Our iPhones and iPads are packed with more apps than ever, and a new feature in iOS 11 is going to make managing those apps much, much easier. Finally, after years of being forced to move and arrange apps one-by-one, iOS 11 introduces the ability to move multiple apps at once on your iPhone or iPad home screens.
Here’s how it works.
Move Multiple Apps at Once
The process to move multiple apps at once in iOS 11 starts off the same as the old method of moving apps one-by-one. So find the first app you’d like to move and tap and hold until you see the apps start to jiggle.
Note that if you have an iPhone that supports 3D Touch, you’ll need to make sure you just rest and hold your finger on the display, as pressing firmly may activate this feature. If you’re having trouble, try turning down the 3D Touch sensitivity, or disabling the feature, at least temporarily.
With your apps jiggling, keep holding down on your initial app, and then lightly tap another app that you’d like to move, too. This can get a bit tricky, so it’s best to use two hands if possible, with one thumb holding down on your initial app and the thumb or finger on your other hand selecting the additional apps.
When you select another app, you’ll see it fly over to your initially selected app and join it, with a small number badge appearing in the upper-right corner which shows the total number of selected apps. Again, the trick here is to lightly tap the additional apps you’d like to select. Pressing down with a lot of force often doesn’t successfully select the app and will lead to quite a bit of frustration as you attempt to master this process.
Keep selecting additional apps until you’re ready and, when you’re done, you’ll have a jiggling icon that represents all of the apps you’ve selected. It’s important not to remove your finger from the screen, however, as this will deselect and drop all of your apps in their current location. But as long as you keep holding your finger on this multi-app icon, you can treat it just like the traditional single-app icons you’re used to. You can move it to another home screen, drop it into (or remove it from) a folder, or use it to rearrange your home screens by moving a bunch of apps to the bottom, for example.
Oddly, at least for now, the one thing you can’t do is delete the group of apps, as there’s no “x” icon even when you’ve selected apps which are otherwise eligible for deletion from your device. This is probably for the best, as it prevents the accidental deletion of multiple apps at once, but it’s possible Apple could find a way to add this feature in a future update.
How to Get iOS 11
As of the date of this article, iOS 11 is still in beta. If you’re eager to try out new features like the ability to move multiple app icons at once, you can sign up for the Apple Public Beta program. Note, however, that this is truly beta software which may contain bugs that can corrupt your data or interfere with your device’s core functions. Therefore, don’t install the iOS 11 beta on a device that is used for mission critical work.
If you’re not interested in messing with beta software, iOS 11 will be a free update for all compatible devices when the final version launches this fall.
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