middle.

    Kika Wai'Alae
    4 years ago

    Whenever I swipe to search it give me two options. Search Web or Search Wikipedia. Do I need to set something in Settings?

      4 years ago

      Perhaps you’ve disabled the rest? Check in Settings, General, Spotlight Search.

    4 years ago

    Anyway to sync apps/app folders across devices? It would be nice to at least start off with the same arrangement on both iPhone & iPad, even thought I’m sure each would “drift” over time. Also, folders that have the same apps often end up with different folder names. Or the opposite, same folder names but different apps. Is there a fix?

      4 years ago

      No way to sync app positions across devices. Most people have different apps on different devices. I have a lot of travel and GPS apps on my iPhone that are not on my iPad, and a lot of games on my iPad not on my iPhone. So it would get complex if you could sync positions. As far as folder names, why stick with the default names anyway?

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