How to Move Apps, Navigate, and Organize Your iPad

Don't wander through screens looking for an app

ipad mini and ipad 4
Apple Inc.

After you learn the basics, the iPad is an amazingly simple tool to use. If your first impulse — like many first-time users — was to download a ton of apps, you may feel like the iPad is more frustrating than fun. Looking for just about anything soon becomes an exercise in swiping and squinting at the many iPad screens. Never fear. After a few days, you'll be moving around the iPad like a pro. A few valuable lessons on how to navigate the iPad and personalize the app arrangement will help.

Instructions in this article apply to iPads running iOS 12 and iOS 11. Earlier versions have similar methods to organize your iPad.

Moving From One Page of Apps to the Next

The iPad comes with a selection of useful apps on one Home screen, but after you start downloading new apps from the App Store, you find yourself with several iPad screens (called pages) that are filled with icons. To move from one page of apps to the next, swipe your finger across the iPad display from right to left to go forward a page and from left to right to go back a page, like when you read an e-book.

How to Rearrange Apps on the iPad

You can move apps around one screen or transfer them from one screen to another. To do this, press on any app on the Home screen and don't lift your finger until all the apps on the screen begin to shake. Then, lift your finger. When the apps are shaking, they are in editing mode, meaning you can move them around.

Wiggling apps in editing mode

Moving apps on a screen: To move an app to a different position on the screen it is on, tap the shaking app you want to move and, without lifting your finger from the display, move your finger and the app around the screen. The app's icon moves with your finger. If you pause between two apps, they part, and you can drop the icon in that spot by lifting your finger from the display.

Moving apps to different screens: After you tap a shaking app, move your finger and the app to the far right edge of the iPad screen. The iPad moves to the next page along with the app. If there isn't a next page or if a page is full, the iPad creates another for you. When you are on the new screen, move the app to the position you want it and drop it by lifting your finger. After you have several screens of apps on your iPad, drag the app to the left edge of the screen to go to a previous page of apps or the Home screen.

When you are finished moving apps, click the Home button on iPads that have a Home button or tap Done at the top of the screen on iPads without a Home button to stop the shaking and return the iPad to normal, ending the editing mode.

While the apps are shaking, those that appear with an X in the upper left corner can be deleted. Just tap the X. Apps that are part of the iOS cannot be removed and don't display an X.

Adding pages to the iPad does more than give you more room to hold apps. You can use them to organize the apps in several ways. Put all your game apps on one page and all your productivity apps on another, for example. Use pages to arrange all the apps in alphabetical order, by frequency of use, or even by color — whatever works for you.

Organizing With Folders

You don't need to rely on pages of app icons to organize your iPad. Instead, create folders to hold several related app icons without taking up much space.

You create a folder on the iPad in much the same way as you move an app icon. Tap and hold until all of the icons are shaking, which indicates editing mode. Instead of dragging an app icon between two apps, drop it right on top of another app icon and drop it to create a folder containing both apps. The iPad tries to name the folder intelligently, and it does a pretty good job, but if you don't like the name, tap the name the iPad gave it and rename it anything you want.

A folder and its contents on iPad

Folders can contain multiple pages. When you fill the first page with apps, it creates another. You move apps back and forth in a folder just as you do on the iPad Home screen.

Docking an App

The dock is the row of icons located at the bottom of the screen. It is visible on each page of apps in an iPad, so most people put their most frequently used apps on the dock for convenience. You can even put folders on the dock. Touch and drag the app icon you want to the dock and drop it. The other apps on the dock move to make room for it. In this case, you don't need to put the app into editing mode first.

Changing the icons in the iPad dock

Resetting the Home Screen to Original Layout

If you tire of moving apps and making folders, you may want to reset the iPad to its original layout. When you do, all folders are removed, the iOS system apps appear on the Home screen, and any apps you've downloaded are listed alphabetically on as many pages as it takes to accommodate them all. To reset the iPad to the original layout, tap Settings > General > Reset.

If you still have trouble finding an app on your iPad, ask Siri to find and open it. On iPads with a Home button, press and hold the button and say Open [app name]. If your iPad doesn't have a Home button, activate Listen for "Hey Siri" in Settings > Siri & Search. Then say Hey Siri, open [app name].