How to use the Home screen on iPhone or iPad: The ultimate guide

How to use the Home screen on iPhone or iPad: The ultimate guide

The Home screen — known behind the scenes as SpringBoard — is the central hub of iPhone and iPad activity. It's not a destination. You're not meant to linger there and stare. It's a transport, a gateway. It's what gets you to your apps and your content. From the Home screen you can tap app and game icons, music and video players, web browsers and online stores. You can also access Spotlight to quickly search for apps, content, and more, and invoke Multitasking, Notification Center, Control Center, Siri, and more.

How to change the Home screen wallpaper to customize your iPhone or iPad

How to change the wallpaper on your iPhone or iPad

One of the ways to make your iPhone or iPad your own is to set a different or unique wallpaper for your Lock screen, your Home screen, or both. As long as the photo is roughly the right resolution and aspect ratio, it should look great. You can change your wallpaper in either the Settings app or the Photos app.

How to rearrange app icons to customize your iPhone or iPad Home screen

How to rearrange app icons to customize your iPhone or iPad Home screen

The iPhone and iPad Home screen is an app launcher — it contains a grid of icons that represent all the apps on your device, and if you tap one, you launch the app. The iPhone and iPad come with a full suite of Apple apps built-in, but you can add many, many more through the App Store. Once you have a bunch of apps, however, you might want to change the way they're organized. For example, if you use Facebook a lot you might want to put that on the front page. If you use Camera a lot and Phone not very much, maybe you want to switch its place in the dock? Luckily, iOS makes it easy to organize your apps just the way you want!

How to create, change, and delete app folders on your iPhone or iPad

How to create folders and add apps on your iPhone or iPad

The iPhone Home screen can hold dozens and dozens of apps, but thanks to folders, that number leaps up to thousands. Folders lets you collect and organize apps of a similar type, or for a similar task, all together in one place. Bets of all, they're simple to create, simple to change, and simple to delete.

How to quit or kill multiple apps at once on your iPhone or iPad

Multitasking now provides full on background processing for every app — and intelligently so! Basically, iOS waits until it thinks you need something, then makes sure it's there when you do. If one app needs access to data, it organizes other apps that might need access too. This all combines to let your iPhone and iPad stay responsive, and your battery life stay long-lasting. But what happens when something goes wrong, or you decide you want to quit or kill an app and its processes? Easy! With the multitasking card view, you can close up to three apps at one!

How to access and use Spotlight search on your iPhone or iPad

How to access and use Spotlight search on your iPhone or iPad

Spotlight is an easy way to find almost anything on your iPhone or iPad. From the field you can search for music and apps, contacts and email messages, and much, much more. Best of all, Spotlight is easily accessible from the Home screen — any Home screen!

How to access and use Notification Center from the Home screen on your iPhone or iPad

How to use Notification Center for iPhone and iPad

Notification Center collects and organizes all your alerts, all in one place, including on the Home screen. Whether they're in Notification Center proper, or a banner or a popup, whether they beep or buzz, Notification Center does all it can to make sure you get all the alerts you need.

How to access and use Control Center from the Home screen on iPhone or iPad

How to access and start using iOS 7 Control Center

Control Center can be called up right from the Home screen. Once activated, Control Center gives you instant control over radios like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and lets you toggle Airplane mode and orientation lock. There are also media controls for your audio and volume, brightness controls, and a way to quickly launch everything from the camera to the calculator.

How to access and use Siri on the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad

How to set up, configure, secure, and start using Siri

Siri is Apple's virtual, personal, digital assistant with a personality straight out of a Pixar film. With Siri, your iPhone or iPad can help you do all sorts of amazing things, from keeping in contact, to keeping on time, to keeping informed. And you can access all of it right from your Home screen!

How to restart, reset, or recover your iPhone or iPad

How to restart or reset your iPhone or iPad

Most of the time you'll want your iPhone or iPad on and ready to go at a click of the sleep/wake or Home button's notice. And most of the time it'll work just fine at that click. But once and while you may want to power off your iPhone or iPad for a period of time, or you may want to restart it — or even reset or recover it — to get it working like it should. Luckily, all of that is easy to do!

How to get more help with the Home screen and iOS

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How to use the Home screen on iPhone or iPad: The ultimate guide


I think it's obvious you're not meant to linger and stare at the home screen due to the complete lack of information available there. That's one thing that would get me to switch back from Android. I love being able to see my text messages, emails, music player, calendar, weather, and whatever else from the home screen without having to launch an app.

I doubt Apple would ever implement home screen widgets though. It'd be such an obvious acknowledgement that Android has been doing something right.

Posted via my Galaxy Note 3 on the Android iMore App

Apple's doing better than home screen widgets: They're doing Notification Center widgets.

The advantage is you don't have to go back to the home screen or page around for them. You can just swipe down from wherever you are, Home screen, Lock screen, or app screen, and they're right there:

Available this fall!

Rather than a personal insult, how about presenting a cogent argument as to why it isn't better?

I stated the pro side above: It lets you instantly access your widgets from where ever you are in the OS: Lock screen, Home screen, or inside apps. You're never more than a swipe away. What's the counter-argument?

As someone who uses and enjoys both iOS and Android, I like the way Apple has implemented widgets. Oh and go troll else.

Sent from the iMore App

I think any iPhone/iPad user knows all this already. I guess you guys had nothing better to with your time then tell us what we already know.

Sent from the iMore App

We get emails from people who don't know they can press the sleep button and think they have to wait for their iPhone to turn off on its own.

Everyone is brand new to the iPhone or iPad some time. Everyone has friends and family who aren't into gadgets and come to us for tech support.

We do lots of posts for the nerds. Some, like this, we do for regular people who just want to know more about their devices.

I wish I didn't have to explain this every time, but I guess I do.

I'm sorry if it's too easy for you. Please save the link so that the next time someone asks you for help, you can send them to us instead of having to provide that support yourself.

We'll do it happily!

Well, back to the topic at hand.

People look at me funny sometimes but the "grid of icons" is one of the reasons I like iOS better than Android. I don't like a lot of information staring me in the face and when I'm using Android I inevitably get to a point where that happens (cause it is fun and I can't help myself!).

So it is better for me to just have a basic list of apps that I can just hop in to and then go about my business. I get an odd look or two when I tell people I want less choice/customization.