iOS Home Screen Organisation

How do you organise the apps on the screen of your iOS device? Do you sort them in any way? Do you use folders? Do you just use spotlight and search for them by name?

I keep most of my apps in folders, except the ones I use most frequently. These I keep on the first homescreen, out of folders. But let’s focus on the folders. The naming and organizational scheme is important. Having 22 folders on my two homescreens wouldn’t help me a lot if I had to open up each one to see if the app I was looking for is there.

So, for the last 13 months, I have been using Gina Trapani’s folder naming scheme as she explained it on her Smarterware blog:

Organizing items by category makes sense in libraries and bookstores, on restaurant menus, in music and movies—but not apps. An app isn’t consumable media. An app is a tool. It helps you perform an action, to do something. Modern programming languages and APIs are verb-based (think MyObject->setName() and and HTTP’s GET and POST), and the user interface should be, too. That’s when I settled on a verb-based folder system.


These tiny touchscreen mobile computers we carry around in our pockets are the ultimate multi-tool. I use my phone to read, shop, watch, listen, cook, play, navigate, share, jot, photograph, and chat, so I organised my apps just like that. The guiding question for where each app went was What do I DO with it?

Following Gina’s advice, I have my apps organised in folders as you can see in the screenshots bellow. So far, this system works! I think what I want to do and go straight to the relevant folder to find the app to do it.

iOS home screens (small)

As side note, I have another rule that I (try to) follow: if a folder is full, in order to add a new app into it, I have to delete another. This helps me to avoid having hundreds of apps without using them. However, as you can see in the screenshot above, I break this rule by having two folders for games: You see, Rovio keeps making new Angry Birds games and I just have to have them.