iOS 14 - which is available to install right now! - brings with it a raft of useful new features. iPhone users can take advantage of new widgets on the Home screen, communicate in foreign languages via the Apple Translate app, and tell everyone about it on the upgraded Messages service. But one of the most interesting changes to Apple's mobile operating system is the addition of an App Library that finally allows you to bypass the pages and pages of apps that have been resident on iPhones since the beginning.
In this article we show you how to get to grips with this important redesign and why you should be excited about its arrival. To see everything Apple announced regarding its upcoming software upgrade, read our comprehensive guide to iOS 14's new features.
What is the App Library feature in iOS 14?
Up until now, whenever you installed an app on your iPhone, its icon would be automatically deposited on the home screen or one of the adjoining ones. This meant that if you wanted to find the app you had to scroll through the various pages until you found it. Of course, you could move it to another page or place it in a folder, but it would still be somewhere on one of the home screens.
App Library changes this by creating a separate area where you can see all of your app icons. If you've ever used an Android smartphone then you'll be familiar with the idea, as it's a feature that's been on Google's platform for many years.
Where the two differ is that on Android, the apps are usually stored either in alphabetical order or sorted from the oldest to the newest. Apple's App Library groups apps together by categories instead, with the ones demonstrated at WWDC 2020 including Entertainment, Social, Creativity and Recently Added.
How to find the App Library in iOS 14
You'll find the new App Library page to the right of the last page that currently holds apps. So if you have your Home page and two additional pages at the moment, the app library will appear when you swipe left on that third page.
Before we start using the library, it's worth noting another new organisational feature that comes with it.
Apple figures that the presence of App Library means you might no longer want or need to see all those other app screens - and so there's a new way to hide them. Tap and hold on any page to enter Jiggle mode (when all of the apps jiggle around) then tap the dots along the bottom of the screen to enter the zoomed-out view. Here you'll see all of your existing pages, each with a tick underneath to indicate that they are active.
Tapping any page will disable it, meaning it no longer appears when you're swiping through pages in the normal mode. Once you're happy with the selection, tap Done and you're good to go. If you find that you miss having certain pages, you can always go back into Jiggle mode and enable them once more.
How to use the App Library in iOS 14
On the App Library page, you'll see a grid of folders, each with a name denoting the category of apps contained within. These aren't standard folders, though, as Apple has sprinkled a bit of magic to make them more useful. Each category has three large app icons and then in the bottom right corner there's a collage.
Tapping the latter will open the folder in the classic style but tapping any of the larger ones (the apps that Apple recognises as the ones you use most often) will open the app itself. Nice.
There is one exception to this rule, as the Suggestions folder is comprised entirely of large icons that your iPhone thinks will be the most useful to you at that particular moment.
Should you want to quickly track down a particular app, but don't want to search the folders, tapping the Search bar at the top of the page will open a list of all installed apps in alphabetical order. Now you can either scroll through them or type the name of the one you're after in the Search bar.
How do I get App Library on my iPhone?
App Library, the new widgets, the Translate app and improved Messages and Maps are all part of iOS 14. And the great news is that it's available right now, to everyone with a compatible iPhone.
If you've an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, an iPhone SE from 2016, or any newer iPhone than those, you're good to go. Here's how to install iOS 14 on your device.
For more information on the latest update, read 6 brilliant new features iOS 14 brings to your iPhone.