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, 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. The question is: why are your iPhone 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. Actually, depending on what version of the iOS you're running, 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 iPhones those, 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 like on the models with 3D Touch screens. The difference here is that this works on all phones, not just 3D Touch models. On this version of the iOS, tap Edit Home Screen to start the apps shaking.

Why Your 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).

For instance, notice the little X icon in the top left corner of the app icon? 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).

Instead of tapping the X, 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).

How to Stop Icons From Shaking

Getting icons to stop moving and returning your iPhone to its normal state 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, and 11, 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.

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). Highlight 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 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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