How I organize my iPhone apps (plus tips for you)

organize iphone apps

Chances are, there are at least a couple of apps on your iPhone you downloaded for some reason and then completely forgot about. And maybe the app you use constantly is stuck on page four and waste many a precious second swiping around to find it because of all of the clutter?

It may sound silly and super simple, but I’ve realized lately not every knows they can move apps around and organize them into folders. The process organizing iPhone apps is as unique as you are— whenever I grab my sons (or husband’s) phone to do something fast I’m always baffled at how their apps are sorted. But the system works for them and that’s what matters. 

If you have yet to find a system that works for you, it’s time to make it happen (it’s fall, after all, a great time for fresh starts!). Here’s the way I go about organizing iPhone apps on my own phone, and the technical know-how you need to organize yours. Plus other proven ideas to help you get a more streamlined home screen and sort the rest of the pages as well. 

technical tips

If you’ve never moved an app or created a folder, here’s how to do it: 

organizing iphone apps

  1. Tap and hold an app (any of them, it doesn’t matter which), until they all start shaking and tiny Xs appear on the corner of each.
  2. To move one, you just hold your finger down and slide it where you want it to go (to delete an app, you tap the X).
  3. If you’d like to move it to another page of your phone, slide it to the edge of your screen and it will slide to the next screen.
  4. To create folders, slide one app on top of another and it will automatically create a folder and prompt you to enter a name for it. (It’ll even suggest names if it understands your grouping. For instance, if you combine Uber and Lyft, it may suggest “Travel.” You can rename it at any time.)
  5. Once the folder is created, you can slide other apps into it or hold your finger on the folder to move it around just like a single app.

Note: Apple used to force you to keep its native apps, like Stocks, Videos, and iBooks, but when you upgrade to iOS10, you’ll be able to delete those as well!

how i organize my apps (and some tips)

Now that you know how to do some basic organizing, here’s my system:

Home screen rules

First, I put the apps I use most frequently on the home page, with the ones I use the absolute most (camera, email, messages, browser) in the four corners, which I find are easiest to get to when I’m using my phone with one hand. (Other people use different places that are most comfortable for their thumb to reach when holding the phone.)

If there are groups of apps you want on the home screen, use a folder. I have a “Travel” folder, for example, which contains apps I don’t use every day, but when I’m traveling (as I do often) they’re a lifeline, so I keep them front and center).

organizing iphone apps: page one and two

I also have another folder called “Social” that contains my lesser-used social apps, like photo editors, Google +, Repost apps, etc. The ones I use most often, like Instagram and Twitter, are loose on the home screen. The rest live in that folder, so if there’s a moment I want to capture quick, I don’t have to root around for them. I also have a folder called “Home” which houses all the apps I use to control my house, but again the most frequently used ones (my Nest app, my Control4 app) are hanging loose.

My Wallet app is there, so I can quickly pull up Apple Pay or my Starbucks card. Spotify is there, because I’m always listening to music, and my note-taking apps are front and center in case I need to jot something down fast.

I also have apps there that help me maintain good habits. Having my Headspace meditation app on the home page reminds me to use it, and My Data Manager is a great app that helps me keep an eye on data plan overages.

Oh, and I always have the Settings app at the end. Again, I’m always in Settings, so it’s good not to have to think about finding it. I wish Apple would let you pull up the settings app from the Control Center (that you find when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen), but sadly, they don’t.

So, that’s my home screen. Apps used most often, plus apps and groupings I need quick, and don’t want to forget about.

the rest of the pages

I organize the rest of my apps by topic on the following pages.

Page two is all my business and finance stuff: Bank account and payment apps up top, apps I use to run my blog and newsletter, apps I use to invoice, to ship things, to scan things, etc. Work stuff.

Page three is all stuff to read and listen to: Newspaper apps, periodicals, tech blog apps, podcast apps, my Kindle and iBooks app for books I’m reading, an RSS feed app that’s full of lifestyle blogs I love.  If I’m bored, I just open my phone, swipe swipe, and I’m ready to get informed. The ones I go to most are up at the top, and occasionally-read ones are lower down.

Page four is for stragglers: It’s the equivalent of the back of my closet. This is where transient apps go— the ones I’m testing, or temporarily using, or the ones that just don’t have a grouping that makes sense. If this page starts to get full, I know it’s time for me to root through it and delete some stuff (I do this monthly anyway). Games are also in a folder on page four because I want them to be out of sight, out of mind. I keep them for when I’m on a plane with no Wifi or in a doctor’s waiting room— and some that my kids want to grab my phone and play occasionally.

other ideas

There are other cool ideas I’ve found that people use with great success. Many visual people like to color-code their apps— it helps them find things quickly to swipe to the page where all the yellow apps are, or red. Personally, I don’t think that would help me much:  sooo many apps are blue that it might just end up being a big pile of similar looking apps (I already have had to move things around a few times on my home screen so I don’t inadvertently tap Spotify when I mean to tap Evernote, both of which are green). 

Another idea is to use Verb-based folders to group apps by action (ie. “Look Up,” “Read,” “Talk,” “Shop”). This makes sense, and I do it with some of my folders.

Others like to alphabetize their apps, so they can swipe to find them by letter. And there’s even an easy way to do this:

Head to Settings then tap General > Reset > Reset Home Screen Layout.

NOTE: Avoid the first two choices on the Reset page… the top one will wipe out all your app preferences, and the next one will restore your phone to its factory settings!

organizing iphone apps

How do you organize your apps? Share other methods and tips you use in the comments, below!

Photo borrowed from Wanderer Wanderer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *