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.




    The New Workflow


    The way we do business is changing...

    I have been reflecting lately on just how dramatically my day-to-day workflow has changed. The tools I rely on today, are completely different from the tools I was using, even a year ago.

    It used used to be...

    • If you wanted to make a phone call you used a "phone", and your phone number indicated where you were calling from. 
    • If you wanted to schedule a meeting, the trickiest aspect was scheduling a conference room. 
    • Notes were mostly taken on paper, even though we all had laptops. 
    • Most people had four phone numbers: work, fax, home and cell, and typically two email addresses: work and personal
    • Applications ran on your primary computer workstation, which is where your all documents were stored. 
    • Working remotely was uncommon, and travel was required if teams really wanted to collaborate. 
    • Conference calls were expensive and video conferencing was too expensive and and much too complicated for daily use. 
    • TV shows were watched on televisions and surfing the Internet required a networked computer.
    Get where I'm going with all this?

    In the last year I have integrated the following tools to my workflow...


    Cloud Services: Okay, I will admit it. Larry Ellison was right! I didn't get it at first, but it is so much better to have your documents and even applications up in the cloud. From a data protection and accessibility perspective, you can't beat it -- as long as you can access the internet! That's where DropBox comes i ...

    DropBox: This is a bit of software you install on your computer that allows you to share the contents of a folder on your desktop with anybody you chose, via the Internet. Files are seamlessly uploaded to the cloud where you can access them from other computers, and mobile devices. Both the iPhone and iPad support DropBox, as do other mobile devices. Very impressive when a client mentions something you had worked on together months before, and you say, "Here it is..." as you pass them your iPad! The great thing about DropBox, is you maintain local copies of your files as well a the cloud copies, and DropBox does all the heavy lifting, in the background, to everything in sync.

    Google Docs:  More and more of my docs are stored in the cloud on Google servers, and the all the Google applications are browser-based. Google has knock-offs of Word, Excel and PowerPoint online, complete with the ability to read and save in these Microsoft file formats. Any Google Doc documents can be shared with teammates for review or editing. Documents can actually be edited simultaneously by multiple individuals.In one creative session earlier this year, eight of us were editing the same document at the same time! And it wasn't as chaotic as it may sound, because we could all see in real time what was being edited and by whom. Pretty cool!!  If you need a local copy, perhaps for an in-flight work session, you can export a local copy to your DropBox.

    Skype: I realize that Skype has been around for a while, but I only woke up to it, this year. It happened when I was talking to a co-worker at, After several phone conversations, I learned that she was not based in California, but New Zealand! I was confused, because her incoming phone number was a CA number. She explained explained that she was using Skype, and the cost of the service, with a dedicated CA phone number was under $10 a month. I said, "Thank you, very much", hung up the phone, and signed up for Skype on the spot! Ever since, Skype has been my preferred telecommunications service. The audio quality is crisp and the video video teleconferencing and screen-casting are immensely helpful for remote collaboration!

    Gmail: I was reluctant to abandon Outlook as my primary email client and the whole notion locally archived email, but I finally made the leap earlier this year, and I must admit, it's very convenient. I can search all my email in seconds (who better than Google to handle search?) and my email is readily available across all devices! I had already figured out how to manage multiple email accounts in Gmail (see previous post: The Ultimate Email Hook-up), so migrating wasn't too difficult.It has taken a while to get used to the Gmail, web client, but now that I have, I like it.

    iPad: My friend and co-worker, Chipp Walters said of the iPad before it was released, "The iPad will be game changing". He was right. We use our iPads all the time. In fact, I created the attached info graphic on my iPad, using Notes Plus. You can read my initial thoughts about the iPad, in this post, "iPad Not Perfect, But Very Cool". And if you are really stuck for how to be productive with your iPad, check this out, "New Favorite iPad App".

    iPhone 4: Multi-tasking, folders, Reina display, and a rocking' great camera made this a must-have upgrade, given how I rely on my iPhone (see "It's an iPhone Life").

    GoToMeeting: This is a virtual meeting and collaboration service which allows you to screen-cast to multiple people and pass the screen-cast baton at any time during the meeting, to anyone connected to the meeting. This feature is great. G2M also provides both private and public chat rooms, a participant list, a who's speaking indicator, and the ability to screen capture an entire meeting. GoToMeeting's VOIP (Voice Over IP) capabilities can be a little finicky, so thankfully, participants can also call into a meeting via telephone.

    PogoPlug: This is a nifty little device that allows you to create your own cloud service, out of any external USB hard drive, so may can access these files from anywhere over the Internet. Files can any file format, including photos, videos and music. PogoPlug does all the trans-coding so you may access and play these files remotely from mobile devices, like the iPhone and iPad.

    Drobo: Dobo is a a very smart storage robot, that employs a unique RAID technology that is drop-dead simple to deploy and maintain. Unlike other RAD technologies, the Drobo does not care about drive size parity. When you run out of storage, you simply remove the smallest drive in the array, and replace it with the largest hard drive that is currently available, and Drobo does the rest -- no files are lost in the process. It works GREAT!

