IOS Folder Management Tips

This post is for anyone with lots of apps on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. who is having a hard time keeping track of them...

Recently a friend of mine mentioned how he hates Apple's IOS navigation model of flipping through page after page of icons. I replied that I didn't have any trouble finding apps on my IOS devices. I have most of my apps organized into folders and everything is on one of two two pages. So, my friend, decided to put me to the test. "Do you have a webpage screen grabbing app on your iPad?", he asked. "I don't recall," I replied, "Let's see..." One swipe, one click, and three seconds later, "Yes: Webshot. It's in my utilities folder." 

"Wow! That's impressive", says my friend. He then went on to share that the real problem, was getting his head around the task of organizing hundreds of apps into folders. It just seemed like an endless time sink...

Sound familiar? Well I have a strategy for performing this task that makes it easy to organize your IOS screen life.

Get Organized!
Step by Step Folder Management

1) On your iPhone or iPad, navigate to your last page of icons. Click and hold on any icon, to enter edit mode (wiggling icons).

2) Drag all your apps off the lower tool bar and onto the last page, including the apple apps. If your last page is full, go to the next page.

3) With and empty tool bar navigate back to the first page (Home) -- pressing the round physical button will take you there directly.

4) Now reviewing the icons on your home page, drag any two similar icons onto each other; this will create a folder. For example: if your home page included Facebook, a Twitter client and the LinkedIn app, you could drag the Twitter app onto the Facebook app, which will create a folder called "Social". You can rename it if you like. Then drag the LinkedIn app onto the Social folder. This will result in three icons inthe single folder named, "Social". Repeat this process, creating folders for any other like categories, on the page.

5) Drag the folders you created from your home screen onto the empty tool bar. The iPhone will accommodate four; the iPad, six.

6) Now, with folders in tow, navigate to all the other pages (screens) of application icons, dragging appropriate apps into the folders on the toolbar.

7) When you get to the last page, and you have grabbed all the apps that fit the folders on your tool bar, drag these folders off the toolbar, and repeat the process.

This is a really easy way to organize your apps. The big idea here, is bringing the folders to the apps, instead of trying to drag the apps from screen to screen in search of folders -- you'll likely go mad, doing that!

Once you have everything organized by folder, you can use the toolbar to relocate your folders to whatever screen you desire. Most people prefer certain, "heavy use apps", to be free standing. My home page is a mixture of both icons and folders, and as I have already shared, all my apps fit on two screens!

IOS Folder Capacity
On the iPhone, you are allowed a maximum of eight screens; each screen can accommodate 16 folders or icons, plus the ubiquitous toolbar which can hold a combination of four icons or folders.Each folder can house a maximum of 12 apps. If every slot is dedicated to a folder, that means the iPhone has a maximum capacity of 1584 apps, or until you run out of memory.

8 pages x 16 folders x 12 apps/folder + 4 potential toolbar folders x 12 apps each = 1584 apps

    On the iPad, you are allowed a maximum of 11 screens; each screen can accommodate 20 folders or icons, plus the toolbar which can hold a combination of six additiional icons or folders. Each folder can house a maximum of 20 apps. If every slot is dedicated to a folder, that means the iPad has a  maximum capacity of 4520 apps, or until you run out of memory.

    11 pages x 20 folders x 20 apps/folder + 6 potential toolbar folders x 20 apps each = 4520 apps

    Folder Names 
    Obviously, you can name your folders any way you chose, but here is a list of potential folder names that may be useful:

    • Apple Apps
    • Social
    • Business
    • Productivity
    • Entertainment
    • Shopping
    • News
    • Travel
    • Reference
    • Graphics
    • Drawing Apps
    • Paint Apps
    • Photography
    • Note-takers
    • Utilities
    • Bookmarks
    • Games
    • Kids

    One last tip, to find an app gone AWOL...
    Navigate to the the home screen and enter the find mode, by either swiping to the right or by pressing the round physical button at the bottom of your screen. Once on the find screen, type in the name of the app you are looking for. It won't take you to the app, but it will confirm it's presence and you can launch it, which is probably why you were looking for it in the first place. :-)

    Now go forth and organize! 


    Steve Lomas is an interactive media veteran, designer, entrepreneur and idea mechanic. He is the founder of MojoMediaPros, and CyberIsland Studios.