Has an app gone missing from your iPhone or iPad? Or are you looking for a specific app but just simply can’t find it? Or maybe you recently downloaded a new app but can’t locate it on your Home Screen or iPhone? If so, you are not alone!
Each week we receive comments and emails from our readers about locating lost and missing apps! And usually the fix is very simple–it’s just inside a folder!
After you update your iPhone’s iOS, apps sometimes move to new locations or folders. Sometimes you just lose sight of it due to all that screen clutter. Or deleted it to make space for a new iOS or app update.
Whatever the reason, we got some great tips to help uncover your missing apps.
So let’s get to it!
- Apps Missing After iOS Update?
- Haven’t Used An App in Awhile?
- Use Spotlight Search To Locate Missing Apps
- Look In Folders
- Open The App Store To Find Lost Apps
- Ask Siri to Open Your Missing Apps
- Check Restrictions
- Reset Your Home Screen Layout
Apps Missing After iOS Update?
Sometimes after updating your iOS, apps go missing. It’s often that these apps reverted to the default position on the Home Screen–so if you collect your apps into groups and folders, check your Home Screens first.
Restarting or force restarting your iDevice after an update also helps to put apps back in place.
Haven’t Used An App in Awhile?
If you don’t often use that app that’s gone missing, it’s quite possible that it got offloaded using a feature first launched in iOS 11 called Offload Unused Apps.
To check if this feature is on, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Offload Unused Apps. If it’s toggled on, toggle it off.
Then visit the App Store and search for your missing apps using App Store > Updates > Tap Your Profile Picture or Icon > Purchased > Not on This iPhone to re-download any missing apps.
Use Spotlight Search To Locate Missing Apps
- Get to your Home Screen
- Swipe down from the middle of the screen to open Spotlight Search
- Type in the name of the app you’re looking for
- In the results, look under the heading Applications
- If you don’t see the app under Applications, the app is not on your device
- Scroll down on the search results to choose Search App Store to download and install it
- Tap the app to open or look to the right to see what folder that app currently resides in
- If you don’t see a folder listed to the right of the app name, then the app is not in a folder. Check your Home Screen(s) to locate it
Look In Folders
If you organize your apps inside folders, missing or lost apps are usually there!
Remember that all folders can have multiple pages or screens, so don’t forget to swipe through all the folder’s screens.
Folder icons only show the app previews of apps on the first page of each folder–so make sure you actually open and swipe through your folders.
Look for a series of small dots at the bottom center of each folder–these indicate how many different pages your folder has.
Open The App Store To Find Lost Apps
Launch the App Store App
- Tap the Search tab
- Type in the name of the app you want into the search bar
- Your app appears in the search results
- Tap Open to launch it
- If it shows a cloud icon or says Get or anything other than Open, then the app is no longer on your device
- Tap the cloud icon or Get button to download and install
Alternatively, 3D Touch the App Store Icon
- Choose Search
- Follow steps 2-6 as listed above
Look Through Your Purchased Apps in the App Store
- Go to the App Store > Updates > Tap Your Profile Picture or Icon > Purchased > My Purchases (or Family Purchases)
- Choose Not on This iPhone
- Download any missing apps you or family members previously purchased by tapping the cloud icon
Ask Siri to Open Your Missing Apps
Siri can open apps for you and it’s super simple. Just ask her!
- If you enabled “Hey, Siri,” simply say “Hey, Siri open my Apple Music App” (or whatever app you’re searching for)
- Or launch Siri using your iPhone’s Home or Side button and ask her to open your app for you.
- You may need to wait for Siri to appear before you ask
Surprisingly, Siri cannot tell you what specific folder houses an app. Not sure why, but we’d love to see this feature in future versions of Siri!
If you use a company device or share a device with your children, parent, or others, there may be restrictions on the device preventing you from opening or locating an app.
When you turn on Restrictions, you can disable access to and hide certain apps, services, and content until Restrictions are turned off.
Check Restrictions on iOS 12 +
- Go to Settings > Screen Time
- Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions
- Enter your Screen Time Passcode (if asked)
- Toggle Content & Privacy Restrictions Off or change the settings
Check Restrictions for iOS 11 and lower
- Open Settings > General > Restrictions
- Enter restrictions passcode, if asked
- If you forgot your restrictions passcode, take a look at this article
- Tap Disable Restrictions to turn it completely off or change some of the restriction settings to unhide the apps you want access to
Reset Your Home Screen Layout
If you really have trouble locating apps, consider resetting your Home Screen’s layout. To do this, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Home Screen Layout.
Performing a layout reset restores your native Apple apps to their original location on your top Home Screen and then places all the rest of your apps in alphabetical order, making them very easy to find.
Resetting your Home Screen Layout also delete all your app folders. So you need to create your app folders again.
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.