iOS 14 Home Screen Changes: App Library, Widgets, Hiding Apps and More

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Apple in iOS 14 redesigned the Home Screen for the first time in a long time, introducing an App Library that lets you hide apps, widgets that can be placed among apps, and more.


This guide walks through all of the new Home Screen changes from widgets to the App Library, and includes how tos with walkthroughs on using all of the new features.

Widgets

Widgets have been available in the Today View, which can be accessed by swiping from left to right on the Home Screen, but in iOS 14, widgets got a design and functionality overhaul.


Apple overhauled all of its widgets, introducing a fresh design that uses less transparency, more spacing, and richer content to make widgets more useful. The redesign was implemented because for the first time, widgets can move out of the Today View and right onto the Home Screen.

Widget Sizes and Functions

Widgets can be customized with up to three sizes: small, medium, and large. A different amount of information is provided with each widget size.


In the Apple News app, for example, a small widget shows just one headline, but a large widget shows three. A small Weather app widget shows the current temperature, the medium version shows the full daily forecast, and the large version shows the weekly forecast. Not all widgets have all three sizes, but most do, and you can also create multiple widgets of the same app.

Some apps also have different widget options based on function. In the Apple News widget, you can choose to see relevant news from the day or get stories about a specific topic of interest.

Developers will be able to create widgets using the new sizes and widget design language for widgets that will blend better with Apple's new options.

Widget Stacks

Multiple widgets can be stacked on top of one another so you can put all of your favorites together and then swap between them with an upward or downward swipe of the finger.


Apple has also added a special "Smart Stack," which is a widget stack that uses Siri Intelligence to surface the most relevant and useful widget based on your iPhone usage habits.

If you often order coffee in the morning, for example, the widget for a coffee app might pop up. If you always listen to a podcast on the way home from work and have the Podcast app widget in your stack, the iPhone will surface the widget at the appropriate time.Siri Suggestions Widget

There's a separate Siri Suggestions widget that on the surface sounds similar to Smart Stack, but is in fact different. The Siri Suggestions Widget surfaces app suggestions based on your iPhone usage habits, similar to what shows up under Siri Suggestions when you use the iPhone's search function.

There's also an option to have the Siri Suggestions widget display Shortcut suggestions based on your most used Shortcuts and Shortcut usage patterns.

Widget Gallery

Adding and customizing widgets can be done through the Widget Gallery, accessible by long pressing on the Today View of the widget list and then tapping the "+" button in the upper left corner.


From there, you can search for a specific widget or scroll through the available options. Tapping on a widget in the list lets you see the size and content options that are available for the widget. Adding a widget to the Today View can be done by tapping the "Add Widget" option.

If you long press on the Today View screen and do not tap the "+" button, you can rearrange widgets, delete widgets, or scroll down to the "Edit" option that lets you see all of your widgets in a quick view list, including those from third-party developers.

Widgets on the Home Screen

Any widget that's available in the Today View can also be added to the Home Screen. You can drag them out from the Today View or long press on the Home Screen to get to the interface editing options.


In this view, tap on the "+" button to get to the Widget Gallery to put a new widget right on the Home Screen. Widgets on the Home Screen behave just like app icons, they're just a bit bigger.

Widgets can be placed on the Home Screen right alongside apps. A small widget takes up the space of four apps in a square shape, a medium widget takes up the space of eight apps in a rectangle shape, and a large widget takes up the space of 16 apps in a square shape.

You can have widgets next to apps or a screen that's all widgets, and everything can be rearranged by long pressing on the Home Screen to get to jiggle mode and then just dragging icons around.


App Library

Along with widget redesign and the option to add widgets to the Home Screen, Apple added an App Library, designed to let you see all of the apps that you have in one easy to access place.


App Library can be accessed by swiping from right to left through all of the Home Screen app pages until you get to the end. The App Library features smart organization, and all of the apps installed on your iPhone are separated into smart folders.

Some of the folder options include Productivity, Utilities, Social, Creativity, Reference & Reading, Health & Fitness, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Games, Apple Arcade, and Education.

There is no way to change the organization of the folders because it's automatic. Each folder displays your top three most used apps along with a collection of four app icons that you can tap on to see all of the other apps in that particular folder.

Apple has also added a "Suggestions" folder based on your app usage habits that houses apps you might want to use at a particular time. There's also a "Recently Added" folder to make it easy to find your newest apps. If you want your App Library apps to show notification badges, open up the Settings app, choose "Home Screen" and then toggle on the "Show in App Library" option under Notification Badges.


Long pressing on the main App Library page causes the apps to jiggle, letting apps be deleted right from the App Library. Alternatively, you can also long press on any app icon and select the "Delete app" option.
App Library Search

The App Library has another view, which is an alphabetical list of all of the apps you have installed. You can get to it by tapping on the search bar at the top of the App Library interface.


In the alphabetical list, you can scroll through all of the apps, search for an app, or use the letter bar at the right side of the app to skip to a specific app. You can launch apps from the alphabetical list in the App Library, but you can't delete apps from that location.

Hiding Home Screen Pages and Apps

With all apps available in the App Library, there's no longer a need to have apps on your Home Screen or Home Screen pages if you'd rather have a cleaner look for your iPhone.


In fact, you can hide entire app pages (the pages you swipe between to get to different screens of apps) or you can hide specific apps one by one. To hide whole app pages, long press on the Home Screen or any app page to enter the jiggle editing mode, then tap on the icon at the bottom that has a series of dots representing each page of apps.

From here, you can check or uncheck any app page that you want to hide. You can hide all but one app page, because at least one needs to be visible.

If you want to hide a specific app rather than an entire page, just long press on the app's icon, tap "Edit Home Screen," tap on the "-" icon on the app, and then choose the "Remove from Home Screen" option. If you want to add the icon back to the Home Screen, find the app in App Library, long press on the icon, and then choose the "Add to Home Screen" option.


