Digital Declutter: How to Organize your Phone Apps

Digital Declutter: How to Organize your Phone & Apps

 

Given that the average person spends 5 hours per day on mobile devices, it’s no secret that your iPhone is a very personal device that should be tailored to your unique needs. In my 7 years teaching the iPhone to clients, I’ve discovered that most people never veer far from the original layout of their phone. This is a shame and nearly defeats the purpose of having a smart phone.

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Consider this: When you look at your iPhone, how many apps do you see that you haven’t used in the past four months, or, possibly ever? Do you really want to slog past these apps 50 times a day looking for the app you really want? Of course not!

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Today, I’m sharing the tips I use when working with clients. But first, before we start making decisions about what app goes where, lets review the mechanics of organizing iPhone apps.

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TO MOVE OR DELETE AN APP 

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Start out by lightly resting your finger on the app you wish to move. Once it starts to wiggle you can delete the app by tapping on the tiny x that appears next to it. Alternately, If you wish to rearrange apps, simply drag them to the location you want. Apps will move aside to make room. To stop all that wiggling quickly click the Home Button.

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TO MAKE A FOLDER 

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Move one app on top of the other app you want in the folder. The folder will appear with with a default title. If you want to change the title, tap on it and type in something that works better for you. When you are ready to add more apps to this folder, tap outside the folder to minimize it and then drag each additional app into the folder. One thing to keep in mind is that an app that out of sight is easily forgotten and rarely used. Only put apps you know you will remember the name of, so you can search Spotlight for it, if you forget its location.

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HOW TO SEARCH FOR APPS 

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Spotlight is a search feature that everyone should use more. You access Spotlight by putting your finger in the middle of your home screen and swiping down. Tap on the search bar that appears at the top of the screen and type in what you are looking for. A brief list of things you can find with spotlight are:

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  1. Phone numbers
  2. Map Directions
  3. Apps you can’t remember where you put
  4. Dictionary definitions
  5. That text message your sister sent you three month ago about the Ballet she bought ticket for

The list goes on. As you can see Spotlight is magic.

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Now that we’ve got the basics down, on to the fun stuff! How do you choose which apps go where?

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FIRST SCREEN: FAVORITES & EVERY DAY 

Favorites: First, choose your fave 4. You can choose these by imagining you are stuck on a desert island. Which apps can’t you live without? These will be the apps that hold the place of honor at the bottom of your screen. They will always be where you need them.

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Everyday: Next, which apps do you use almost every day? These apps will go on your first page. You may be tempted to fill this page, but I recommend keeping your selection to no more than 3 rows. Visual clutter has a way of slowing you down and you’ve got better things to do!

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Extras: Third, make a folder and name it “Extra” put all apps you wish you could delete but can’t.

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SECOND SCREEN: NEW APPS TO TRY 

The second screen of my iPhone is where I keep new apps I want to try out. They are easily visible so I don’t forget about them. I advise keeping this screen minimal and delete apps you haven’t used after a week or two. You can always download them again later. Check out our Top Ten Organizing and Productivity Apps for some ideas on new apps to try.

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THIRD SCREEN: LESS FREQUENTLY USED APPS 

The third screen is great for apps less frequently used or easily accessible through Spotlight. This is usually where I keep all my folders. I always stop at three pages since I rarely look past the third page. For most, the fourth page always becomes an app graveyard.

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Now I’m going to tell you a little secret. I don’t even know where my phone (“call”) app is. Its somewhere on the third screen of my iPhone, possibly in a folder. Why don’t I keep it at the bottom of my home screen like most people? Well, when I want to make a call, I almost always use Siri. She is way faster than I am at making calls. I don’t use Siri for everything since I don’t want other people to overhear what I’m doing but I don’t have to be shy about using Siri in situations where I am about to talk on the phone anyways. Other benefits of hiding my phone app, is that it frees up real estate and allows my eyes to do other things. If you ever want to know what Siri can do for you, just ask her. She’s so smart.

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While I’m spilling the beans, I have to add that I don’t know where my camera app is either. If I need to take a picture I simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap on the little camera icon that appears. This is so fast, I no longer miss opportunities while searching for my camera app!

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We spend so much time on our phones nowadays. I hope these tips help make your phone easier to navigate and faster to use. I plan on taking the five minutes I’ve saved from looking at my phone by taking a moment to breath and enjoy the world around me.

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DELETED APPS

A note on deleting apps. This can be very uncomfortable for most people, however I am here to encourage you to take the plunge. Don’t be afraid, be ruthless!  Apps should be deleted if you:

  1. don’t know what it does and never use it
  2. haven’t used it in more than 7 months

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You may be thinking, “what if I need it someday?” Don’t worry, all the apps you have ever downloaded live in the “Purchased” section of your App Store App. Even the apps that were free will be there when you need them. Until then, give your phone some breathing room. It will thank you.

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