If you’re an organizational junkie and an iPhone user, iOS 14 has given you a new tool: the App Library, which organizes your apps into tagged groups to make them easier to find. In fact, all your current apps can be found there, and any apps you download in the future will also be there. (You can decide if you want the apps to be visible on your home screen as well. We’ll tell you how later in this article.)
This new feature can be very useful, especially if you tend to download many apps.
The app library is displayed as a separate page on your home screen. After updating to iOS 14, just swipe left; The app library will be the last page you met.
It automatically organizes your apps into folders that are tagged with different categories. For example, just after updating to the new operating system, my Recently Added, Tools, Productivity & Finance, Social, Creativity, Information & Reading, Games, Entertainment, Health & Fitness and Travel included. Each folder is divided into four quadrants; each quadrant displays an icon representing an app. If a folder contains more than four apps, the remaining icons are shrunk and grouped into a single quadrant.
You can open an app directly from its icon in the app library. If the app is part of a group of smaller icons (and therefore too small to tap), tap anywhere in that quadrant and the entire category fills your screen so you can select the app you want.
Long press on any app in the App Library, and a pop-up menu allows you to delete it, use one of its features, or – if it doesn’t already exist – copy the icon to your home screen. (This does not remove it from the app library).
If you do not find an app, select the search field at the top. you get an alphabetical list of your apps. You can either enter the name of the app you want or scroll down to find it.
However, you may not decide where in the App Library the new app should be displayed. For example, I installed an app called NYC 311, which offers alerts and info for the city. It landed in the “Recently Added” folder and as far as I could tell it was. I have to assume that when it is no longer considered new, it will automatically go to another category. I could not create my own category or move the app to another existing category.
Move apps to the app library
If you want to clear the home screen, you can “delete” icons so that they are only visible in the app library. For a single app:
- Long press on the app you want to add on the home screen.
- Press “Delete app.”
- Tap “Move to the app library.”
You can also get rid of a lot of home screen apps at once by long tapping an empty area on your home screen. Tap the “minus” icon in the corner of each app you want to delete the home screen and select “Move to the app library.”
To keep your home screen clean, you can arrange for newly installed apps to appear only in the App Library.
- Go to Settings> Home screen
- Select either “Add to Home Screen” or “App Library Only.” You can also choose to display message tags in the App Library.
As mentioned, the App Library is an interesting addition to the iOS arsenal, which enables increased organization of apps and a cleaner, less crowded home screen. But its lack of personalization is at least for me a significant limitation – unlike the Android equivalent, it does not allow you to create your own groups or decide which app to go in which group. Fortunately, Apple will improve the feature in the coming months.