iOS 14: How to use the App Library

Prior to iOS 14, one of the central problems with iOS (compared to Android) was that every single app you’ve ever downloaded has to exist somewhere on your home screen. You can have folders, you can have multiple home screens, but you can’t simply hide an app you don’t use very often.

The iOS 14 release changes all that. In addition to being able to put Widgets on your home screen, you can now remove apps without uninstalling them! A new top-level screen called the App Library contains all the apps installed on your iPhone. It’s a bit like the app drawer on most Android phones, but it looks and behaves differently.

Mastering the App Library is key to keeping a more tidy and organized iPhone and quickly being able to find the app you want. Here’s how the App Library works.

App Library organization

Once you install iOS 14, you’ll find the App Library to the right of your last home screen. Just keep swiping and you’ll soon be there.

You don’t have to organize this screen. In fact, you can’t organize it. All your apps will appear in little four-square boxes.

The upper left box is always Suggestions. This will show four apps that Siri has determined you are likely to use based on the time of day, your location, etc. It gets smarter the more you use your iPhone, and the suggestions are calculated entirely on-device No data about your app use habits or location or anything else are ever being sent anywhere.

In the upper right you’ll find Recently Added, which is self-explanatory. It shows apps you’ve most recently installed. 

ios14 app library categories IDG

Tap the big app icons to launch the app. Tap the small four-square group to open the category folder.

Beneath that are four-square “folders” that are auto-arranged by app category. Apple automatically determines to which category an app belongs, and it can be a little unintuitive. For example, both Twitter and Reddit are in the “News” category of the App Store (currently #1 and #2 respectively). But Twitter is in the Social box of the App Library and Reddit is in the Reference & Reading section. Ring is in Utilities but Nest is in Lifestyle.