How Guardian readers arrange the icons on the smartphones

n Friday, I shared the things i believe to be the right way to sort the icons on your own smartphone: a slow-and-steady system for shifting them throughout the screen, and across multiple pages, every time you tap during one to begin it. Eventually, you end up with an approximate frequency sort, adjusted for whether or not you open a certain app more from notifications or widgets than from tapping it for the desltop.

People disagreed with my method. This is certainly fine. They can be wrong. But also in the interests of fairness, here are several of the finest alternative suggestions from readers.


The strongest criticism is actually a purpose of phones being too large right now: by putting my fifth to eighth most used apps C those four which are not quite used frequently enough making it on the phone’s dock C at the summit on the screen, I’ve rendered it tough to get to the very icons I touch in most cases.

It’s an authorized problem, one which is essentially set in stone by Apple. The priority order for iPhone apps stays to right, directory C as seen via the behaviour when dragging an icon around C as well as it strict my system back.

For individuals who exercise an increasingly free-form icon approach, though, the layouts used by Sam Bowman and Tom Phillips are solid. I still maintain that needing to manually place icons leaves you having to make choices you won’t have to make, and risks ossifying your app usage, though.


Arguably, your second best practice to arrange your apps is actually colour. It’s aesthetically the very best certainly, so you have a neat, minimalist and pretty home screen, just about all works surprisingly well over a functional level, due to how visually most people’s memory works.

For apps I rarely use, it may be quicker to keep in mind the hue of the icon than to consider the particular name with the app (cam scanner? camera scan?), and it’s also certainly better to sort every one of your apps into eight to 12 colours than it really is to sort these into eight to 12 categories.

The disadvantage in colours is when you have got various apps, you could finally end up just pushing the trouble of organisation down a tier C having six pages of orange icons within your orange folder isn’t ideal C and in some cases app icons change colour, which absolutely wrecks your muscles memory.

Siri and spotlight

Who needs icons at all? Sure, first page of your house screen is out there, however, when you start out swiping, you’ve buried. As of late, iOS has spotlight C looking tool permanently available by pulling down when about the desltop C so why not allow it carry out labor for you personally?

I like the idea, plus in practice it’s regularly earn money handle the bigger wide variety of apps around my “zero” folder, of icons I’ve never made directly.

But many people of remembering a name of some rare apps, additionally, the occasionally significant amount of letters I want to type to open up specific apps (try picking out the correct sequel to text adventure game Sorcery! through spotlight, when its sequels are called Sorcery! 2, Sorcery! 3, and Sorcery! 4, to find out enjoy), meant I found it too frustrating to rely upon long run.

Named folders

I’m sorry, I can not condone this. Loads of many families love the thought of ending it their apps into convenient folders like “utilities”, “games” and “maps”, then putting them on the homescreen, occasionally randomly interspersed by incorporating apps which have been too frequently-used to be shoved in a very folder. That is bad.

There isn’t a categorisation scheme that may provide you with folders sufficiently little for being usable, no ambiguities by which app goes where and enough simplicity during the application never to become a fairly high cognitive load any time you rearrange apps.

Even I chose to make this mistake once.

Never again.


Finally, they it different over on Android. A number of the distinctions are minor enough. For instance, some Android users put into effect having no home screen icons at all and exclusively using the app drawer for launching everything. To be able to do that on iOS you may just place all your apps in just one folder. It’d be quite as weird in the room.

Others make use of the incontrovertible fact that Android apps aren’t left-aligned to more precisely sculpt the white space for their home screen, because of aesthetic or usability reasons. That’s good, but doesn’t solve the actual question of ways deciding precisely what does continue the property screen, and what order it’s there.

A bigger distinction is found in individuals that go all in around the widget ecosystem of Android, picking dynamic icons or putting information within the app for the home screen. That’s a thing that iOS still hives off from the app launcher, this is getting harder to justify: given that most apps to the platform have widgets, why not allowed them to be placed on the house screen?

Naturally I still think I’m right and everybody who disagreed with me at night is wrong, but hopefully these alternatives may very well be people too.

  • Life hack: the best way to arrange your iPhone apps, one icon at the time

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