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how to organize your iphone screen (and make it look pretty)

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My phone is basically an extension of my arm. I carry it with me everywhere and while I’m not so good at answering phone calls, I do love it for everything else: texting, checking the weather, setting an alarm, taking photos, reading email, posting to instagram, checking out at starbucks … you get the idea.

So, naturally, I want my phone to be organized, easy to use and pretty to look at. The best way to do that? Organize all those apps into folders and add a cute wallpaper.

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Here’s how I like to organize my iphone home screen:

Start by setting a custom image as the background. This cute arrow-on-kraft-paper design is part of our February Paper Works collection (each month we include a couple of wallpapers so you can trade them out each month!). Just save the image to your photo library, then open it up. To set it as your wallpaper, follow the steps below:

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Now comes the fun part of organizing all of your apps. Rather than having each one on its own, I like to organize them into folders. Here’s what that process looks like:

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I find that having apps grouped together in folders makes my home screen much less cluttered and easier for me to find what I’m looking for. Here’s how I have my apps grouped:

p h o t o / all camera, photo editing and instagram related apps

d a i l y / these are my regular-use apps like the clock, weather, facebook, jdc, pinterest and starbucks

u s e / the more utilitarian apps of the bunch like maps, the app store, settings, calculator and facetime

b i b l e / my go-to collection of bible/bible study/devotion apps

m u s i c / itunes, my music library, pandora, spotify, sonos and podcasts

m o n e y / my banks, paypal and coupon apps

p l a y / my kids think I’m weird for not having more games on my phone, but there are a few. They live in this folder (current faves: 2048 and tsum tsum).

n o t e s / just the note app. I use it all the time.

t r a v e l / things like yelp and hotels.com

e x t r a / for everything that doesn’t have an obvious category

s o c i a l / social media apps I don’t use regularly, but want to keep like whatsApp and Line

g a m e s / just a few kid games – they each have a kindle, so they have their own apps on their devices, but these are for entertainment in a pinch (Endless ABC and 7 Little Words for Kids are favorites).

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And that is how I organize my iphone home screen.

I’d love to know … do you have a different system that works for you? Do you have any favorite apps you’d like to share? Do tell …

31 Responses to how to organize your iphone screen (and make it look pretty)

  1. Beverly January 14, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    YOU are awesome Emily!!! I am techno challenged, so changing my iPhone screen was great to get done! Thank YOU!

  2. Rebecca January 7, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    Love the spaced/lowercase titles! Always looking for a way to make my iPhone more efficient and pretty!
    So I have been wondering for a while now, (and since it’s a similar topic) what would be the most functional and yet still, clean and possibly pretty homepage for my computer? I currently use a Yahoo customized homepage, but always find that it seems too distracting. Of course plain old Google is, well, plain. Thoughts?

  3. Anne February 11, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    Never in a million years would I have thought that organizing my iPhone screens would bring me such happiness! I ended up with 3 “pages” – home screen is the buttons I use most so they are quick to access, Page 2 is all folders with the cute all-lower-case-spaces-in-between titles (simply brilliant!), and Page 3 is just the FaceTime button so I can see the wallpaper photo of my adorable granddaughter!

  4. Avenlea February 8, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Thanks for all the tips!

  5. Kayla Jones February 6, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    Thanks for posting this! It was just what I needed to inspire me to visually declutter!

  6. Maureen L. February 5, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    How did you get the text message app in the bottom tray? I would love to move mine there as I use it so much more than the Music app. Great post!

    • emily February 6, 2015 at 8:15 am #

      when in editing mode, just drag the icon down to the bottom menu and it will pop in there!

  7. Donna Espiritu February 5, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    same way i organize my phone! :)

  8. Heather February 5, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    Very helpful! Thanks!!

  9. Alinne Bel February 5, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    Hey Emily!
    What are the apps that you use to Bible and devotional?

    Great post! mmmuah :*

  10. Aleta February 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm #

    Great post! I love the organization. I organize all my apps by color. I have nine pages of apps, each with a different color theme. I have two pages of blue apps. It seems blue is a very common color to use on an app. I remember where my apps are on my phone by what color they are. It is so neat to see how other people organize their apps.

  11. Sheryl February 4, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    What are you favorite bible, devotion apps?

  12. Angela February 4, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    I would have never thought to space the names of my folders like that – love it! My current favorite-can’t-live-without-it app is Todoist. If you want/need access to your lists on on multiple platforms, even within your web browser, I highly recommend it.

  13. Christy Keyton February 4, 2015 at 5:02 pm #

    Thank you so much for this! My phone looks so much better!

  14. Violet February 4, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Thanks so much! Great idea, spacing the letters out!
    I usually organize mine by color, with only my favorite 16 apps on the front page. But then again, I don’t have many apps :)

  15. Lindsay February 4, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Thank you Emily! Just organized my phone. :) Pretty organization posts are my favorite!

  16. Lisa February 4, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    Emily–Thank you SO much for this fun and informative post. I’m so grateful that you are such a generous blogger, and don’t take for granted that there are still people out there who don’t know how to do these types of things!! I just organized my phone and now I’m excited to do my Ipad. It may seem like basic knowledge to some, but I TOTALLY appreciate your help!

  17. samantha February 4, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    all of my apps are organized by color! it really, really satisfies the OCD part of my brain. and it also made me delete a lot of apps that i didn’t really use.

  18. sara February 4, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    just curious about the apps you use. Would you ever list them in a future post?

    • emily February 4, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

      Sure! I’ll gladly share in another post

  19. cheri February 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    Thanks for the tips! Love your blog!

  20. linda February 4, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    I love this post, emily … such great and helpful information to make things look pretty and organized!! … I’m wondering about two things: would you ever share your bible/devotion apps? and, do you use vsco? and, if so, would you ever consider doing a tutorial on it? I have the app because I see it all over on instagram, but I just cannot figure out how to use it (the vsco camera and the vsco editing) … thanks for all your beautiful inspiration always!!! :)

    • Ashley February 4, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

      Yes! Would love to know the bible/devo apps you use!

  21. Midj February 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    I just reorganized mine. Thanks for the inspiration. I actually used emoji’s for some of the folder labels… FUN!

  22. diane February 4, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    great idea! i like the first example of wallpaper that you show. is that an original photo of yours or is it an available wallpaper?

    P,S. I’ve been subscribed to your blog for a while now and I really like your design style.

  23. Dannis February 4, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    Love the lowercase with space titles! Just did it to my folders:) they look amazing!

    I have my home screen alphabetized with the apps I use daily. Then folders on the second page with each folder and it’s contents alphabetized.

    • Dannis February 4, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

      Also. Rifle Paper Co. makes super cute iPhone cases! I got a mint/turquoise floral print one at the AT&T store :)

  24. Jen February 4, 2015 at 7:25 am #

    I love these types of posts. They are so fun! I love organizing and making things pretty. This phone organization guide is inspiring. It won’t take too terribly long and it won’t cost me a penny but it will bring a smile to my face every time I use my phone!! Thanks!

  25. alicia February 4, 2015 at 5:38 am #

    Emily,
    my kids adore endless alphabet, and the numbers, and endless reader. My 2 year old son is a whiz at them

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