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Using the iOS App Library to Organize Your Apps

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If you’re an organization junkie and an iPhone user, iOS has given you a handy tool: the App Library, which organizes your apps into labeled groups to make them easier to find. Introduced with iOS 14, all your current apps will be found there, and any apps you download will be placed there as well. (You can decide for yourself whether you want the apps to be visible on your home screen; we’ll tell you how later in this article.)

If you haven’t paid attention to the app library until now, here are some ways to get started.

Automatic groupings

The app library appears as a separate page on your home screen. Wherever you are on your home screen, just keep swiping left – the app library is the last page you hit.

It automatically organizes your apps into folders labeled with different categories. For example, the last time I looked, mine featured Suggestions, Recently Added, Utilities, Photo & Video, Productivity & Finance, Social, Other, Entertainment, and Information & Reading. Each map is divided into four quadrants; each quadrant shows an icon that represents an app. If a folder contains more than four apps, the remaining icons are resized and grouped in their own quadrant.

You can open an app directly from its icon in the app library. If the app is part of a group of smaller icons (and therefore too small to tap), tap anywhere in that quadrant and the entire category will fill your screen, allowing you to select the app you want.

The app library organizes your apps into categories.

Tap a group of small icons and the category will open.

Long-press on an app in the app library and a pop-up menu will let you delete it, share it, or use any of its features.

If you can’t find an app, select the search box at the top; you get an alphabetical list of your apps. You can type the name of the app you want or scroll down to find it.

Long press menu in app library

A long press offers a variety of options.

search app library

If you can’t find an app, tap the search box.

However, you do not control where in the App Library the new app appears.

Clean up your home screen

Since most of your apps are available in the app library, you can remove them from your home screen if you want to and make things a bit more organized. For a single app:

  • On the home screen, long press the app you want to uninstall.
  • Tap Delete App.
  • Tap Remove from home screen.

home screen drop-down menu

To clean up your home screen, long press the icon and select Uninstall app.

drop-down menu on home screen

Then select Remove from home screen.

You can also delete a bunch of apps on the home screen at once by long-pressing an empty area on your home screen. Tap the “minus” symbol in the corner of each app you want to remove from the home screen and select Remove from home screen.

If you really want to keep your home screen clean, you can make newly installed apps appear only in the app library.

  • Go to Settings > Home screen
  • Choose either one Add to home screen or App library only. You can also choose to have notification badges displayed in the app library and an app search icon on the home screen.

To change where apps are first displayed, go to the setting on the home screen.

Home screen settings

Apps can be downloaded to your home screen or to the app library.

The app library is an interesting part of the iOS arsenal, providing better organization of apps and a cleaner, less crowded home screen.

Update August 31, 2022, 4:20 PM ET: This article was originally published on September 18, 2020 and has been updated to reflect operating system changes.

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