How to Organize Your iPhone in 3 Easy Steps (with Pictures)

Photo of an iPhone home screen filled with apps
Photo Source:

If you’re anything like me, you probably have your entire life on your iPhone. My phone is as important as (if not more than) my computer. 

I use my iPhone to shop, write and read emails, scroll through social media, order food, pay bills and (of course) take pictures of my cat and videos of my kid playing soccer. 

I can’t live without it! I also can’t live WITH it if it’s disorganized. I’ve spent some time creating a streamlined iPhone experience that works for me.

If you need some inspiration to organize your iPhone, here’s how it can be done in just three steps.

(Note: this also will work for other mobile devices like iPads that run on iOS.)

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Step 1: Spruce Up Your Main Home Screen

The first step is to take a look at your main home screen. This is the first home screen you see after the lock screen when you unlock your phone. 

To me, this should feel welcoming and calming rather than cluttered and chaotic. If your home screen is filled with random apps, let’s start with a quick decluttering session. 

How to Declutter Your Home Screen

iPhone home screen showing a wallpaper photo and app icons
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

One of the best ways to declutter your home screen is by limiting it to just a handful of your most-used iPhone apps.

Look at my example above.

As you can see, in this home screen layout I have my six most-used apps at the top of the screen:

  • Messages (because I text friends and family all the time)
  • Camera
  • Clock (my alarm clock and timer live here)
  • Wallet (I travel a lot and this is the fastest way to access boarding passes)
  • Notes (I’m constantly making to-do lists in my notes app)
  • Byga (soccer app my son’s club uses for practice and game schedules)

By keeping only six apps on this screen, I get to see the wallpaper photo of my son playing soccer. This was taken years ago when he was 12, and it’s a happy memory.

Delete your unused apps

iPhone home screen showing how to delete apps
Photo Source: Organizenvy

Another simple way to declutter your home screen (and a very helpful idea before moving on to Tip #2): delete any apps you don’t use anymore. Fewer apps mean less organizing you’ll need to do. 

You may also notice a bunch of apps that Apple includes in iOS. If you don’t use them, delete them! Just tap and hold your finger on the specific app. When the menu screen appears, choose “Remove App” at the bottom.

Move rarely used apps to extra home screens

So, how do you move apps off the main iPhone home screen? 

First, press your finger on an open area of the screen and hold it until “minus” symbols appear at the top left corner of each app. 

Next, choose an app you want to move. Press and hold your finger on that app and drag it to the right. 

When you get to the right side of the home screen, a new empty home screen will appear. Take your finger off the app and then press an open space on the home screen. 

Now, move the rest of your less-used apps to the next screen. If you have a LOT of apps on your home screen, you may want to combine some into folders before moving (see Step #2 below).

Choose Apps for your Home Screen Dock

iPhone home screen showing the dock at the bottom with app icons
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

See the gray bar at the bottom of my home screen? That’s the dock. I have four phone apps in my dock at the bottom of the home screen. 

The dock stays on the bottom of the screen. It shows any apps you place in it on every home screen. This means as you scroll through your app, you always have access to these apps. 

I use the dock for my Phone app to make calls, pull up a web browser, listen to music and check my email app (Outlook).

Create a Home Screen Aesthetic

This part is COMPLETELY optional, but if you want to make your home screen “pretty,” there are a few different ways to do it.

​Set your wallpaper

Photo of an iPhone wallpaper customization screen
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

Your wallpaper is the background for your lock screen and home screen pages. To set or change it, go to your lock screen. Press your finger on the screen and hold it until you see the “customize” and “plus” buttons at the bottom.

If you click the “plus,” you can add a new wallpaper image. Choose from Apple’s featured wallpaper designs or choose a photo from your library.

NOTE: Another way to change your wallpaper is in your Settings app. Click Wallpaper to customize.

Add widgets (and what’s a widget?)

If you choose the “Customize” button, you can choose to add widgets to your lock screen or home screens. 

Widgets are like mini versions of an app. They give you helpful information at a glance without having to open the app. 

You can add widgets for apps like: 

  • Calendar (so you never forget a birthday or anniversary)
  • Date & Time (you probably see the date and time at the top of your lock screen; these can be customized)
  • Weather 
  • Social Media
  • News

You can also play around with widgets and create an aesthetic using an app. Go to the App Store and search “home screen theme and icons.” 

Step 2: Organize Your App Icons Into App Folders

​Ok, you’ve decluttered your main home screen. Next, let’s organize the rest of your apps.

As you can see from my photo above, I’ve created folders with categories for each type of app. For example, some of my folders include:

  • Dine (for restaurant loyalty, delivery and related apps)
  • Entertainment (movie theater apps, streaming platform apps, etc.)
  • Finance (all banking/brokerage apps
  • Social (all social media apps)

You might also have folders for music apps, shopping apps, productivity apps, etc. 

How to Create an App Folder

iPhone folder with two app icons
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

To create folders like I did, press and hold your finger on the home screen. When the “minus” signs appear, put your finger over an app and drag the app on top of another app. (A similar app.) 

You’ll see both apps now live in a folder. When you tap the folder, you can change the name at the top and rearrange the order of the apps. Continue adding similar apps to folders. 

If you have a lot of apps in a folder, your phone will automatically create additional folder screens as you fill them up.

You can organize the apps in each folder, either alphabetically (by the name of the app) or by putting your favorite or most used apps at the top/front of the folder. 

Arrange Folders in Alphabetical Order

Once you have all of your apps in folders and you’ve added folder names, move the folders into alphabetical order on your home screen. This makes it much easier to find them, especially when you have a lot.

Step 3: Make Your iPhone Work Smarter, Not Harder

Let’s add some magic to your newly organized iPhone! Here are ways to help your phone help you

Set Up or Turn Off Notifications 

Notifications can be a blessing or a curse. I like them for some apps and turn them off for others.

Here’s how to change your notification settings:

  • Open your settings app
  • Scroll down to Notifications and click on it
  • Choose how you want Notifications displayed at the top
  • Scroll through the list of apps under “Notification Style” and toggle “Allow Notifications” on or off and choose your alert styles.

It’s completely up to you to choose which apps you want notifications for. I keep mine limited to Phone, Messages, Calendar, Reminders and some social media apps. 

Use Your App Library to Find Any App

iPhone App Library screen
Photo Credit: Organizenvy

Sometimes, I forget where I’ve filed an app. It happens. 

To find any app really fast, use the App Library.

Simply swipe to the left past all of your home screens and you’ll see it. Type the name of your missing app in the search bar and you’re good to go. 

Free Up iPhone Storage Space to Make Your Phone Faster

Have you noticed your iPhone running REALLY slowly? Or have you gotten the dreaded “iPhone storage full” notification? 

You can free up storage space very quickly with a few steps:

  • Open your Settings app
  • Click on General
  • Click on iPhone Storage 

The iPhone Storage screen shows you how much storage space you’re using. It also shows you which programs are using the most storage. (For me, it’s always Photos.)

If you scroll down, you’ll see programs and apps listed in order of the storage space they use. (Most to least.) If you click on each one, you’ll see recommendations for offloading or deleting files that take up space.

I hope these tips have motivated you to organize your iPhone and get the most out of that tiny but powerful device! Happy organizing!

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