How to Organize Apps and Folders on the iPhone

Tapping and holding lets you rearrange apps, folders, shortcuts, and more. You can even streamline your home screens using App Library

What to Know

  • Move app: Tap and hold icon > Edit Home Screen > hold and drag icon to where you want it > let go.
  • Move item to another screen: Follow steps above, but drag to the edge of the screen and let go on the new screen.
  • To keep screens minimal, use the App Library toggle in Settings to keep apps in one place.

This article explains how to rearrange apps, folders, really anything on the home screen of an iPhone.

How to Rearrange Apps and Folders on an iPhone

It takes patience to rearrange apps and folders because, as you follow the steps below, the iPhone attempts to be helpful and slide icons around. It can be difficult (and annoying) to get it all just right.

Moving anything around on the home screen works the same way. So, if you've created shortcuts or use widgets on the home screen, you can rearrange them like apps and folders.

To rearrange items on an iPhone's home screen:

  1. Tap and hold an app until a menu pops up. In the menu, tap Edit Home Screen. Now the icons will begin to shake.

    The pop up menu on the iOS home screen with Edit Home Screen selection highlighted.
  2. Drag a shaking icon to a new location on the screen. Rearrange apps in any order, but there can't be a space between apps. 

  3. To move an icon to a new screen, drag the icon to the right or left side, then release the icon when a new screen appears.

  4. When the icon is in the place you want it, take your finger off the screen.

  5. To save the changes, swipe up from the bottom of the screen (or press the Home button if your iPhone has a Home button).

You can also choose the apps in the dock at the bottom of the iPhone screen. Rearrange those apps the same way you rearrange apps on the Home screen. Or, replace apps with new ones by dragging the old ones out and new ones in while the apps are shaking. The dock is visible on all Home screen pages, so fill it with your most frequently used apps for convenience.

Create iPhone Folders

You can store iPhone apps or web clips in folders, a handy way to keep the Home screen neat or store similar apps together.

Create an iPhone folder by dragging one shaking app on top of another. Then drag other apps to the folder and assign a name. Rearrange folders the same way as apps. Just press until they shake, then use drag and drop methods mentioned above.

Create Multiple Home Screen Pages for Apps and Folders

Most people have dozens of apps on their iPhones. If all of these apps were in folders on a single screen, it wouldn't be easy to use. That's where multiple Home screens come in. Swipe side-to-side to access these other screens.

There are different ways to use multiple home screens. For example, use them as an overflow, so new apps go there or order them by app type with all music apps on one page and all productivity apps on another. A third approach is to organize pages by location: a page for apps used at work, another for travel, and a third for use at home.

To create a new page: 

  1. Tap and hold an app or folder, select Edit Home Screen.

  2. Drag the app or folder to the right side of the screen. It will slide over to a new, blank page, which the iPhone adds automatically.

  3. Release the app so that it moves to the new page.

    Moving an app icon from one screen to another
  4. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen or, if your iPhone has one, click the Home button to save the new home screen.

Download Apps Straight to the App Library

When you download new apps to your iPhone, the apps will appear on a home screen (or the iPhone will create an additional home screen if your current home screens are full). But you can use the App Library feature if you don't want your iPhone to have home screen after home screen.

The steps to download apps directly to the App Library on an iPhone.

By downloading apps only to the App Library, you save yourself from swiping around looking for apps as they'll be organized there.

The fastest way to find an app on your iPhone is to search for it by swiping down from the middle of any home screen and using the search box.

  • Do I rearrange iPad apps, etc the same way?

    Yes. Despite Apple creating iPadOS, they share a lot of the same attributes, so moving apps, folders, widgets, and folders work the same on the iPad as on the iPhone.

  • What is the difference between deleting an app and removing it from the home screen?

    When you choose Remove App on the menu that pops up after pressing and holding on an icon on the home screen, the iPhone offers Delete App or Remove from Home Screen. Choosing Delete App will delete the app from your iPhone, but choosing Remove from Home Screen keeps the app but you no longer see it on any home screen. The app is available via the search function or in the App Library.

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