Apple introduced some exciting new Home screen features with the release of iOS 14, including the App Library. The App Library lives to the right of your last Home screen and holds every app installed on your device, but it’s not for everyone.
If you can’t get to grips with the App Library or simply don’t like how it works, we’ll show you what to do about it below. Unfortunately, you can’t disable or hide the App Library, but you can learn to live alongside it.
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What is the App Library?
The App Library is a new Home screen on your iPhone that lists every single app on your device. Apple automatically organizes apps in the App Library using smart folders or by alphabetizing them when you tap the Search bar.
To access the App Library, keep swiping from right to left to go past your last Home screen.
Apple intended the App Library to replace excessive, disorganized Home screens which hold apps you don’t use that often. With iOS 14 you can choose to delete apps from these Home screens while keeping them on your device. When you do that, you can still find them in the App Library.
You can also hide entire Home screens in iOS 14. If you wanted, you could hide all of them and only use the App Library to find apps.
But while Apple intended the App Library to simplify iPhone organization, it’s not for everybody, and some users would prefer to hide or disable the App Library instead.
How do I disable the App Library?
Unfortunately, you can’t disable or hide the App Library in iOS 14. This organizational tool is here to stay. But if you really can’t stand the App Library, you don’t need to use it.
Apple tucked the App Library away on the right edge of your last Home screen. There was nothing there before iOS 14.
So if you don’t like the App Library, all you need to do is avoid swiping past your last Home screen and you can totally forget it exists.
There are, however, a couple of settings you might need to change to ensure you don’t find yourself in a situation where you need to use the App Library.
1. Make sure new apps don’t save to the App Library
With iOS 14, it’s possible to send new apps straight to the App Library to avoid them cluttering up your precious Home screens. If you don’t want to use the App Library, you definitely don’t want this to happen.
Go to Settings > Home Screen and select Add to Home Screen.
This ensures that any new apps you download appear on your Home screen, rather than hiding away in the App Library.
2. Make sure all your Home screens are visible
One of the reasons Apple introduced the App Library was because some users felt frustrated at how cluttered their Home screens had become. In previous versions of iOS, you were forced to give every app a place on one of your Home screens, leaving you with countless screens of messy apps.
With the App Library, that is no longer the case. And now, Apple lets you hide Home screens entirely so you don’t need to worry about reorganizing them.
Of course, if you don’t want to use the App Library, you don’t want to hide any Home screens either. Otherwise you might be unable to find an app that is sitting in a hidden Home screen.
To show all your Home screens, tap and hold in a blank space on the Home screen to enter Jiggle mode. Now tap the Home screen dots at the bottom of the screen to see a zoomed-out view of every Home screen on your iPhone.
Tap each Home screen to enable the Check icon and make sure it shows up on your iPhone. Any Home screens without the Check icon are hidden from view.
3. Start using Spotlight to open apps
If you don’t like the App Library but you don’t want to keep all your Home screens either, you can use Spotlight to open apps instead.
Simply drag down from the middle of your Home screen to reveal a search bar. Then start typing the name of the app you want to open and tap it in the search results to launch it.
Using Spotlight, you can minimize your Home screens without needing to use the App Library every time you’re looking for a hidden app.
Learn to appreciate the App Library
The App Library is far from perfect. If you have a lot of other Home screens, it still takes a while to get to the App Library. And once you do so, Apple’s automatic categories often put apps in strange locations and make them even harder to find.
It’s understandable why you might want to hide or disable the App Library. But you should consider learning to embrace it instead.
With the App Library, you can simplify your Home screens, make more space to add new iOS widgets, and still retain easy access to all of your apps. There’s a lot to like about the App Library, so why not give it a shot?
Dan is a freelance writer based in South West England.
He spent two years supervising repairs as a Genius Admin for Apple Retail and uses that knowledge to keep our troubleshooting guides up to date.
Long before that, Dan turned to Apple products from a musical background. Having owned iPods for years, he bought a MacBook to learn sound recording and production. It was using those skills that he gained a first-class Bachelor of Science in Sound Technology.