I have a lot of apps on my iPhone. You have a lot of apps on your iPhone. That’s just the of way life in the digital world. It’s gotten so bad that at one point, I had apps on my phone that weren’t even compatible with my iPhone X’s slim-bezel layout. I’ve had apps on my phone that were so old, they wouldn’t even run when I finally got around to organising my device a bit.
Thankfully, iOS 14 is here (or will soon be, depending on your tastes for a beta), to deliver you extra help in managing all the crap you’ve installed on your iPhone. I really wish it were as simple as a button that lets you sort the apps on your many Home screen pages alphabetically (or by frequency of use, or even the date installed), just as you’d sort all the junk on your computer desktop. Alas, that’s not the case — but iOS 14 comes with the next best thing.
I love a good beta. And while I wouldn’t recommend that you install a developer beta of Apple’s just-announced operating systems on your primary devices, just in case something goes catastrophically wrong, the urge to play with new features is hard to ignore.Read more
As we’ve previously discussed, upgrading to iOS 14 will tack on a brand-new “App Library” page at the very end of your Home screen’s pages — just keep swiping left to get there. It might look a little scary at first, but it’s brilliant in its design.
As you’ll see, there’s nothing for you to do in the App Library, organisation-wise. All of the apps on your phone are already organised by whatever categories Apple feels suits them best. The new “Suggestions” and “Recently Added” categories that stick to the top of your App Library are collected the curated apps your device thinks you use or need the most, as well as the apps you most recently installed on your iPhone. (As one who hates scanning through pages to see where a new app has landed, I welcome this feature.)
Oh, but we’re not done yet.
The App Library is great for organising your apps, but moving to iOS 14 does nothing about the myriad of apps still clogging up all those Home screen pages. To get hide them, you have a few options.
Dump all the apps you don’t want to see into the App Library
One fun functionality of the new App Library is that you can move any app you want into it — you don’t even have to pick a category. Just long-press to pick it up, swipe over to the app library, and release your finger anywhere on the screen. The app will disappear from the page it was on, but it’ll stay installed on your device, summonable via an icon in the App Library or the standard “use Spotlight to search for the name of the app I want to run” approach.
Doing this one-by-one would take forever, especially if you’re an app hoarder like myself. So, let’s combine this with another trick: Long-press and move your finger to “pick up” an app, and keep holding your finger down. Then, use a second finger to tap on other apps to “scoop” them up into one large collection of apps, all of which you’re now holding. Drag this collection to your App Library and release your finger. With this technique, you’ll have all of your sprawling pages cleaned up within five minutes.
And, yes, you can return apps from the App Library to your Home screen pages at any time — just drag and drop them out of said library, much as you would move any app on your phone.
You can also send folders’ worth of apps straight to your App Library by long-pressing and selecting the “Remove Folder” option. Similarly, if you want to send a single app to your App Library without dragging it there, just long-press and select the “Remove App” option.
Dump new apps you download into the App Library
Pull up your Settings app > Home Screen, and you’ll see the following new option:
Select “App Library only,” and anything you download will go on your device, but not onto any of your Home screen pages. It’s the setting you’ll want if you need a little extra protection against clutter, especially if you’ve already set up your (fewer?) Home screen pages with the exact apps and widgets you want.
(Also, this is the same screen where you’ll be able to enable notification badges for apps in your App Library. It’s off by default — presumably to reduce clutter.)
Hide Home screen pages
One other method for eliminating your iPhone’s clutter is to simply hide your Home screen pages. Any apps that are on them will still appear on your device — and you can unhide these pages any time you want. You simply won’t see said pages full of apps.
To get started, long-press anywhere on any of your pages — on an app or free space, it doesn’t matter — to trigger the “jiggling apps” action that you’d otherwise use to remove or move apps. After that, tap on the page controls at the bottom of your screen:
Your screen will then expand out to show you all of your active pages, and you’ll be able to hide most of them by tapping the checkmark icon underneath them. And, no, you can’t hide all of them; you need to have at least one page on your device. Otherwise, what would you look at?
Speaking of pages, here’s another fun trick: Long-press on your page controls within iOS and you can slide your finger left and right to speed-scroll through your various pages like Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s infinitely faster than swiping, which is already fast enough.