4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

folders1   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4While there are a handful of very useful features in Apple’s latest iPhone operating system update, iOS 4, the most handy feature available in the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and of course iPhone 4 is the new folder structure for organizing apps.

With all the free and low cost apps in the Apps Store, it’s quite easy to become an iPhone apps junkie and amass several hundred apps. Apple’s new folder feature is a direct result of the popularity of apps by iPhone users. Having to flip through several pages of apps is not a great user experiences, but with folder structure you can now organize iPhone apps and say reduce 10 pages of apps on your iPhone down to three or four, depending how you organize them.


Steve Jobs presented the new folder feature as easy as dropping one app on top of another to create a new folder. Yes, that’s easy to do, but if you have several hundred apps on your iPhone, that process is a lot more tedious than most will like. So after spending about thirty minutes organizing my own iPhone apps and folders, I thought back through the process and want to suggest some possible tips and strategies to make it a little easier for you to organize your iPhone apps.

Tip 1: Know How Many and What Type

Before you start creating folders on your iPhone, you might consider first connecting your iPhone to your iTunes and get an overall assessment of the number and type of apps you’ve collected since you got you first started downloading them. After connecting your iPhone to iTunes, click on the Apps icon in the left navigation bar of iTunes.

iphoneapps   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

In the resulting panel, you can see the number of apps installed in your media library and the number installed on your iPhone and other Apple mobile devices that you use. While viewing apps on the iTunes, this is a good time to check and download app that need to be updated.

Tip 2: Genres and Categories

The key to app folders is to sort apps by category. In iTunes, you can click on the Genres button to get an overview of the categories for the apps you have downloaded.

genres   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

Being familiar with your categories might provide a way to figure how you want to set up folders, especially for those categories with more than 10 apps.

Tip 3: Clean Up the Clutter

The process of organizing apps will be much easier if your prune the number of apps you have installed on the iPhone. Apple provides a three useful apps views that can be helpful for both managing your apps and deselecting the ones that you’re not using.

sortbycategory   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

Use the ‘Sort By’ button to view your apps by Category. This will reveal which categories you have several similar apps. If for example you have eight book apps, you might deselect the ones you never use, or because one app might trump two or more others because of the useful features it provides. Deselecting an app doesn’t delete it from your iTunes media library, it just gets it off the phone.

sortbydate   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

Also click ‘Sort by Date’. This view will give you an idea about your oldest and newest apps. You might find that apps you download back in say 2008 are ones that you are no longer using and can be unchecked.

appssize2   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

If apps are taking a significant amount of space on your iPhone, use the ‘Sort by Size’ to find out which apps are the largest and thus candidates for deselecting.

Tip 4: Creating Folders

Actually organizing and creating folders of apps is the most tedious part of the process, especially if you have a hundred or more apps installed on your iPhone. If those apps are not already organized, the task of creating a folder structure means flipping though app pages, creating folders, and dragging apps to those folders.

createfolders1   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

So first off, based on my experience, it might be easier to start the sorting process while you have your iPhone connected iTunes. You can create folder structures in the same way you do on the iPhone. Simply drag one app onto another. This will create a folder with a suggested category.

Like it or not, each folder on the iPhone can only contain up to the 12 apps. Personally, I like this because it means when folders clicked on you don’t have to scroll through to find and select apps.

twelveapps   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

The only draw back to organizing apps and folders via iTunes is that it’s difficult to move apps from one page to another and to an existing folder. As far as I see there’s no easy solution for this. It’s a tedious task no matter how you choose to do it.

folders   4 Great Tips To Organize Apps on the iPhone iOS 4

The benefits of taking the time to organize your growing collection of apps is that now you don’t have to flip through pages to find them, but instead locate them in appropriately labeled folders.

Let us know your tips and strategies for readers to organize iPhone apps and folders. What suggestions do you have for Apple that might improve the process?