    BaseCamp: This is another cloud service, designed specifically for Project Management. It is easy to set up projects, and virtual teams. BaseCamp provides file sharing with regression, threaded discussions, tasks, milestones, calendars, and an odd shared document format called "Write Boards". BaseCamp is not the end-all, be-all PM tool that it could be, but it is certainly useful, and we use it often in conjunction with the other tools, mentioned.

    MacBook Pro & Parallels: I love my little 13" MacBook Pro. It is well-sized for travel, but don't let its small stature deceive you. With 8GB of RAM, two video processors and a 500GB hard drive, this machine is a true work-horse! If you have followed my previous posts, you may know that I run a split Mac OS | Windows XP environment, using Parallels. This allows me to run whatever software is required, and test our web-apps cross-platform from the same compact workstation.When I'm at my desk I connect to a Dell 27" Ultrasharp monitor. My windows environment is dedicated to this monitor, but my Mac OS environment spans both the laptop screen and the Dell Ultrasharp. You can read more about my Parallels experience, here: Magellan's Guide To A Parallels Universe - Part 1. Parallels has its mysteries and foibles, but all-in-all, it works well for me and I am satisfied with its performance -- I never really think about fact that I'm doing the lion-share of my work on a virtual machine!

    Closing Thoughts...

    This new way to work and collaborate is great, but it is not without its drawbacks. As you can see, from my graphic, it is a highly distributed model.The old axiom, of "Ultimate information needs to exist ultimately in one place" is definitely being challenged in this sort of work environment. "Where did I create that?" and "Where did I save that?" are not uncommon questions. We have some clients who don't mind reviewing a DRAFTs in Google Docs, while others prefer a PDF to mark-up, and others still insist on MS documents. This, of course, pains me, because it means redundant effort, migrating text edits and comments, back and forth. Therefore,  I find myself having to really think, before I begin a document, or project, to determine the best tool, the intended audience and where and in what format it will be published. 

    The other thing I've noticed, is just how much time seems to be sacrificed to maintaining of this complex environment. There seems to be a constant barrage of software updates to manage. None of it is that hard to do, or fraught with much risk, but each update, takes a small bite out of your day -- maybe that is the hidden meaning of the Apple logo ;-)

    But before I all throw in the towel, and pine for the "good ol' days", I remind myself that it is still very early in this business/productivity revolution. Tools will get better. The best will float tot he top, and the rest will disappear, and in the not too distant future, much of this will all seem commonplace.

    • You can "telephone" people without the use of a"phone", using Skype, and similar Voice Over IP technologies. I've made calls from my iPad when I left my cell at home.
    •  Services like Google Voice and Skype allow you to establish a local phone number, anywhere, regardless of where you actually rest your head at night...
    • You can create a virtual conference room in 60 seconds or less, using GoToMeeting and similar online services, like Adobe Connect and Web-X.
    • You can screen capture, or other record the meeting notes in a variety of ways, such as Sound Notes for the iPad or the Pulse digital pen.
    • Most people have abandoned their land-lines at home, in favor of cell phones. And when was the last time you actually sent a FAX? If you have, it was likely not your first choice.
    • Instead of two email addresses, I have too many! ;-)
    • My workflow integrates dozens of apps which run on either my iPhone or my iPad; generally both. 
    • Remote collaboration across virtual teams is becoming more and more common as businesses embrace the cost savings and the potential for increased productivity.
    • Conference calls are simple and inexpensive --  even FREE, with services like -- and video conferencing is a snap with Skype or iChat
    • YouTube, Netflix and Apple TV are blurring the lines between Internet and television.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject, and how you manage your workflow... Please leave a comment.

    Steve Lomas is an Idea Mechanic and the founder of MojoMediaPros.

    It's an iPhone Life...


    On a recent business trip, I found myself reflecting on the impact of recent technologies,to my everyday life; specifically the iPhone and Cloud computing. A few short years ago, a phone was just that: a phone. Now it is an indispensable personal productivity, entertainment and communication device. When I was a kid, Captain Kirk's communicator seemed pretty far-fetched. Not so much, any more. In fact, in many ways, Kirk's Starfleet communicator pales compared to my iPhone -- no worries Captain, you still have an edge, with that phaser! :-)

    Let me list the ways...

    So, cooling my heels between connecting flights, I decided to list all the ways I rely on my iPhone.

    Lets's start with the obvious:

    Email, Contacts and Calendars

    I have five email addresses, and 4 calendars (including an exchange server and Gmail) mapped to my iPhone. Whenever I look at my calendar it is up to date, and any changes that happen are pushed to me, and I am alerted. I have instant access to approximately 2000 contacts! I can speak a name and my iPhone accurately retrieves that individual's contact info and ask me to clarifying questions to be sure it dials the right number. I know, someone is saying, my phone can do that... I'm just getting started.

    The App Store

    At last count the iPhone has over 180,000 apps in the App Store. Unless your phone is an iPhone, your phone can't beat that -- not even close.

    Tripcase App

    When I book a trip, all I need to do is enter the record-locator into my Tripcase app, and my entire itinerary is downloaded to my phone, in seconds. A couple of clicks and my itinerary is forwarded to my family and business colleagues. Should my flight plans change, everyone is updated automatically!

