I look at the home screen on my iPhone roughly 100 times per day. Right now, it’s not as organized as I would like, a result of downloading a ton of new apps for an upcoming Best Apps feature. Every so often, I’ll do a purge that starts with restoring my iPhone as new. I enjoy the fresh start and find it to be a quick fix to what is often a bigger problem. When I start with a factory restored iPhone, the reorganization of the home screen is at the top of my to-do list. It’s one of the easiest things a person can do to personalize their iPhone. It’s also one of the first things I look at when I see a friend or family member using their iPhone. It’s like peeking into someone’s refrigerator. Are the water bottles perfectly aligned with labels facing outword? Is there take-out from 3 weeks ago? What’s your home screen look like and what does it say about you?

iPhone home screen organization

Control Freak

Everything must be in order. Every app, categorized to perfection. To this person, the introduction of folders in iOS was a godsend. This user will create a home screen of folders for each category, as if they are recreating the organization of the App Store. Social will include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest among others. Chances are this person will organize folders in order of use, a scaling priority structure that only makes sense to them. When downloading a new app, it immediately gets filed so that all is right in the universe. These folks don’t want to know about a page 2. Everything must be on page one, neatly categorized. If there is any spillover, one app must pay the ultimate cost.

anal retentive



Why mess with perfection? To recreate the perfect iPhone experience, the icons must remain in their chosen position. It’s as if this user were stuck in 2007 during the pre-App Store days.


If you are a ‘stock’ organizer, you wouldn’t dare move a single icon on the home screen. Your method of organization starts and ends with ‘how does Apple do it’? There are ‘stock’ users who never download an app or know how to move an icon and there are the closet stock users. They keep the first home screen devoted to how Apple intended to the iPhone, leaving other screens to populate with third party apps. I count myself among this group. Would it be more effective to keep my most used apps on the first home screen? Definitely, but I’d develop a nervous twitch if my iPhone home screen was not stock.

The Minimalist

You subscribe the to Jony Ive school of minimalism. Even a single icon is too many. To do so, you send all of your home screen icons packing, leaving the sparce look of nothing but your dock. Nothing will disrupt what is likely a matching minimalist wallpaper. Having been a card-carrying member of this group, you can go one step further, creating a single center-aligned folder with critical apps only. Sure it takes multiple taps to access apps, but functionality be damned, nothing will prevent this user in their quest for minimalism.


The Swiper

Have you ever swiped between screens and accidentally opened an app? Neither have I, but that hasn’t stopped this group which I affectionately call ‘Swipers’. They have removed all apps from the bottom row, effectively creating ‘The Swipe Zone’. It sounds like a bad action movie, but in practice it’s supposed to provide peace of mind to any user concerned about inadvertently opening an app when swiping.


The upside of this method of organizing apps is that it naturally reduces clutter on your iPhone. I’m a bit embarrassed at my adoption of the swipe zone. I’ve since moved on to being a stock/minimalist.

The Hoarder

Hello Mister or Mrs. 64GB iPhone owner. You subscribe the mantra, “No app shall be left behind!” Every app since your first download must be on your iPhone. After all, who knows if you’ll ever need those ten free fart apps you downloaded in 2008. Having this many apps installed, coupled with a steady stream of new apps, there is little that can be done to organize apps. This type of user lives for spotlight, for it is the only way to locate apps. It’s heavy price to pay for having multiple flashlight apps, but someone has to take in all those wayward apps.


The iPhone is an extremely personal device. There are so many ways to customize your experience and it often that starts with the organization of your apps. While I’ve had some fun highlighting some of the different layouts, there is no right way and I’d encourage readers to try different ways to organize their home screens. Ultimately, it’s up to you to create a home screen that works for you.

So are you a hoarder, swiper or something else? How do you organize your home screen?