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Methods for Organizing Your Apps

8630623522_16d6a90bf1_mProfHacker has featured several posts about various mobile apps. See for instance the Open Thread Wednesday dedicated to (y)our Favorite Weather Apps, guest author Ian MacInnes’s post on “Finding the Best iOS App for Annotation and Note-Taking,” and my previous post on GradeBook Pro to name just a few.

But once you have all of these apps, what do you do with them? Or how do you organize them so that you can access them quickly and easily? Are you someone who has a dozen different screens that you must weed through on a regular basis? Or do you have a system?

I have a system. I adopted it a year or so ago, and it has worked wonders for me. One of the reasons I was reluctant to switch to iOS in the first place was the overwhelming number of different apps available for even the simplest of tasks. Most iPhone users I knew had screen after screen of apps, with no apparent rhyme or reason to their arrangement. That would drive me crazy. From the start, I began to group apps together, but I struggled with how to organize my folders so that I could find things quickly. Too many apps fit into more than one category: does RunKeeper fit into Health? Productivity? Fun? Other?

Then I came across a post in LifeHacker, “Organize Your Apps by Utility.” Its suggestion is as straightforward as it sounds. Instead of organizing apps by the overly general categories that Apple assigns in the iTunes store, group them by what they do. Or, group them as verbs rather as nouns. Simple, logical, and easy to remember. I have folders titled “listen” (Shazam, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio), “watch” (Video, YouTube, AmazonInstant, NetFlix), “forecast” (the home of my favorite weather apps: Accuweather, Dark Sky, Haze, and others), “navigate” (my maps and GPS-based apps), and “travel” (TripIt and Kayak to name a few).

All together, I have seventeen folders over two screens. In addition, there are a few apps that I have not placed in folders–the ones I use most frequently such as Calculator, Calendar, and Settings.

Of course, there are other possible systems to organize your apps, including the system of not having a system. What is most important is to find something that works for you. This post from TechCrunch identifies the 5 most common ways users organize their apps. In addition to utility, you might consider groupings according to frequency of use, aesthetic preferences (maybe you want to have just a few apps on your home screen so you can see a photograph of your children or a pet).

How do you organize your apps? Please share in the comments section (and please note, I have focused on iOS because it’s what I know–Android users also welcome!)

[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user DaveLawler].

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