Tip for Organizing Your iPad or iPhone Apps

Joe Caiati has a great tip on his blog, dot.info, explaining how to get the majority of your apps organized in alphabetical order. I was recently having a conversation with a colleague on this exact issue and was expressing my disappointment that Apple has not introduced a new UI for organizing apps. This isn’t quite what I would suggest, but it is an alternative for individuals that want an easy way to organize apps on their iPad or iPhone in mostly alphabetical order. It basically resets your home screen layout, then arranges all non-natives apps automatically. (The problem is that after you install any new apps, they just get added to your last page, out of order)

My Solution: Use Folders and Search

iPad Home ScreenAnyone that has seen my iPhone or iPad knows that I am obsessed with folders. Instead of using Joe’s tip, I basically organize all apps into folders based on labels that make sense to me. After I have all my apps in folders, I use Spotlight Search to find apps that I cannot easily locate.

Spotlight Search on iPadIn iOS 7, you access Spotlight search by dragging your finger down on any of your home screens (the screens with the grid of apps), and then a search field will appear from the top. The important thing is that you begin to drag your finger on a spot on the screen below the taskbar, or else you will access the navigation center. I usually just drag from the middle of the screen down.

Once the search box is on your screen, you can begin typing the name of any app, and if your apps are enabled for search, the app will appear in the list. Once the app is showing in the spotlight search results, you can simply click on the app in the results to launch it (it also gives you a hint on the right side of the results on the folder that the application is stored in, so you may not have to search next time).

Spotlight Search Results on iPad

If your apps on not showing when you do a Spotlight Search, check your settings to make sure that you have applications selected for search results. Launch the Settings App on your iPhone or iPad, then go into the General Settings, then Spotlight Search. Make sure that a check mark is next to Applications.

Search Setting on an iPad running iOS 7

Since I usually use search to launch applications, I also have Applications selected to appear on the top of my results. The results show based on the order they are listed in the Spotlight Search settings. To move a category higher in the search results, use your finger and hold it down over the hamburger symbol (the three horizontal lines on the right side of the screen next to the category name), and move the category up or down the list.

Neither of these methods are ideal, but based on the current user interface of the iPhone and iPad, this is the best that we have. I am hoping that future editions of iOS provide users with more freedom of organizing apps. It would be much more convenient if there was a launcher with all the apps automatically added to it, with the option to organize by name, by last used, by date installed, or by most used. It would also be nice if you had this same option in any folder you created. For now, if you want to have this type of freedom, you would have to switch to an Android device. But in the meantime, I hope these tips make navigating your device easier.