Want to Reduce Your iPhone Screen Time? Hide Your Apps

Apps on the homescreen? Who needs them?

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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Zachary McAuliffe
3 min read

Hiding your apps doesn't mean they're gone.

James Martin/CNET

The average person spends more than 3 hours a day looking at their mobile device, according to a report from Exploding Topics. And checking your phone can give you an adrenaline rush, which raises your heart rate, muscle tension and pulse, according to the University of Colorado Health. If you need to reduce your screen time, try hiding the apps on your iPhone's home screen. 

Hiding apps could help reduce your screen time since you won't be able to quickly open them at a moment's notice. Don't worry, though -- these apps will still be in your App Library if you want to use them later.

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Apple introduced the App Library with the release of iOS 14 in 2020. This feature organizes your iPhone's apps into categories, like Social and Entertainment, and keeps them off your home screen. However, note that your iPhone organizes these categories on its own, and you can't reorganize your apps if you don't agree with where they are placed. 

Here's how to hide apps from your iPhone's home screen and how to access the App Library.

Hiding apps on your iPhone

1. Tap and hold the app on your home screen until a menu appears.
2. Tap Remove App.
3. Tap Remove from Home Screen.

Now the app won't be visible on your home screen, but it'll still be accessible in your App Library. You can also hide multiple apps in quick succession. Here's how.

1. Tap and hold on an unoccupied portion of your home screen until your icons start to jiggle.
2. Tap the minus symbol in the corner of an app you want to hide.
3. Tap Remove from Home Screen.

Then, repeat the second and third steps until you've hidden all the apps you want to hide, and tap Done in the top right corner of your home screen.

Now that your apps are off your home screen, there are a few ways to access them. Here's how.

How to access your hidden apps

The fastest way to find a hidden app is to tap Search near the bottom of your home screen to use the Spotlight search feature. Then, type in the name of the app you're looking for in the search bar and the app should appear above the search bar.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

You can find your hidden apps in your App Library.

James Martin/CNET

You can also swipe right on your home screen until you open the App Library on the final screen. Here, you can view the different categories your iPhone has organized your apps into, and you can search the App Library by tapping the search bar near the top of your screen. 

And if you want to add a hidden app back to your home screen, go to the App Library by swiping right, tap and hold the app and then tap Add to Home Screen.

Clean up your home screen without hiding your apps

If you want to tidy up your home screen but don't want to hide your apps in the App Library, you can create folders full of apps on your home screen. You can name these folders whatever you want, and organize your apps how you want to, giving you more control over where your apps are as opposed to the App Library.

Here's how to create folders on your home screen for your apps.

1. Tap and hold on an unoccupied portion of your home screen until your icons start to jiggle.
2. Tap an app and drag it onto another app, and a gray square will surround the two apps.

An app folder on iPhone marked Utilities. Some of the apps in the folder include Voice Memos, Compass and Measure

You can arrange folders however you want, and add whichever apps you want to them.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

If you tap outside of the gray square, you'll go back to the home screen so you can drag more apps into your new folder if you want. Once you're finished, tap Done in the top right corner of your home screen.

Now, your apps aren't hidden and you don't have to search for them in the App Library or with Spotlight and your home screen is much neater. Plus, you can place all your social media apps or games in one spot without worrying your iPhone will misplace them.

For more Apple news, here are the features in iOS 17.5 and iOS 17.4. You can also check out our iOS 17 cheat sheet and what we want to see in iOS 18 at WWDC 2024.

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