Creating Folders In iOS4

You know that it’s possible to put your applications into folders with Apple’s iOS4 … but you can’t remember how. Or (less likely) you’ve not seen a step-by-step set of instructions.

Given that folder creation is a task that we won’t do everyday — and given that it is non-intuitive (IMO) — I’ve put together a step-by-step. Adding apps to an existing folder? Simple drag-and-drop while in “edit” mode. Creating a new folder? Read on …

1. Get Into Edit Mode

The standard “re-arrange your app icons” mode is unchanged. Tap-and-hold any application icon until the they begin to shake. (You will see the delete (x) button in the upper-left corner of your third-party applications.)

iphone home screen

iPhone home screen activated for editing

2. Create The New Folder

To make this easier, be sure that there are two apps on the same screen that both will go into the new folder.* Tap one, then hold-and-drag it on top of the other one. The application screen will gray out, and you’ll see a folder that contains the two applications, along with a suggested folder name. Click “done” if you like Apple’s suggestion; otherwise, use the keyboard to create a more meaningful folder name.

* If you are new to the iPhone, know that you can move an app from one screen to another by tapping-and-dragging … but this can be painful if you are trying to re-arrange a lot of applications. Consider using the iTunes interface instead.

iphone app folders

Renaming a new iPhone app folder

3. Finished?

Click the “home” button to stop the shakes and end the session.

4. iTunes Management

The “drag-on-top-of-another” application to create a folder works in iTunes as well. If you’ve re-arranged on the iPhone, I suggest you sync with iTunes before fiddling, however. Once you have created your folder, click anywhere “outside” of the folder when you want to return to screen view.

iPhone Apps - iTunes

Creating a folder with stock Apple applications with iPhone iOS4.

Limitations and Tips

  • Apple will allow only 12 applications per folder.
  • It’s very easy (too easy) to create a new folder when what you want to do is have two applications exchange places!
  • The standard Apple applications do not have “x” delete icons but they can be placed in folders.
  • You can change a folder’s name by double-clicking it in iTunes or double-tapping on the phone while in “edit” mode.
  • The folder shows nine app icons, but the very small images are surprisingly recognizable, even on a 3gs.

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