How to use App Library on your iPhone and iPad


Ios 14 Hero App LibrarySource: Rene Ritchie / iMore

The App Library was only introduced to the iPhone in iOS 14, but it’s become one of the most important parts of the iPhone Home Screen. If you don’t know, the App Library is a way to organize your apps that allows you to get away from the ever-expanding pages of apps that you may have had before.

Your applications are collected into automatically-generated categories and are easily accessible from there. You can even turn on a setting that will keep newly-downloaded apps from appearing on your Home screen and just appearing in the library instead, thus keeping the Home Screen on your best iPhone from getting too cluttered. Here’s how to use the App Library on iPhone and iPad.

Finding App Library

The App Library is very easy to find. Just swipe to the left to move to your last page of apps or widgets, then swipe one more time.

You’ll see the App Library immediately, full of pre-populated categories like Productivity or Games. There is also a category full of your most recent downloads and a set of suggested apps, with suggestions powered by on-device machine learning.

Once you’re in the App Library, you can launch apps directly from their categories or even expand the types to see all of the apps.

How to add an app to the App Library

While technically, all of your apps are in the App Library already, if you want an app to only appear in the Library rather than your Home Screen, here’s how you do that.

  1. Hold your finger on an app for one second to bring up the context menu.
  2. Tap Remove App on the context menu.
  3. Tap Add to Library.

    Adding an app to App Library showing the steps to hold on an app and then tap remove app and then tap add to library

    Source: iMore

How to set app downloads to only appear in the App Library

In iOS 15, if you don’t want downloaded apps to appear on your Home Screen, you can switch on an option in Settings to ensure they only appear in the App Library.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Home Screens.

    Setting app downloads to only appear on your Home screen showing the steps to open the Settings app and then tap Home Screens

    Source: iMore

  3. Tap App Library only to keep new apps off your Home screen.
  4. Tap the Show in App Library switch on or off to control whether or not notification badges show up in the App Library.

    Setting app downloads to only appear on your Home screen showing the steps to tap App Library Only and then tao Show in App Library if you want notification badges to appear in the App Library

    Source: iMore

How to open apps from categories in App Library

When you want to open an app from the App Library, you might have a couple of questions about doing that. If you head over to the library and tap on one of the smaller icons you see, that app will launch. But what if you want to dig through a category?

  1. Swipe to the App Library.
  2. Tap one of the larger icons on an app category if it’s the app you want to open.

    Opening apps from categories in the App Library showing the steps to swipe to the App Library and then tap a large icon to open it directly

    Source: iMore

  3. Tap the smaller icons to open the category.
  4. Find and tap on the app you want to open.

    Opening apps from categories in the App Library showing the steps to tap a grouping of small app icons to access the app group category

    Source: iMore

If you don’t want to dig through categories, you can always search in the App Library.

  1. Swipe to the App Library.
  2. Tap the Search Bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Type the name of the app you want to use.

    Searching in the App Library showing the steps to swipe to the App Library then tap the Search bar and then type in the name of the app you want to search for

    Source: iMore

How to find the alphabetical app list in App Library

You can also navigate the App Library in an alphabetical list.

  1. Swipe to the App Library.
  2. Swipe down on the App Library.
  3. Tap the app you’re looking for on the list. Your apps are in alphabetical order, so whatever you’re looking for should be easy to find.

    Showing apps alphabetically in the App Library showing the steps to swipe to the App Library then swipe down and then tap the app you want to open

    Source: iMore

How to hide a Home screen page

In combination with the App Library and Home Screen widgets, you can customize a Home page and hide it until you want to use it. For example, you can customize a Home Screen page with only apps you use for work and then hide it in the evenings and on weekends, so you’re not distracted by work while relaxing.

  1. Hold your finger on a blank spot on any Home Screen page to trigger jiggle mode.
  2. Tap the series of dots at the bottom of the Home Screen page. These dots represent the number of Home Screen pages you have.
  3. Untick the Home Screen page you want to hide.

    Edit Home Screen Pages showing the steps to trigger jiggle mode by holding a spot on the Home screen for one second, then tapping the series of dots at the bottom of the screen and then uncheck the Home screen page you want to hide

    Source: iMore

When you hide a Home screen page, it will no longer appear on your Home screen. You can create and customize any number of Home screen pages to fit your lifestyle and then hide them out of the way until you need them. All apps are still on your iPhone and accessible from your App Library.

How to unhide a Home screen page

Hiding a Home Screen page doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. You can get it back any time and even have a variety of Home screen pages for different occasions.

  1. Hold your finger on a blank spot on any Home Screen page to trigger jiggle mode.
  2. Tap the series of dots at the bottom of the Home Screen page.
  3. Tick the Home Screen page you want to unhide.

    Edit Home Screen Pages showing the steps to trigger jiggle mode by holding a spot on the Home screen for one second, then tapping the series of dots at the bottom of the screen and then check the Home screen page you want to unhide

    Source: iMore

App Library on iPad

iPadOS 15 introduced the App Library to the iPad, meaning you can get all the same goodies and benefits that the iPhone App library brings to the table. The good news is the App Library functionality in PadOS 15 is identical to the iPhone, meaning all the steps listed above.

What’s cool about iPadOS is that the App Library is on your iPad Dock, meaning you don’t have to search for it as you do on iOS. Instead, you can open it by tapping on the App Library icon in the right-hand corner of your Dock.

Updated June 2022: Updated for the most recent version of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.





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