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 iPad basics, the iPad is an amazingly simple tool to use. If you download a ton of apps, looking for an app is an exercise in swiping and squinting at the many iPad screens. Learn how to navigate the iPad and personalize the app arrangement to move around the iPad like a pro.

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

Move From One Page of Apps to the Next

The iPad comes with a selection of useful apps on one Home screen, but after you download new apps from the App Store, you'll find several iPad screens (called pages) that are filled with icons. To move from one page of apps to the next, swipe a finger across the iPad display from right to left to go forward a page and from left to right to go back a page, this is similar to reading an e-book.

Rearrange Apps on the iPad

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

Wiggling apps in editing mode

Move 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, drag the app around the screen. To place the app in a new location, pause between two apps and lift your finger to drop the icon in that spot.

Move apps to different screens: Tap a shaking app, then move your finger and the app to the right edge of the iPad screen. The iPad displays the next page along with the app. If there isn't another page or if a page is full, the iPad creates another page. On the new screen, drag the app to a different position and drop it by lifting your finger. If there are several screens of apps on the iPad, drag the app to the left edge of the screen to go to a previous page of apps or to the Home screen.

When you finish 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 mode.

While the apps are shaking, tap the X in the upper-left corner of an app to delete it. Apps that are part of the iOS cannot be removed and don't display an X.

Adding pages to the iPad does more than create room to hold apps. Use pages to organize apps in several ways. Put game apps on one page and productivity apps on another, for example. Use pages to arrange apps in alphabetical order, by frequency of use, or by color.

Organize With Folders

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

Create a folder on the iPad in much the same way as you move an app icon. Tap and hold until the icons shake, which indicates editing mode. Instead of dragging an app icon between two apps, drag it on top of another app icon and drop it to create a folder containing both apps. The iPad names the folder intelligently, 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 the first page is filled with apps, it creates another. Move apps back and forth in a folder just as you do on the iPad Home screen.

Dock an App

The dock is the row of icons located at the bottom of the screen. The dock is visible on each page of apps on an iPad, so most people put the 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

Reset the Home Screen to Original Layout

Reset the iPad to its original layout to remove the folders and display the iOS system apps on the Home screen. Downloaded apps are listed alphabetically on as many pages as it takes to accommodate them. To reset the iPad to the original layout, tap Settings > General > Reset.

If you can't find an app on the 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 the iPad doesn't have a Home button, activate Listen for "Hey Siri" in Settings > Siri & Search. Then say Hey Siri, open [app name].