Creative ways to Organize the Apps on your Phone


Inside: Simple ways to organize your phone with creative home screen layouts and folders; plus tips for decluttering your digital files

We basically live on our phones these days, don’t we? As much as I hate to admit it, mobile devices are like our third arms and for many, our phones are our gateway to the rest of the world and to work. Once I went full time with a digital based business, I had to get real about finding apps to organize my life and then figure out realistic ways to keep my apps and files truly organized. Having an organized home screen can be a huge time saver if you’re looking for something specific or if you’re in a time crunch.

organize apps on your phone

Clear out the Clutter

Some apps are only useful for a time; like for instance the app I downloaded to help me monitor my contractions when I went into labor. Literally only useful for like 12 hours of my life LOL

Before you go and create folders and pretty emoji labels and all that, make sure you are doing due diligence on your phone and being real about what you actually need to have on there.  This was my screen before I started – oh my word. There was no reason or rhyme to anything on the screen. 

Ways to Organize Your Phone with Creative Home Screens

I love getting creative with desktop wall papers and home screens – it’s kind of my jam. I have been using a customized digital desktop organizer on my laptop for years! But finding something that works on a mobile device is a little trickier. Here are some of the ways I’ve found to be useful for organizing apps.

Group Apps Based on Icon Colour

The colour lover in me adores this approach to digital file management, but I have to admit, it’s not the most functional. Many times the apps will update and change the icon and then your colour scheme goes right out the window.

It also means that some rarely used apps will take up key real estate on your screen, which also isn’t the most functional or effective.

Group Apps Based on Themes

This is a FABULOUS way to organize your phone! Create folders for each of your main themes, for example Money, Photo Editing, Social Media, Notes & Lists, Games etc. And then add all related apps into those folders.

This will drastically reduce the clutter on your screen. Another hack you can use on top of this one is to add the most frequently used folder right into your home screen dock so it’s always just one-click away. 

How to Make a Folder on an iPhone

I’m ashamed to admit this took me a VERY long time to learn and I don’t know why. It’s the easiest solution ever *face palm*. To make a folder, all you have to do is literally hold down an app icon until they start to do that dancing thing and drag one app over another. Voila! You now have a folder and you can add a bunch of other apps to it if you want.

Label Your App Folders

I’m a BIG fan of labeling and using a labeling system. For example, on my blog, every time I write a post, it gets its own folder that is titled with the post name. It will live on my desktop for one month. This way, it’s easily accessible from my iCloud account and I can share recent photos to social media quickly. At the end of every month, I will move all those blog folders into a folder labeled with the month and year and then I back it up to my external hard drive for extra safe keeping.

On your phone, you can use the same method! Plus, I love the idea of using emojis to label all your themed folders. How fun is that? 

Consider how you hold your phone

This is a strange way to think about organizing your phone, but if you’re more likely to be using it one-handed, you’ll want to have your most frequently used apps within striking distance of your dominant thumb.

There is a school of thought that your absolute most frequently used apps should live in the four corners of your screen. The middle of the top and bottom rows of apps should be your second most used apps, with the least used apps living in the middle of your screen. This is all based around how your fingers actually grab the phone and reach for the various icons.

If you want to get REALLY fancy, here are a couple of ways you can create custom app icons and home screen layouts. 

Create a Wall Paper that Increases Home Screen Organization

This hack is incredible and it can also look super cool. I have done it here for my desktop and use this method of colour blocking to keep my files visually organized. 

You can log into a graphics editor like Canva and create a file that fits your phone’s home screen dimensions exactly and create ‘blocks’ for your various home screen elements. A good way to do it is with stripes that distinguish between each row of apps.

If you did alternating horizontal black and white stripes for eg. the top white stripe could be daily apps, then the next black stripe could be photo apps, white stripe news and weather and so on.

This is a very personal approach to organizing digital files, but if you find a home screen layout that works for you, it can be a long term solution for sure.

Back up your data frequently

No matter how organized you are, you’ll always want to build redundancy into your system. This might mean having everything added to a Cloud either on iCloud, Dropbox or in Google Drive. It can also mean using a third-party back up system like Backblaze which has a monthly fee, but will secure everything you have digitally behind a firewall in case of a catastrophic failure (or a drop in the ocean or the toilet or something like that).

Recommended Reading

I also watched this video and it was SUPER helpful in more ways than one

Still need more organizing and decluttering tips? Check out these posts below

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more details. 

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