Why Your iPhone App Icons Are Shaking and How to Stop It

What to Know

  • iPhone 8 or earlier: If your app icons are wriggling, press the Home button on the front of your phone to make them stop.
  • iPhone X, XS, XR, 11, or 12: Tap the Done button in the upper-right corner of the screen instead. 
  • If you deleted or moved apps, or created folders, pressing the Home button will save the changes you've made.

If the icons on your iPhone home screen are shaking and wriggling, it may seem like something's wrong. But rest assured: Everything's fine. Your iPhone is supposed to do this. The question is, why are your iPhone icons shaking and how do you make them stop?

How to Stop iPhone Icons From Shaking

Getting icons to stop moving is easy. Just press the Home button on the front of your phone and everything will stop moving. If you deleted or 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, XR, 11, and 12, since those models don't have a Home button. If you have one of those models, tap the Done button in the top right corner of the screen instead. You can also just tap into any empty space on the screen.

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. That said, depending on what version of the iOS you have, the trigger for shaking icons can be slightly different.

  • On iOS 1.1.3 to iOS 12, a tap and hold on an app icon causes icons to shake. If you've got an iPhone 6S, 7, 8, X, XS, or XR, the 3D Touch screens on these models cause things to work slightly differently. On those iPhones, the icons start shaking from a very light touch-and-hold. A harder press will pop out a shortcuts menu or trigger features.
  • On iOS 13 and up, a tap and hold on an icon triggers a pop-out menu. The difference here is that this works on all phones, not just models with 3D Touch screen. On this version of the iOS, tap Edit Home Screen to start the apps shaking.

On iOS 13 and up, you can also just keep pressing screen after the pop-out menu appears. After a few seconds, the menu disappears and all icons start shaking.

Why iPhone Icons Shake: To 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. That's because shaking icons mean 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).

  • Deleting apps: Notice the little X or - icon in the top left corner of the app icon (different versions of the iOS have different icons)? If you tapped that, you'd delete that app and its data from your phone (if you just did that, don't worry; you can re-download the app from the App Store for free).
  • Rearranging apps: Instead of tapping the X or -, if you were to tap and hold a shaking icon, it would get slightly larger. You could then drag the app to a new location on your home screen dropping it there will move the app) or create a folder of apps (or remove the app from a folder).

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 (technically the iPad runs iPadOS, but it's based on iOS).

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

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