Apple has redesigned the iPhone’s home screen with the launch of iOS 14. There are several new features to look forward to, and one of them is the App Library. Another part of the equation is Widget. Together, they add to the iPhone user experience or Apple claims. We will find out soon.
Android has had widgets and a home screen that can be edited for years. Now, iPhone users will have it too, but there are subtle changes here and there. Some of them are good while others are not so cool. We are testing the beta release to be ready when the final version is released around September.
Let’s get started.
How to Access the Application Library
There is a new space on the home screen called the Application Library. You will find it by swiping left on the last screen.
You will find that all the applications that you have installed on your iPhone are categorized. These categories or folders are automatically created by the system and are quite common – for example, entertainment, social and productivity.
Categories in the Apps Library
There are two smart folders named Newly Added and Suggestions. The first will show all the applications that you have installed recently or recently on your iPhone. A suggestion is a list of applications that Apple considers you want or might use based on your current activity, time and location.
What is frustrating about the Application Library is that there is no way to create new or edit existing categories. Some applications in the Application Library are sorted in the wrong category. And in other cases, there are folders in the category that require additional beats to access the apps.
The way it’s done is three applications are in a category and the rest are in a folder. If you don’t like it, you can’t do anything. There is no way to pull and release applications even in a category (automatically generated), especially in the Application Library. Apple has the first and last opinion in this matter.
Your iPhone will reorder applications in folders / categories based on ‘application usage’, which means it will monitor your activities. I would be worried if it’s not Apple that we’re talking about privacy.
Search in the Apps Library
See the search bar at the top? It remains visible and hence can be accessed at any time even when you are scrolling but not when you enter a folder. That makes it easy to find apps quickly. There is no smart search here, so you cannot search data in the application. For example, the name of a contact in the telephone book. All applications are listed in alphabetical order by jumping to the right.
You can do this using the search bar on the home screen. Just drag it down from anywhere on the screen to reveal it. I hope both are the same to reduce unnecessary confusion, but this is a beta version. Hopefully.
Hide Apps and Home Screen Pages
Applications that you install on the iPhone are placed on the home screen. Whether you use the application or not, it’s there, and all you can do is create a folder to hold all the useless applications. It’s always been, but not anymore. Go to Settings> Home Screen, and now you can choose.
Select ‘Add to Home Screen’ if you want the newly installed application to appear there and ‘Application Library only’ if you want the application to enter directly into the Application Library category. There are other options for the notification badge. Activate if you want the familiar badge at the top of the application icon in the Application Library. This is active by default, and I recommend leaving it like that.
What about existing applications that have messed up your home screen for more than a decade now? You can uninstall it the same way you uninstall the application. Long tap on the application you want to delete and select Edit Main Screen. All applications will start swaying now with the minus icon above.
Tap the minus icon to display a hidden menu where you will select Delete from Home Screen.
And you are done. Again, there is no way to select several applications to delete all at once from the home screen. But, there are ways to delete an entire page if you want. Press and hold space on the home screen to enter edit mode. Tap the dots icon that shows the number of pages.
You will now see all pages with a check mark at the bottom. Tap once to remove the check mark, and the page will disappear from the home screen when you press Done. I can’t undo changes for some reason, which means my page is hidden for now. I can still see it in the edit view, but tapping it doesn’t return it. I guess I have to wait for an OS update.
Tap and hold any application in the Application Library to add it back to the home screen. Exactly the way you delete it.
The beta looks promising, but there are certain aspects of the new Application Library that I don’t like. And then there are some expected bugs. I hope the Application Library feature is more flexible now because Apple has finally decided to let users have more control. I want to be able to create and edit categories as I wish. Apple can’t decide which application to use on my behalf. It’s just annoying, but this is the beginning.
Apple is increasingly open every year. Hopefully everything improves with future updates. Until then, we will keep you updated.