It seems there’s an app for everything these days. Calendars, games, photo editors, fitness trackers—if you can think of it, you could probably find it. (If you can’t find it, maybe meet with a developer and cash in?) While most of these apps are designed to make your life easier, there’s a downside to having so many within our reach. They can quickly overcrowd your phone and overwhelm you. The good news is that it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to learn how to organize smartphone apps once and for all. Here are some of our favorite ways to tidy your must-have smartphone apps across your home screens.
If you know your ABC’s, you know how to organize your phone. Whether you choose to use folders or organize your apps in rows on your home screens, you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for if you list them alphabetically. Sure, it may take you some time to swipe to your Zelle app, but not as long as opening your search bar and typing in the name. Yawn.
Action Words or Phrases
You can have fun grouping your apps into actionable words or phrases, like “Play” for games, “Rock out” for music apps or “Make money” for finance ones. By keeping your social media apps grouped in a folder, you might also spend less time searching for the ones you check most frequently if they’re scattered. That’s time you can spend becoming an influencer instead.
Most Used Apps
Speaking of frequency, if you’re always on the road, consider keeping your maps and traffic apps on your main home screen along with other apps you use the most. There’s no sense in always swiping past your Tasty recipe app if you use Seamless to order in food more often.
If you’re more of a visual person and love the idea of color coding, group your apps by their logo color. Hulu and Spotify never looked so cozy. Neither have Netflix and GrubHub. You might also color code depending on a theme. Maybe your finance apps make you think of green money. Maybe your fitness apps give you a burst of sunny, yellow energy. Organizing your apps by color gives you endless creative freedom.
You may also choose to organize your apps by themes. One folder or row is devoted to all your social media apps, while another holds all your games. If you use an item tracker like Cube Tracker, which helps you find lost items like your wallet or keys quickly, consider keeping it on your first screen along with other apps you might need to access in an instant. Even if you have trouble keeping your home organized, it’s never been easier to tidy up your home screen. Or, you can always look to Marie Kondo to do both.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, and VICE.