A is for Apps: How to organize them

photo credit: Extension agent training via photopin (license)

Color coding? Verbs? A to Z? Plus, when to delete an app all together

By Eli Pacheco

My kids seem to have all the apps.

AMe? I’m an efficiency of applications. The kids just don’t understand. Dad needs his WordPress, Google Maps, maybe Plenty of Fish, Messenger, Wunderlist …

Woah, Plenty of Fish? Isn’t that a fishing report app?

The apps don’t matter as much as where you put them. Ever swiped through screens and folders to find your alarm clock? Only to fall asleep before you could set it, and woke up late for work in the morning? Yeah, me either.

How to organize apps, if you have more than a 40-something dad on a $20 Android?

“Wait,” my friend Beki said on Facebook, “they’re supposed to be organized?!”

Check out these three ways to legitimizing your smartphone home screen.

1. Color Coded

Nutritionists tell us we should eat the rainbow. Perhaps we should consider pressing and dragging the rainbow, too. You could create a green folder, and stick in WhatsApp, Evernote, and FaceTime.

Blue’s the color choice for tons of apps, such as Facebook, Dropbox, and Twitter.

Set up a red folder, you users of Kardashian, Tinder, and FIFA 15. Slide SnapChat in your yellow folder, Blogger in your orange. Stick Amplify and Instagram in your brown folder. You get the picture.

Just one problem …

multi-colored app icons. SwipeList literally has the rainbow in it. It’s time to decide, boss.

From the web …

My first screen has all the stuff I use every day. Everything else is just in order by when it was downloaded. Plus one folder for all the “crap I can’t delete.”Roxanne P., Facebook

2. The Alphabet

Remember the proverb, “when in doubt, alphabetize”? What? It could be one.

An iPhone will organize them this way for you. Here’s how:

  • Open the settings app
  • Select general
  • Scroll … tap reset
  • Tap Reset Home Screen Layout

What happens? Preloaded apps snap to their home positions. Everything else goes A to Z.

Just one problem …

Have an Android? Select menu, menu, then a-z sort. (This doesn’t work on all Android devices, however.) Have a Windows Phone? If you’ve activated alphabetical sorting, you can’t inactivate it without resetting your phone.

This section covers alphabetizing apps; we’ll assume you bought your Windows phone primarily for this purpose. You did, right?

From the web …

It’s total chaos on my phone. I can only ever find my messaging app. – Lacey E., Facebook

3. Hand position

Lefty? Righty? Thumb-swiper or index-finger tapper?

You position your coffee cup and stress ball relative to need at your work station, right? Arrange your apps ergonomically, too. Anchor your go-to apps at the closest spot to your digit of choice.

Fall into the right-handed thumb-swiper camp? You might plop Piano Tiles 2 and The Weather Channel in the lower right spot.

Lefty thumb-swipers ought to have Temple Run and Shazam right there on the other lower corner.

For index-finger tappers of either persuasion, it won’t matter. You’ll tap the wrong app icon, anyway.

Just one problem …

Ambidextrous users might find the apps of choice all the way over there this time. If you’re ambidextrous, though, you’re a champ in life compared to the rest of us, anyway.

From the web …

I give my phone to my tween and say, ‘fix it.’ Kerri A., Facebook

What’s the last app you deleted from your phone, and why?

Here’s advice from the Facebook crowd:

Draw Something. My friends and I tried to bring it back, but none of our buddies were on board. Lol. We tried! It’s no fun playing with strangers. – Nina B.

Sadly, I have a 128GB phone, so I pretty much never delete anything (although I should.) – Josh M.

Tried to delete the one that makes the phone actually ring, but it didn’t work. – Laura M.


11 thoughts on “A is for Apps: How to organize them

  1. My apps are grouped by subject: all the Star Trek ones on one line, all the genealogy ones on another (one, or two lines!). Gmail is top left, and my mirror is top right. Time-wasters oops I mean time-sinks are on the second screen, so I have to do a bit of swiping and tapping to get to them, by which time I have remembered some work-related tasks I have to do…

    Very enjoyable post.

    Ros, visiting from GenWestUK (genealogy trivia)
    The Writing Desk (aspects of writing)
    Murch.org Blog (surname study)


    1. So strategic, Ros! Quite impressive. That there are multiple apps on your phone for Star Trek and genealogy is kinda cool. No, it’s way cool.

      Look forward to checking out your posts!


  2. I deleted Facebook for a while. I just recently put it back and now my apps all seem like thy are in the wrong place. I have to get used to a new arrangement again.


    1. have you written a post about your life sans Facebook? that’d be a great read. It would stand to reason that Facebook’s reintroduction would shuffle the entire deck of apps!


  3. Just about the first question my son has for me when he comes home from college is, “Mom, can I please see your phone? I want to organize it for you!” I’m not sure what the last app he deleted was. 🙂
    visiting from http://www.thankfulme.net


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