Use iTunes to arrange apps on your iPhone screen
Mac Tip #406, 14 October 2009
Arrange the apps on your iPhone or iPod from within iTunes. The instructions are the same for the iPad, iPod touch and the iPhone.
This Tip was written with Mac OS X 10.6.1, iTunes 9.0.1, and iPod software 3.1.2. Older versions of the software may not allow you to arrange iPod applications within iTunes.
Watch the video
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Plug in your device
- Plug your iPad, iPhone or iPod in to your Mac and start up iTunes.
- Select the device in the
Sourcelist on the left of the iTunes window. The
Summarytab is displayed in the main part of the window.
- Click on the
Applicationstab in the list of tabs across the main part of the iTunes window. iTunes displays a list of Applications so you can select which apps to sync. It also displays a mock-up of the device’s screen and thumbnails representing the pages of apps.
Select applications to sync
Sync Applications list check the box beside any applications you wish to sync with the currently plugged in device. When you next sync that device any changes will take effect.
If you have more than one device you can choose applications for each one: the list changes when a specific device is attached.
Springboard is the formal name of the home screen on iOS devices. Like the Mac Finder or the Windows Desktop, Springboard enables you to find the particular app you need.
Thanks to Bruce Tognazzini for this terminology. See below for the credit.
Add and remove apps from the device’s Toolbar
A representation of the currently attached device’s Springboard is displayed on the right-hand side of the main Applications window in iTunes. You can drag icons around and in and out of that representation just as though you were working directly on the device itself.
Drag icons out of or into the Toolbar to remove or add them, just as you would on the iPad, iPhone or iPod.
Drag icons from one page to another
To move applications from one page to another in the Springboard:
- Go to the page with the icon you wish to move and select the relevant icon. In my video I selected the
MyTradesapp from Page 1.
- Drag the icon out of that page and drop it onto the thumbnail of the destination page. The destination page is now displayed at full size and the app is added at the end. In my movie I dragged the icon on top of the thumbnail for Page 4.
Rearrange apps within one page
If you don’t like the order in which apps are displayed on a page drag them into new positions.
Apply the changes
After rearranging apps click the
Apply button at the bottom of the iTunes window. The device is synced and the changes are applied to the handheld device.
Are you irritated by the way the icons move themselves around to fill gaps you’ve created? You’re not the only one. Here’s how Bruce Tognazzini describes it:
Instead of copying the highly-flexible Mac Desktop, Springboard inadvertently ended up copying the Windows 95 Desktop, with icons auto-positioning themselves ever-upward, ever-leftward.
Tognazzini has a very interesting article about all of this at Restoring Spring to iPhone Springboard. I strongly suggest you read it if you’re at all interested in iPhone and iPod apps and how they display on your handheld device.
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