I’ve sorted my apps by colour

And it was a great idea, you should do it, too!

Carsten Sandtner
Mac O’Clock

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An iPhone homescreen
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

Since I’ve been using iPhones, I am looking for the perfect system, arranging my apps on several screens. I’ve tried methods like unsorted, sorted by app-type (game, business etc.), sorted by alphabet or using tons of folders. None worked out for me. With one exception: the first screen. It always has a structure: It contains all the apps that I use daily. But everything else was a mess.

At some day, I was on the hunt for a specific app (Daylio to be precise). Flicking through the screens, scanning for the icon. The icon is green with a smiley. I have overlooked the app probably 2–3 times, while scanning through the screens.

This was the moment I figured out I’m searching for a specific colour while I’m looking for an app. Start the App Store? Search for a blue Icon. Facetime? Green! Daylio? Green! And so on.

Most App-Developers and companies have a corporate identity. DHL is yellow, McDonald’s is green with a yellow M. Netflix? Red N on black background. That’s what I am scanning for when flipping through my messy number of apps at unsorted screens. It is very likely that you remember the colour of an app icon. More likely than remember the name.

Why not sorting apps by color?

First, some rules

Well, I did it. I’ve sorted my apps by colour. Every colour has an own screen. There are some specific rules:

If the background of an icon is white, it’s being located on the screen for white apps. Black background? Right, black! That’s why I put Netflix at the screen for black apps, not red. Black is dominating at Netflix icon. The same rules apply to white backgrounds. Health App, Files App or Google Maps? White Background, off to the white apps page.

Another challenge is similar colours. For example, I put brown app icons on my screen for yellow apps. And turquoise is at blue apps. That’s a matter of taste. For me, it works very well.

Everything may sound a bit weird, but works overall. Take a look at the screens, and you’ll get an idea of what I mean.

Examples of colour sorted apps (screens by author)

After using this method for some months now, I can say it works perfect for me. I’m a lot faster locating Apps, swiping through the screens.

What about using Spotlight?

Some may think: Use Spotlight. I do, but in the single-handed operation of the phone, swiping is often faster than typing. Especially when you’re walking, cycling or to quickly launch Google Maps in a car (It’s a white icon, btw!). And there are situations when I’ve forgotten the name of the app, but I remember the colour of its icon.

Conclusion

The system works perfect for me. There are some tweaks like:

  • Important apps on the first screen. No matter what colour!
  • Some folders on my last screen. Collecting the rest.

The folders are for Apps like Pages, Numbers etc. and all my Campsite Apps (Park4Night, ProMobil etc.). And yes, all Games are in a folder as I’ve only got half a dozen, and they have very colourful icons.

Sorting by colour has significantly reduced my time to find an app. I was very surprised. And best of all, the colour sorted pages just look better — they are beautiful.

What is your best strategy arranging your apps on an iPad or iPhone?

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Carsten Sandtner
Mac O’Clock

Tech, Travel, and Life. Apple addict who loves travelling with his camper van and writing about mentioned topics.