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13 Comments -

0 votes

StevenMoore

Just sorted my 389 apps this article was so helpful. Thanks a ton.. just shared with my social graphs everywhere…. Thanks

0 votes

Artemissith

I had my iPod Touch full to the limit of apps when I started sorting, I was also not near my computer, and had time to kill. If you find yourself in a similar situation, something I found helpful was to make folders on each page by category, then move those folders from page to page. Moving one app at a time takes forever! So once I had a page with all ‘Games’ on it, I made sub-categories (by typing in the folder name myself), ending up with a whole folder for tilting games, and another for music games, etc.

It is a lot of work, no matter how you do it. But it is SO worth it in the long run!

0 votes

Artemissith

I had my iPod Touch full to the limit of apps when I started sorting, I was also not near my computer, and had time to kill. If you find yourself in a similar situation, something I found helpful was to make folders on each page by category, then move those folders from page to page. Moving one app at a time takes forever! So once I had a page with all ‘Games’ on it, I made sub-categories (by typing in the folder name myself), ending up with a whole folder for tilting games, and another for music games, etc.

It is a lot of work, no matter how you do it. But it is SO worth it in the long run!

0 votes

Bakari

Good idea, Artemissith. I really wonder how many app addicts will take the trouble to re-organize their apps into folders? I found it a very tedious tasks, but once I got it done, it has made browsing apps simpler. I still think, though, that users should be able to hide pages all together and just have them pop up when you need them. The app in folders is not that attractive, though it’s practical.

0 votes

Bakari

Good idea, Artemissith. I really wonder how many app addicts will take the trouble to re-organize their apps into folders? I found it a very tedious tasks, but once I got it done, it has made browsing apps simpler. I still think, though, that users should be able to hide pages all together and just have them pop up when you need them. The app in folders is not that attractive, though it’s practical.

0 votes

Joleta

It would be nice if we could assign those iTunes genre icons to iPhone folders. I went to all the trouble to put my apps into folders and discovered after a few days that I hated it. All the folders look alike to me. No folder icon stands out from the others, and the text below the folders is very small. So I pruned my unused apps and went back to organizing them by genre-page. It’s faster for me to swipe until I get to the page that has the app I want. The fast-app switcher bar is a big help finding apps I’ve recently used.

0 votes

Jamie Edwards

there is an easier way of moving them from page to page in itunes. instead of moving the app from that page to another page, just find it on the left side thing with all the apps and drag it from there to the page. it works well if you are organising them by category because it takes less time. also, for apps like ipod that you would have on the bottom stationary row, you can use another one on there due to multi-tasking and being able to get to it easily. i think apple should allow the option to automatically organize by category making life easier for us.

0 votes

Ladyelita

I love you for posting this! I don’t have that many apps yet – I just got a used 3G from my sis who upgraded to a 4G – but this gives me the foot up in organizing my iPhone that is less cluttered. Thank you!

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Ladyelita, thanks for the feedback. We cover on a regular basis free iPhone apps, so keep checking back MUO. The 4G is opening another layer of apps that for doing more things.

0 votes

Yourtd

Nice article. It’s such a great help to me when someone can apply some linear thing to a situation. I always star out great the it’s like, “hey I forgot I had this app” and two hours later I might remember what I had set out to do, but of course, by then my battery is drained.
I also found this article on what appears to me to be a way to add images of a sort to your iphone folders.

http://www.iphonehacks.com/2010/07/how-to-add-fancy-symbols-to-folder-names-using-glyphboard.html

cheers,
yourtd

0 votes

Yourtd

Nice article. It’s such a great help to me when someone can apply some linear thing to a situation. I always star out great the it’s like, “hey I forgot I had this app” and two hours later I might remember what I had set out to do, but of course, by then my battery is drained.
I also found this article on what appears to me to be a way to add images of a sort to your iphone folders.

http://www.iphonehacks.com/201

cheers,
yourtd

0 votes

Dscarty

Great suggestions – especially the “organize by category” tip. Notice on the right side of that same iTunes screen are all the screens on your iPod/iPhone. If you double click on one of the apps on the left you go to the screen it is on – on the right. Then you can bring that app down to the bottom screen on the right (probably an empty one) and drag all of the apps of the same type there to organize into folders. Makes things go much faster.

0 votes

Bakari Chavanu

Thanks for the feedback.