February 27, 2014 at 1:05 p.m. PST
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 iTunes’ ability to manage Home Screen icons. It’s still possible to install an older version of iTunes to do this. Keep in mind that using an older version of iTunes has its disadvantages.
Despite Apple’s change, many people own older Macs or Windows computers incapable of running the latest version of iTunes. This article proves helpful to those who still run older versions of iTunes — a surprisingly large audience.
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.
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.
To arrange icons, first double-click on a home screen or folder. The selected home screen or folder will zoom into view.
If your apps are showing a generic app icon, simply wait for iTunes to finish syncing with your iOS device. Now you can drag your app icons to arrange them. Icons can also be dragged and dropped onto other home screens and folders. When you are done with a home screen or folder, click on a blank area of the iTunes window and it will shrink back into place.
In addition to arranging icons on the screens, you can also drag apps from the left panel onto any of the home screens or windows. You can search for apps in the left panel, making it easier to find and place apps. It’s possible to sort apps by name, kind, category, date and size. You can also use the left panel to remove apps from your device. You will still own the app. It will just be removed from the device when you sync and apply changes. It’s a great way to free up space on your iPhone.
Notice the “+” button on the right side of every home screen and folder panel. This will allow you to add a new home screen or folder page. You can rename a folder by double clicking it and then editing the name in the field at the top.
Remember to click the “Apply” button at the bottom of iTunes to sync the changes to your iOS device. You can also click the “Revert” button if you wish to cancel these changes. Clicking “Done” on the top right will also ask you if you want to apply the changes or not.
It may seem like this is not much better than arranging icons on the device itself, but there are a few advantages. It is much easier to move an icon to another page or folder using this method. You still have to deal with icons sliding around as you arrange them. However, you can create a whole new home screen and add apps to it in the order you desire. This is easily done by dragging apps from the left panel. You can also rearrange the order of home screens and folder pages. That can’t be done on your iPhone.
If you are one of the few who own an iOS device and don’t use iTunes, this feature is a great reason to use iTunes. You may have iTunes but never realized this capability is available. The iPhone can operate without iTunes, but the software is a useful tool for managing your device. You can manage many more aspects of your iOS device with iTunes, as well as create backups and move documents and media files. You can even create your own custom iPhone ring tone from any song. Follow Appledystopia for more tips on how to use iTunes with your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.