Ask the Expert – Digital Organization for Your Phone

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Ask the Expert – Digital Organization for Your Phone

Regular readers will remember that in January, we put the questions of ScanSnap followers to our resident organizing expert, Heather Walker, founder of Functional Spaces Organizing. Last month’s installment on digital organization received good feedback, so we decided to double down and get mobile with it. Let’s ask the expert how to keep our personal digital extensions (our phones) organized…

I have around 100 apps on my phone, can you help me ensure easy access the things I want?

“There’s an app for that.”

We know. But do we need it?


With so many apps at our fingertips, it can be quite overwhelming to find what we are looking for. Apps are designed to improve our lives, but trying to find them can be a challenge – especially with 100 apps or more.

Combat clutter. First, be honest with yourself and delete the apps you don’t use – or rarely use. Delete apps you just don’t need. (It’s not forever – you can always get them again if the need arises.)

Organize your apps by usage. Put the apps you most frequently access on your first page. If you aren’t sure what are your most popular apps, then go to: Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage and tap within the list. Then each entry will display hours of onscreen use and hours of background use, as well as the overall percentage. It works within the 24-hours view and the Last 7 Days view. (There may be some surprising facts about how you spend your time! But that is for a different day.)


Organize Your Apps by Category. For some people, the default category names such as “Reference” or “Utilities” are too vague. Instead, come up with your own category names, and drag each app into a category. Some people like to use verbs such as “watch”, “play” or “Listen” instead of using nouns. After all, you want to DO something with your apps, not just store them.

Organize Your Apps in Alphabetical Order. Some people find comfort in a linear A-Z filing method. )And instead of manually alphabetizing them, try this: Settings > General > Reset > Reset Home Screen layout. The original Apple phone apps will be placed in the default locations, and the other apps will be sorted alphabetically.

Or, don’t organize your apps. Just search. The search function on the iOS is powerful and quick. Slide your finger from the top down and type in the first few letters of the name of the app you need. Or choose it from the recent apps list in the search window. The color-coding of the apps are designed to be easily identified and memorable. Your mind associates colors much quicker than black and white labels, so when your desired app populates in the search, your eyes will recognize it quickly.

Heather Walker
Founder & Chief Organizer, Functional Spaces Organizing