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Take Control of Your Home Screen

Is your phone’s home screen jampacked with pages of apps in random order — including some apps you never use? Sure, you can always find the program you need with search or the voice assistant or by browsing the app drawer. But app access can be quicker if you have your icons appropriately arranged and take advantage of shortcut menus and widgets. Here’s a guide to streamlining your home screen.

Take Inventory

First, audit your collection. While tidying up, you can also reclaim storage space.

On many recent Android phones, including models by Google and Samsung, you can see all your apps listed alphabetically by swiping up from the bottom of the screen to open the app drawer. (Depending on the Android version and carrier, you may have an apps button instead, and icons for installed apps may not automatically appear on the home screen.)

The Android app drawer, far left, and the iOS App Library screen shows a complete list of apps installed on your phone. Credit…Google; Apple In iOS 14 and later, apps are automatically sorted by category in the App Library. You can see by repeatedly swiping to the left until you get to the last screen. Tap the search field at the top to see the complete list of installed apps.

If you want to see how much storage space apps are taking up, check the Android settings for the App Info page, far left, or the iPhone Storage section of the general iOS settings. Credit…Google; Apple In fact, if you want to keep a minimalist home screen, you can opt to have newly downloaded apps appear only in the App Library and not on the home screen; just open the Settings icon, select Home Screen and choose your preference.

Delete Dusty Apps

Now that you’ve taken stock, it’s time to dump the apps you never use. The steps for Android users depend on system software but try pressing down and dragging an app to the Uninstall icon at the top of the screen. To delete a bunch of apps at once, open the Google Play app, tap your profile icon in the top-right corner and choose “Manage apps & device.” On the next screen, tap the Manage tab, select the apps you want to delete, and tap the trash-can icon at the top of the screen.

You can also long-press an icon until a menu appears, select App Info and then tap Uninstall on the app’s information page. In iOS 14, long-press an app icon to open a menu with the delete option. To whack multiple apps at once, long-press an empty area of the home screen until the heroes begin to wiggle. Then tap the “-” on the corner of each unwanted app and confirm your decision.

To edit entire home-screen pages of apps (including hiding or revealing pages), long-press an empty area of the screen until the wiggling starts and taps the row of dots at the bottom to open the Edit Pages screen.

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