    MMS Text

    While waiting at the gate, I swap texts with my wife, to let her know I arrive safely at the airport. I include a cute picture to make her smile. This goes on throughout my trip, allowing me to keep in touch with family and friends, from anywhere.

    Photography On Demand

    Visit a great restaurant, or witness a glorious sunset? That's worth a picture. The iPhone has a great little camera. Snap a picture and moments later it can be uploaded to my blog, Twitter, Facebook -- or all of the above -- directly from my iPhone!

    Graphic Apps

    Before uploading that image, I may want to color correct it, or straighten it, or crop and frame it; perhaps add a special effect. There's an app for that. In fact there are dozens. Some of the best include Photogene, PSmobile, PhotoFX, Brushes, ToonPaint, OldCamera, NightCamera, HDRCamera... I have to give a shout out, here, to Chipp Walters, for keeping me tight in this department!

    Need video? No problem!

    The iPhone has a built in video camera, and you can trim video clips right on your phone. That's come in handy more than once. You can even post the video directly to YouTube or simply text or email it to a friend...

    Starbucks App Story

    Still waiting at the airport, I decide to get a coffee. I check my Starbucks app to see that I have credit on my Starbuck card. I'm a little light so elect to transfer credit from my bank account to my bucks card, while I'm standing in line. Why? Rewards! I'm only a few point shy of a free drink. ;-) As I'm paying for my drink, I'm asked if I need my balance. "No thanks it's on my iPhone." I check the balance, and the debit has already posted before I could leave the counter. The barista and I take a moment to marvel at how quickly it updated. She's an iPhone user, too!

    TripCase Saves the Day!

    Heading back to my gate, I glance at TripCase again, and realize I have an update... My gate has been changed; it's now on the other side of the terminal; in the opposite direction. That saved me more than a few steps! If you have you ever made a connection at DFW, you know what I'm saying!!

    AwesomeNotes App

    I make it to the new gate with time to spare. So, I pull out my iPhone and open my Awesome Notes app to make some notes for this blog post, and I review some notes for my upcoming meeting. Insight App If you use BaseCamp, this is a great way to check-up on your projects while you are away from the office... And I do so.

    NIV Bible App

    I suddenly realize, in all my haste to get to the airport, and catch my flight, I hadn't had a chance to get into the Word, today. So, I open my NIV Bible app. Reading a particularly meaninful scripture, I copy it and email it to my wife. I also set it as a daily alert; a spiritual interuption in my day, to help me to stay focused on the big picture.

    In-Flight Diversions - Dropbox in the Sky?

    I've been known to watch movies, and TV shows, in flight on my iPhone, but on this trip, I put some business documents into the Dropbox folder on my desktop computer, so I could easily access them from the Dropbox app on my iPhone. I made each document a favorite, which notifies Dropbox to download a local copy to my iPhone. That way I can access them in-flight...

    iPod App

    How easy it is to take this app for granted, but let's not forget that it was the iPod and iTunes that turned Apple around... Listening to my iPod, also an app on my iPhone, I spent some mid-air quality time catching up on my business reading.

    Alarm Clock and NPR News Apps

    At night, I launch my Alarm Clock app; and set the alarm to wake me in the morning with my song of choice: Jimi Hendrix, All Along The Watchtower... In the morning, after listening to a few bars of Jimi, I roll out, and reach fo my Phone; launching the NPR News App: Morning Edition; feels like home. :-)

    Dragon Dictation App

    Throughout the day I continue to make notes, for this blog, by speaking them into my Dragon Dictation app which converts my words to text. It does a pretty good job.

    TimeMaster App

    I consult with several clients each day, so need to keep strict notes about my hours and expenses... Yup! There's an app for that; many, actually. The best one I've found, is TimeMaster. It's a little spendier than most iPhone Apps($9.99), but it's well worth it -- and it's fully iPad* aware as well. The cool thing about TimeMaster, is how easily can generate reports, and with the optional module upgrade (also $9.99) you can generate beautiful PDF invoices and email them to yourself or your client, all from the iPhone.

    TurboScan App

    We did some white board session on this trip, which we captured on our iPhones using the TurboScan app. What a gem! It allows you to correct any key-stoning (making the image rectilinear) and adjust the contrast. You can save the image or email it as a JPEG or PDF. The images are pretty high-rez, and they print reasonably well. My Favorite Apps, begin with "G" Everything I have mentioned thus far is pretty cool, but I have saved my favorite two apps for last: Google Search (voice activated, of course) Google maps and Google Earth. Whenever I'm planning s trip, or even if I just need to call ahead for information, I've gotten into the habit of search in the Google Maps app, first. Once the business destination is found, I immediately add it to my contacts AND I bookmark it, which makes getting directions to or from this location later, very easy. And Google Earth? It's just plain FuN!

    Wrap up...

    So, admittedly this post may have degraded into an iPhone commercial. I'm not trying to convince anyone to switch; I'm just going on record that I am a very satisfied customer, who is thankful for these technologies.

    *The answer is, "yes" -- early adopter. More about the iPad in another post ;-)