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Beginner: Group Similar Apps Using Folders on Your iOS 4 iPhone or iPod Touch

Do you have a lot of apps on your iPhone or iPod Touch and are tired of moving through screens to get the one you need? Here we look at a new feature in iOS 4 that let’s you group apps together in folders.

Note: At the time of this writing, the folders option isn’t available on the iPad, but will be included in the iOS update 4.2 (coming in November) and allow you to save 20 items in each folder versus 12 in the iPhone/Touch.

Add Apps to Group Folders

While you’re on your iPod Touch or iPhone home screen hold down any app until the icons wiggle. This allows you to move your apps around on the screen.

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Then drag an app into another one which is similar. For example here we’re moving the Netflix app to the Videos app.

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Based on the apps you combine, you’ll get a recommended name or it or can create your own.

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Once the folder is created you can begin moving other apps into it.

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To display the folder contents just click on it. So here we have our multimedia apps all in one folder.

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You can move apps from the Dock into folders as well.

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Then replace the apps on the Dock with your Folders.

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There are a few caveats to the folders option though. One of the most annoying is only being able to include 12 items per folder…Also, you can’t put subfolders in other folders.

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Using Folders with iTunes

If you use iTunes to help manage the apps on your device, it supports the folders feature as well. It works much the same as it does on your device. Simply drag the apps you want to sync to the folders where you want them.

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You can rename your folders from within iTunes too.

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This is definitely a cool new feature in iOS 4. If you’re annoyed by having a messy iOS device with six screens of apps…using the folders option will help you become better organized.

It isn’t the perfect folder system yet, for example it would be nice to see how many items are in each folder, or the ability to create empty and subfolders. Hopefully the feature will be enhanced in future updates. The default folders feature in iOS 4 may be good enough for some users, but if you want better control you might want to look at other folder apps, or Jailbreak the device.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 09/27/10

Comments (7)

  1. Mr. BSD

    Yeah, or just install Categories and CategoriesSB to have no limit and better looking folders.
    /problemsolved

  2. Hatryst

    Thanks !
    But just wondering, was it worth a tutorial? :D

  3. Kevin

    @Hatryst, yes it was because me and maybe a lot of other people did not know this.

  4. Nikki

    I can’t do this on my iPod touch, any idea why?

  5. Dennis F

    Works fine on my iPhone, & Touch. Be sure you have the latest version of iOS. I usually do it in iTunes since it is easier to move from screen to screen when placing apps in folders. And yes, I agree it was worth a tutorial as the instructions in the manual aren’t too clear. I finally just played around with it to get it where I wanted to be.

  6. Tim D Cook

    We knew about this but I wanted to check the ’12 Apps’ scenario. Why only 12 Apps? You can scroll through pages and pages on the main screens, so why not the Folder? This needs to be rectified.

  7. Deepak

    awesome thanks

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