Organize Your Phone in 8 Creative Ways

April 19, 2018 • Shannon Flynn


Today’s smartphones are so advanced that they’re like mini computers. People use them to send emails, play games, chat with friends and much more. However, all those capabilities mean it’s all too easy to end up with an extremely cluttered home screen. If you’re spending far too much time swiping to try and find the apps you want to use, it’s time to organize your phone.

Maybe you’ve never thought of taking that approach. Fortunately, there are several ways to organize your phone to enhance usage and reduce frustration. Here are some of them.

1. Organize by Action

Determining what you do with each app on your phone is a solid starting point to organize your phone in a way that makes sense. That’s especially true if some of your apps spread across categories by having multiple functions. For instance, Spotify is primarily a music streaming service, but it’s recently expanded its podcast offerings.

So, if you organized by category, it’d be difficult to determine whether Spotify should go in a Music section or a Podcasts category. That’s why an action-based system is often more sensible. For example, put Messenger and WhatsApp in a Chat folder, while moving Spotify and Pandora over to one labeled Listen.

2. Separate Work From Play

Like many people, you may use your phone both at work and during your downtime. If so, don’t mix the work and pleasure apps. Give them dedicated screens, if possible. While you’re at it, arrange the work ones to appear before the pleasurable apps. Then, you won’t even have reason to see the icons for fun, non-work apps when you’re on the clock and trying to maintain productivity.

3. Line up Icons in Strategic Rows

Depending on aspects such as your screen size and the current layout, you can probably fit at least four app icons in a row. If you have numerous apps associated with one category, this method might work for you.

Going back to the Spotify example, you might put that app in a row with Player FM, Stitcher, Pandora and Audible. That’s because all those applications are similar in that they offer things to listen to.

5. Sort by Usage Frequency

There are probably some apps on your phone that make you wonder, “When did I download this, and what does it do?” If so, you’re not alone. Research indicates 62 percent of people only open apps fewer than 11 times. So, why not arrange your apps depending on how often you launch them?

Most smartphone owners can quickly rattle off the apps they use most. Use your knowledge of typical usage habits as a guideline. The Android operating system also separates apps you haven’t used lately when you free up space on your device. It does that to urge you to delete those apps.

When you put apps in order of usage, move them closer to the first page of the Home screen each time you tap them. Then, it’ll be easier to see if there’s anything you can delete you won’t miss later.

6. Arrange for Ease of Access

One of the most practical ways to boost productivity while using your phone is to limit the effort it takes to reach the icons. Spend time studying how your hand moves when your fingers swipe across the screen.

Perhaps you hardly ever touch the upper half of the screen unless there’s no other choice. In that instance, putting the most-used apps along the bottom is a wise choice.

Accessibility may also relate to whether you’re right or left-hand dominant, and which finger you typically use to swipe. If you are left-handed and prefer using your index finger to tap apps, putting apps on the left side of the screen lets you reach them without unnecessary movement.

7. Concentrate on the Color Schemes

Technology is integrated into people’s lives so deeply that many of them can close their eyes and visualize how app icons look. If you’re a visually oriented person who can do the same, you may find it’s best for you to drag apps into a color-based order.

8. Try a Folder-Based System Built on Your Ideals

Most people have “guilty pleasure” websites. They might tell themselves they’ll only browse them for five minutes, which turns into almost a half-hour. If you want to break bad habits, begin using a folder system where each one has a label indicating how often you should use an app or for what purpose.

Gmail and Slack might go into a folder labeled Hourly, while Facebook, Reddit and Yelp get put in a folder that reads Once Daily After Work. You may also have apps you only use for traveling or shopping. Then, make folders that say When I Travel or When Looking For Deals, etc.

By trying one of these tactics, you should find it’s easier than ever to use your phone well. You might also be surprised by how much time you save.