To download all new apps to the App Library rather than the Home Screen, go to Settings > Home Screen and tap the "App Library Only" option under New App Downloads.
Guide Feedback

Have questions about the iOS 14 Home Screen changes, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: iOS 14 Home Screen Changes: App Library, Widgets, Hiding Apps and More
 
Last edited:

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
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22,330
I'm not sure what to make of widgets on the home screen. It starts to replicate the visual clutter of Live Tiles. I guess I'll have to try it out to make a final judgement, but right now the look of it doesn't appeal to me. I do like the App Library though.
I was super excited for it, and then I realized that what I wanted all along was 1x1 widgets—basically, app icons that could update with new information, like the clock and calendar have done for years.

I suppose that'd be like Live Tiles too, but at least it wouldn't take four icon spots just to see the current temperature.
 

AppliedMicro

macrumors 6502a
Aug 17, 2008
623
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Widgets and App Library with its alphabetical sorting remind me of Windows Phone.

(And I don't mean this in a bad way)
 
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Cyroceon

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2008
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Would love to see a similar write-up for iPadOS 14. The changes are similar, but there are some key differences. Notably, there is no App Library, nor the ability to add widgets to Home Screen (you can do it in the Today view, but not among the other app icons, as with iOS 14).
 

JonGarrett

macrumors member
Mar 27, 2016
33
58
New York, NY
Hmm, no wigdets or app library on the ipad? Not seeing it...
Not yet
- - Post merged: - -

I was super excited for it, and then I realized that what I wanted all along was 1x1 widgets—basically, app icons that could update with new information, like the clock and calendar have done for years.

I suppose that'd be like Live Tiles too, but at least it wouldn't take four icon spots just to see the current temperature.

It's amazing to read what you just wrote. You waited 10 years for widgets??
 

jclo

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Dec 7, 2012
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California
Would love to see a similar write-up for iPadOS 14. The changes are similar, but there are some key differences. Notably, there is no App Library, nor the ability to add widgets to Home Screen (you can do it in the Today view, but not among the other app icons, as with iOS 14).
There's not a lot new with the Home Screen in iPadOS, not even enough for a write up like this. It's iOS 13 with the new widget design in Today View.
 
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miamialley

macrumors 68030
Jul 28, 2008
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Orange County, California
Would love to see a similar write-up for iPadOS 14. The changes are similar, but there are some key differences. Notably, there is no App Library, nor the ability to add widgets to Home Screen (you can do it in the Today view, but not among the other app icons, as with iOS 14).
Such a stupid omission on the part of Apple. I mean, WTH?
 

mrbobbo

macrumors newbie
Oct 15, 2007
24
63
Neat, likely useful. But just because we can have it doesn’t mean we should. What used to be phone-and-then-some has become a too-complex device that has overwhelmed “it just works”. I liked things when it was just the phone, browser, wallet, and apps. Please just stop already.
 

JGIGS

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2008
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CANADA!
I'm not sure what to make of widgets on the home screen. It starts to replicate the visual clutter of Live Tiles. I guess I'll have to try it out to make a final judgement, but right now the look of it doesn't appeal to me. I do like the App Library though.
Hmm I think I'd still rather have at least one long widget or two side by side widgets at the top, which would be mostly just for quick visual info like weather or calendar etc not usually needing to tap to get to an app, to at least push those auto top left sorted app icons down to reach without using the reachablility feature.

I'm guessing you probably haven't used an Android phone/device much, or at all? Some widgets can be decent and I think apple seems to have created a cleaner more consistent widget framework. The one thing that is unfortunate is you can't totally put them anywhere you want.
 
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PickUrPoison

macrumors 604
Sep 12, 2017
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Sunnyvale, CA
Neat, likely useful. But just because we can have it doesn’t mean we should. What used to be phone-and-then-some has become a too-complex device that has overwhelmed “it just works”. I liked things when it was just the phone, browser, wallet, and apps. Please just stop already.
According to the trolls, “customization” is what makes Android such an amazingly incredible OS 🤷‍♂️
 

d4cloo

macrumors newbie
Aug 28, 2016
7
45
Los Angeles
Hmm, no wigdets or app library on the ipad? Not seeing it...
I think the necessity to have an app library and widgets between tiles is not as high; with more screen estate the widgets separate from icons looks less cluttered and there’s enough space anyway. Similarly each page hold more apps and you’re less likely to have ’the iPhone problem’ there.
That said, for consistency reasons I’d expect Apple to add the app library because it is still useful, but not widgets-in-tiles to make it more like Big Sur.

Neat, likely useful. But just because we can have it doesn’t mean we should. What used to be phone-and-then-some has become a too-complex device that has overwhelmed “it just works”. I liked things when it was just the phone, browser, wallet, and apps. Please just stop already.
The early iOS versions were skeuomorphic in presentation and limited in features to make the audience get used to entire new concepts. As the audience became more advanced and entire new generations grew up with an iPad at the age of 2, combined with Android adding new features, Apple couldn’t stay behind and also needed to cater for this new type of audience.

I don’t have problems with these new features because you can simply opt not to use them. If you install iOS ‘clean’ it’s actually still pretty simple.

I think problematic are the many settings options (which we need but are getting harder to find) but even more so, Siri, which implies to be a simple voice based system but is in fact really hard to interact with because you don’t know what it understands and how far it gets ‘context’.
 
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ppadden

macrumors newbie
Jul 9, 2020
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0
On the Hiding Home Screen Pages and Apps screen is it possible to long-press on a page and then re-order the pages which are not hidden, or is this just a miss opportunity to bring back some of the old desktop page management options?
 
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