How to Arrange iPhone Icons in iTunes

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How to arrange iPhone icons with iTunes

If you have a lot of apps on your iPhone, it can be difficult to arrange the home screen icons on your device. This article will show you how to use iTunes on your computer to easily arrange home screen icons on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

UPDATE: Apple removed this functionality from iTunes for macOS and Windows. If you are using an older version of iTunes (pre 12.7), the instructions in this article will still “just work”.

Why Not Arrange Icons on the iPhone?

The iPhone has the capability to arrange icons on the home screen. Simply hold a finger down on an icon until all of the icons start to wiggle. Next, drag icons into place or on top of each other to create a new folder. You can delete apps by pressing the “x” on the top left corner of the icon. When you’re done, tap the home button and your iPhone will exit edit mode.

If you’ve tried doing this, you’ll know that it’s not always easy. When you move one icon into place, another may slide somewhere else, often to an undesired location. Then you have to move it back, which can cause another one to move. It can also be difficult to move icons between different home screens. Fortunately, you can use iTunes on your Mac or PC to arrange icons on the home screens.

Using iTunes to Arrange Home Screen Icons

This article assumes that you have downloaded and installed iTunes on your Mac or PC. iOS devices no longer require iTunes to function, but the software is a great accompaniment to any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. In addition to managing your device, iTunes can also backup your device and move documents onto your computer. It’s also a great place to store iTunes music, movies and TV shows so they don’t take up space on your iOS device. You can even import music or video into iTunes and sync it onto your device. This article also assumes that you have set up WiFi sync or have connected your device to iTunes with a dock-to-USB cable.

First, launch iTunes and wait for the application to find your iOS devices. If you are using WiFi sync, this should happen automatically. Otherwise, you will need to connect your device to your computer using a dock-to-USB cable. Next, click on the “Devices” button on the top right of the screen, in the toolbar.

Click devices then click iPhoneClick on the device you would like to manage. The summary screen for your iPhone will appear. From the summary screen, click on the “Apps” tab in the top toolbar.

click on the apps tab

iTunes will sync with your iOS device and display every app that is installed on the left. On the right, you will see the home screens and folders. With this user interface, it’s possible to arrange icons on the home screens, create folders and rename folders. You can increase the size of the home screens displayed by sliding the control located just above the “Home Screens” label. This may make it easier to view what you have installed on your iPhone. This gives you a bird’s-eye view of your apps, making it easier to arrange them. (continue…)

iTunes screen for arranging iPhone home screens

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17 comments

  1. Please update the article, as I wasted 10 minutes talking to the Apple support people, only to be told the same answer as Claire as mentioned years ago. Your post is at the top of Google search. Great job!

  2. Updating an article like this is a low priority, since the comments (which are part of the article) contain the updated information. Also, this article gets very little traffic these days. It never really got many views at all. Nonetheless, I will post an update message at the top of this page, for the 2 people who will read it this year.

    This article is still relevant for people who aren’t using the latest version of macOS, Windows or iTunes. It may actually help someone. Apple removed this functionality 15 months ago. There are a lot of people who still use a version of iTunes which supports arranging iOS home screens.

    This ranks at the top of SERPs because practically no one else wrote about it. The few who did (iPhone Life, for example) don’t mention that this is no longer supported. They don’t even have a comment about it not being supported. Most tech sites are focused on writing click bait, so they wouldn’t even bother with something like this. Maybe I should follow suit?

    If you took a minute to read the comments, you could have saved that 10 minute call with Apple.

    I have a similar experience, setting up a Windows 10 PC for my mom. Every article is out of date and incorrect because Windows 10 is a moving target. iTunes is the same thing. I don’t blame the writers. The last thing I would do is to call tech support. I’d just do more research. Google isn’t a magic genie. It requires a little effort sometimes.

    I have a finite amount of time to write and edit content. I prioritize work based on the greatest good for the greatest number. Today, I had to oil the squeaky wheel…

    1. Thank you for posting the update, I was trying to do this and couldn’t figure out what I was missing so I appreciate the notice that after 12.7 this function was removed. I’m super bummed but glad I didn’t waste more time trying to figure it out…

  3. Why would anyone blame the author of this great article when Apple removed the option that made it possible? It’s Apple that is to blame. Period. Why they did it is another question, but the author of this article did a GREAT job. It’s very unfortunate, thanks to Apple, we can no longer use this feature.

    1. Thank you for the update. I’m the third person who read it! I totally get it, time wise, people don’t read much any more. Too much time is needed to text!!! 🙂 Of course, I’m an engineer (electrical), a full time ballet dad (with a 13 yr son), a husband, ballet guild board president, community volunteer, and more! Anyway, when I just discovered this feature is gone in iTunes, yes I know iTunes is EoL (End-of-Life) or being morphed into three new apps, which is great as I always found certain things in the software too confusing over it’s own evolution it’s amazing it didn’t change long ago. It would be nice to have a simple Mac software tool to manipulate screens in the iPhone as I’m the tech support guy in our family too! It’s hard nowadays to mess with the screens on the device and an easier to use remote would be GREAT!!!

      So if you know of a Mac tool to manipulate iPhone screens please share it!

      Thank you for you time!

    2. Wasted time reading this only to learn no longer applies to Itunes since 2017!!
      Please put a warning at the top of the article not to waste time of others. Thank you

  4. I’ve read it oo, so now it’s 4 people – very frustrating that Apple removed this wonderful feature. I wonder why they made such a huge and grievous mistake.

  5. I found this article really helpful because although I remembered iTunes being shutdown, I have a vintage MacBook that still works with iTunes. I tried it there and it worked.

    So thanks to the author for keeping the article just as is and being patient with the commenters. No changes needed.

  6. I also read this, and saved time by not trying to connect my iphone to iTunes. It’s now 2020, you’d think there’d be a solution to this by now.

  7. Thanks for posting the update to this article. You clearly mention that this functionality is no longer supported. Great that you provide it for legacy users. After all, not everyone buys a new computer or iPhone every year.

  8. Thanks for your article. I knew I used to rearrange apps this way so just thought I was doing something dumb. I feel better now. Apple does some crazy things like this… their tv remote is at the top of my list!

    1. The update at the top is very helpful. Apple has made a dumb by removing functionality of using itunes to arrange app icons on the iphone.

  9. Thank you for the update that Apple was stupid enough to use functionality that made life so much easier when you have a few hundred apps. Why have phones with huge storage, just to make life so difficult for users. Only the idiot who made this decision at Apple will know. It boggles my mind to take something away that works and let your customers suffer. Arranging apps, sorting into folders, alphabetizing in those folders is all a nightmare now. Makes me have nothing but negative feelings about the company now.

    1. I completely understand. I switched to Android, but still use iOS, solely so I can write articles for this site. In iOS, I now use Spotlight to launch apps. I swipe down from the Home screen and type in the first few letters of the app I want to launch. Of course, each app needs to be enabled in Spotlight, so it shows up. Everytime I download a new app, I need to add it to Spotlight search.

      I live in the SF Bay Area. The best and brightest don’t work at Apple. The company can no longer offer obscene wealth. In fact, a software engineer at Apple may have difficulty purchasing a home in Cupertino. If you’re smart, you go to a startup. If you’re mediocre, you work at Apple. That’s one major reason for its declining product quality.

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