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iOS 4 App Folders and Homescreen Wallpaper [iOS 4 Tour Pt. 2]

June 21, 2010 by Rob  
Filed under Apple, Devices, Firmware, News, Tips and How-To's

One thing about running AppChatter is that I tend to install a lot of apps. Organizing these apps on the old, flat view was painful to put it mildly. So, if you had 148 apps installed (and thus filled all of your app screens) relief has come today with the new iOS 4 update available now in iTunes.

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I’ve actually been using this feature for a few weeks now (being a paid Apple developer has some minor perks) and I spent a good hour or so with my iPhone just organizing all of these apps into folders. Holy, what a pain! However, now that I’m done it is much nicer, although I’d say there’s still some room for improvement :O.

There’s really two ways to create folders on your device and to start organizing apps, the first is through the device itself and the second is using iTunes and then syncing or organized madness to the device. I chose the former since many of my apps are not even on the computer yet (installed directly to my iPhone). So, I sat down in front of the TV a while back and set out to do some major app-organizing-surgery with this newly added feature. After about an hour (or so) of dragging apps around I felt as though I was getting close, but it still needs improvement (my approach to organization, that is).

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To create a folder is easy, simply touch and hold an app icon and once they start jiggling you simply drag one icon onto another. As you do this, the icon will get swallowed by the first icon and then morph into a folder. Apple, er the OS, will attempt to assign the folder a name that it feels make sense or you can give the folder a different name. Once the folder is created (icons still jiggly), just touch anywhere to return to the homescreen and drag some more apps to the folder. Repeat as many times as you need to in order to organize your app madness.

Now gone are the days of multiple flicking of the homescreen to get to page 11 of apps for your most recently installed apps. I went from 11 screens to 4 nicely organized screens. However, as I mentioned earlier, the method, madness and process is not without problems. For starters, I’m lazy (yes, I admit that), the problem with app folders is that it will require constant up-keep and maintenance (read: manual maintenance) to keep your apps organized. If you’re like me, you’ll probably do this organization step once then never again and you’ll be back to 4 screens of organization and 7 more of madness. So, with this, the fact that the organization is not automated in any way, means that it will likely just be a gimmick for most people. This is a major drawback and, in my opinion, major oversight of this “feature.”

Up next: Homescreen wallpaper – yay!!

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Yes, on iOS 4 you can now set a homescreen wallpaper. I’m talking about changing the background behind the app icons from black (what it’s been for 3 years unless you jailbreak) to someting snazzy and cool. Unfortunately, this is only available on the latest devices, though I’m not exactly sure why since it seems pretty rudimentary.

To set a new homescreen wallpaper simply launch the settings app, touch wallpaper and you will then see which image is set for either the lock screen or the homescreen. Touching either of these puts you into pic-select mode where you can set any pic or supplied wallpaper to either of the screens. It’s that easy, and it’s pretty cool.

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