How to Make Folders on an iPhone

June 19, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


Smartphones hold a wealth of information, much of it in the form of apps. A disorganized home screen can make it hard to find what you’re looking for and give your phone a cluttered appearance. Thankfully, folders make it easy to organize your apps into groups, letting you quickly navigate between them. Here’s how to make folders on an iPhone. 

How to Make Folders on the Home Screen

Ready to get started? 

  1. Unlock your phone. You should be on the home screen. 
  2. Locate an app you want to put into a folder. It can be on the first page or one of the other pages.
  3. Long press on any app. 
  4. Select the Edit Home Screen button. All of the app icons should start jiggling.
  5. Drag and drop one app on top of another app you want to group it with. For example, if you want to create a Social Media folder, drag the Facebook app onto the Instagram app. If you wait too long without moving an app, the screen will return to normal.
  6. As you hover over the second app, a folder will automatically appear. 
  7. Let go of the app to put it in the folder. 
  8. Give the folder an appropriate name. It’s easiest to do this while you’re creating the folder, but if you forget, you can long press it and select Rename. 
  9. Now, the name of the folder should be highlighted and the keyboard will appear. Start typing to give it a new name. You can even include emojis and numbers in the label! This is a great way to customize your home screen and make your phone easier to use. Finally, press Done when you’re finished.

Now that you’ve made a folder on your iPhone, you can drag more apps into it. If your iPhone is running iOS 7 or later — which most modern phones do — then each folder can hold up to 135 apps. 

If you decide you don’t want the folder anymore, then tap and hold it until the menu pops up. Then, click the red Remove Folder button. The apps it contained will scatter on your home screen. 

How to Make Folders in the Files App

The Files app allows you to store documents in one central location. From there, you can further organize your files into folders based on file type or category. Here’s how: 

  1. Open the Files app. It looks like a blue folder on a white background.
  2. Tap the Browse button.
  3. This action will show you several locations where you can create folders. For example, you can select iCloud Drive or On My iPhone. If you have installed Google Drive, it will appear here as well.
  4. Let’s say you want to create a folder in the On My iPhone category. Select it.
  5. Long press on any blank space in the background.
  6. Select New Folder.
  7. Give the folder a name.
  8. Now you can add documents to it. For example, if you tap another folder in the Files app, it will open and you can see the files inside. Tap and hold one of them until a menu opens. Select Move, and all the available locations where you can move the file will appear. You can then select your new folder to add the file to it.

If you want to delete the folder, tap and hold it until the menu appears, then click the red Delete button. 

How to Make Smart Folders in the Notes App

The iOS 15 update lets you add tags to your notes so you can group them together. For example, all notes with the tag “shopping” will appear in the same folder. Here’s how to create smart folders so you can start organizing your notes:

Method 1

  1. First, open the Notes app and make sure you’re in the Folders section.
  2. Then, in the lower-left corner, select New Folder. A menu should appear.
  3. Select New Smart Folder — it should have a gear icon next to it. 
  4. Give the folder a name. Choose a name that will easily help you remember what the folder contains.
  5. Then, create at least one tag for the folder. The tag can be anything you like, but it’s often best for the sake of convenience to use tags relevant to the content. For example, if the smart folder is called “vacation plans” you could use “vacation” or “trip” as a tag.
  6. Hit return. The tag should now be yellow. 
  7. Finally, tap on Done.

The new smart folder will appear in the Folders menu. Unlike the other folders, smart folders have a gear icon next to them. 

Method 2

Another way to create a smart folder is by scrolling to the bottom of the Folders page. From there, follow these instructions:

  1. Tap on a tag to see which notes are associated with it. 
  2. In the upper-right corner, select the More button, which looks like three dots. 
  3. Select the Create Smart Folder option. 
  4. Finally, give the folder a name.

Now, when you navigate back to the Folders menu, you should see the new smart folder you created. It will contain any notes that have the associated tag on them. 

Method 3

A third way to create a smart folder is to convert a normal folder into one:

  1. Select a regular folder. It should have a folder icon next to it rather than a gear icon.
  2. Tap the More icon in the upper-right corner.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the menu that appears.
  4. Select Convert to Smart Folder. 
  5. A pop-up will appear. Select Convert. 

Now, your new smart folder should appear in the Folders menu. If you open it, you’ll notice that every note it contains has a tag with the name of the folder on it. You can now use that tag to group future notes into the smart folder. 

Organizing Your iPhone

Knowing how to make folders on your iPhone will save you a lot of time and trouble looking for apps. It can also improve your phone’s appearance and make it easy to group apps into categories like entertainment, navigation or finance. Even if you only save a few seconds every time you open your phone, you could save hours in the long run by organizing your apps.