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Is Your iPhone a Tool or an Anchor?

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

If you’ve been an iPhone user since the early days, you probably suffer from some old, bad OS habits. I hear you...“That’s crazy talk, Don! I’m a power-user and keep up with all the latest features.” Then, riddle me this Batman. Do you use the App Library to manage and access your apps, or do you have 5 or more screens filled with apps, and quite possibly, folders full of apps that are arranged by function?

What am I babbling about?

Quick back story. I was an Android user in the early days of cell phones. Specifically, I was a Motorola guy. I still have my last Motorola phone, which had a keyboard that slid out for typing. I’ll probably get enough for it on eBay someday to buy a cup of coffee.

I made the switch to iPhone around the time the iPhone 4 came out. Main reason? I was traveling heavily, and quite frequently to China. Over a five-year period, I spent nearly 3 in-country. But I digress. The reason for the switch was to tap into FaceTime. It was a way for my wife and I to see each other during the long trips. Another benefit was to get access to the iPhone feature that allowed the user to arrange the app icons in groups (folders). It was a native feature to iPhone but required an app in Android to do the same. Fast-forward 10 models and this is a bad habit!

How do I shed my bad habit?

I am so glad you asked! In September of 2020, Apple released iOS 14. One of the more notable features was the App Library. But, if you are like me, you resisted. After all, there is a snowball's chance in hell that Apple knows better than I how to arrange the more than 300 apps I have on my phone. I resisted for so long, I missed out on the true joy of this feature for more than two years.

Then I had the lightbulb moment. What? How? Again, I’m glad you asked. I installed the NOCELL® app on my personal device (did I mention I run a whole bunch of test phones every day...everywhere?), and after the first time it cycled in and out of policy, I noticed all my apps were rearranged. What the heck?! I was having none of that. So, after spending an hour or so putting everything back just the way I liked it, I went for another test drive. Enter Einstein’s definition of insanity. Yep! Everything was rearranged again. Oh, and the groups were eliminated as well. Double oh-crap!

Get to the point. What’s the lesson?

After some serious introspection and a back-of-the-napkin calculation of how many hours of lost productivity I would suffer by rearranging and grouping my apps after every trip, I figured it was time to make a change. Call it an epiphany or sheer dumb’s choice. That change turned out to be life changing.

So, what’s the secret?

No secret, just an hour or so of your time invested in making your life simpler, and much more productive. It’s as simple as that. Decide what apps you use every day. Read that last sentence again. After you’ve made your list, look at it again and decide which ones you really use. Your goal is to trim it down to apps that will fit on a single screen. That is 24 apps or less (phone size dependent), not counting the four anchored at the bottom of your screen. Don’t forget, your goal is less, not more!

With list in hand, begin the task of removing the apps you don’t absolutely need on your one and only screen. This is done by following these steps:

1) Long press (hold) the app you want to remove

2) Tap [Remove App]

3) Tap [Remove from Home Screen]

4) Lather, rinse, and repeat until all the apps you don’t want on the Home

Screen have been removed.

a) Feel free to tap [Delete] in step 3 for apps you don’t want to keep

after all.

How do I access all the apps I removed from my Home Screen?

Believe it or not, you have more ways than you may know. Here they are:

1) Long press the side button (right side of phone) and say, “Hey Siri, open app


2) Swipe left to access the last page, where the App Library resides

a) Tap on the group containing the app you want to use

i) They are grouped into categories (Business, Shopping, Food &

Drinks, etc.)

ii) The 3 large icons in a category are opened directly by tapping

on them, the others are accessed by tapping on the cluster in the lower right-hand corner of the category

(1) This will give you a full, exploded view of all the apps in

the category.

3) Tap in the search box at the top of the screen (Showing a magnifying glass

and [App Library])

a) Use 1 of the 3 following methods:

i) Type name of app you want

(1) The list starts to auto-trim as you type

ii) Scroll to find the app you want

iii) Tap on the letter on the right-hand side that represents the first letter of the name of the app

(1) Scroll to find the app you want

Now what? Kick back, relax, and enjoy...knowing your apps are safe and sound and easy to find, and your iPhone is now a tool that contributes to your efficiency, rather than an anchor dragging you down.

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