Why Your iPhone Icons Are Shaking and How to Stop It

iPhone icons shaking screenshot


If all of the icons on your iPhone's screen are shaking and wriggling like they're doing a dance, it may seem like something's wrong. After all, you can't open any apps when this is happening. Rest assured: everything's fine. Your iPhone is supposed to do this sometimes. The question is: why are your icons shaking and how do you make them stop?

What Causes Icons to Shake: Tap and Hold

Understanding what causes icons to start wriggling in the first place will help you learn a lot about your iPhone and its features.

It's very simple: tapping and holding for a few seconds on any app icon will start all of your icons shaking. This works the same way no matter what version of the iOS you're running (as long as it's above iOS 1.1.3, that is, but there can't be anyone reading this who runs an OS over 10 versions out of date, right?).

The only situation in which this is slightly different is if you have an iPhone 6S or newer. Those models have 3D Touch screens that respond differently based on how hard you press them. On those, icons start shaking from a very light touch-and-hold. A harder press will pop out a shortcuts menu or trigger features.

Why Your iPhone Icons Shake: Delete and Rearrange

If you've ever rearranged the apps on your screen or deleted an app from your phone, you've seen icons shaking before. That's because shaking icons are a sign that the iPhone is in the mode that lets you move or delete apps (in iOS 10 and up, you can even delete some of the apps that come built in to the iPhone).

For instance, notice the little X icon in the top left corner of the app icon? If you were to tap that, you'd delete that app and its data from your phone (if you just did that, don't worry; you can always re-download the app from the App Store for free).

Instead of tapping the X, if you were to tap and hold on the icon, it would get slightly larger. You could then drag the app around your home screen to a new location (dropping it there will move the app), or create a folder of apps (or remove the app from a folder).

How to Stop Icons From Shaking

Getting icons to stop moving and returning your iPhone to its normal state is super easy. Just press the Home button on the front of your phone and everything will stop moving. If you deleted, moved apps, or created folders, pressing the Home button will save the changes you've made.

Stopping your icons shaking is a little different on the iPhone X, XS, and XR since those models don't have a button. If you have one of those models, tap the Done button in the top right corner of the screen instead.

Icons Shake on Other Apple Devices, Too

The iPhone isn't the only Apple device whose icons move. The iPod touch and iPad work the same way since they both run the iOS, the same operating system as the iPhone.

The 4th Generation Apple TV and the Apple TV 4K also have the same feature (though they run slightly different software, called tvOS). Select an app and click and hold the remote control's main button to start all of your TV apps shaking. From there, you can move them, create folders, delete them, and more. Clicking the main button on the remote again will make them stop shaking.

Learn more about controlling and deleting apps on the Apple TV in our article on that topic.