For the first time since, well, ever, Apple is bringing an Android-style app drawer to the iPhone Home screen with iOS 14. But, of course, Apple has put its own twist on it. Here’s how the new App Library works on iPhone.
You’ll Find App Library on Your Last Home Page
If you’re tired of browsing through non-stop Home screen pages, Apple has some good news for you in the form of the new App Library.
Rolling out in the fall of 2020 with iOS 14, the App Library will automatically be added to your iPhone, whether you want to use it or not. You can continue using your Home screens just as they are. However, if you swipe all the way over to the last page on your handset, you’ll find the new App Library section.
Here, you’ll see a grid of automatically organized folders, categorized based on Apple’s algorithms. The first is for suggested apps, and the second will show apps you recently installed.
In every folder other than “Suggestions,” the first three icons appear prominently. Unfortunately, you can’t choose these apps manually. Tapping on a larger icon opens that app, while selecting the cluster expands the group.
Swipe up from the bottom to exit the grid view and go back to the App Library. (You can’t swipe left to close this screen.)
Swiping down from the App Library page opens the Search mode. Alternatively, you can also tap the search bar at the top of the menu.
Here, you’ll see a list of every app installed on your iPhone, arranged alphabetically. You can use the A to Z slider from the right edge of the screen to move to a particular letter if you know the name of the app you’re looking for.
If you search in the App Library, though, the results will be generated from only the installed apps. You can’t search for an app in the App Store and install it, as you can with Spotlight Search.
You Can Also Hide Your Home Screen Pages
If you like using the App Library, the first thing you’ll want to do is hide all the excess Home screen pages that separate you from it. If you’re like us, you might like trying out new apps, only to forget about them a few weeks later. This is how you end up with more than half a dozen pages of them on your iPhone.
Once you update to iOS 14, you can tap and hold any empty space to enter Apple’s Jiggle Mode. At the bottom of the screen, tap the pages marker—the circular icon with a number of dots on it representing how many pages are open on your phone.
This will now show you a new overview screen with all of your pages. To hide any pages you don’t use or want to see anymore, just uncheck the box under its thumbnail. We recommend hiding everything, except the first (and maybe the second) page for quick access to the App Library.
New Apps Go Directly to the App Library
As soon as you edit the Home screen pages, you’ll get an alert stating that any newly downloaded apps will now appear in the App Library. This is a good thing because, even as you download a new app, it won’t keep adding new pages to your Home screen.
If you want to revert this feature, head to Settings > Home Screen and choose the “Add to Home Screen” option. While you’re in the “Settings” menu, you can also enable or disable notification badges for apps in the App Library.
There’s More to the iOS 14 Home Screen
The iPhone’s Home screen is clearly one of the biggest changes in iOS 14, and the App Library is just part of the equation. Apple’s also brought widgets to the Home screen, and although they’re not interactive, it’s still a step in the right direction.
We’re still in the first developer beta cycle here, though. It’s possible Apple might change some features and interface elements before iOS 14 is released to the public later this year.