How to use folders to organize the apps you use for caregiving

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At a Glance

Getting and staying organized is paramount to caregiving and it is just as important for you to keep the digital tools you use for caregiving organized as it is for all your other tools. For those of you with iPhones, an easy way to do that is to use the folders feature that comes with your phone. It allows you to group together related apps or apps you use for a singular purpose - such as taking care of your mom or dad - and place them in a folder, which makes them easy to find and access. Android phones have a similar feature that works in much the same way.

Cost: Free

Available on: Android and iOS (i.e., Apple) mobile devices

Restrictions: None


When it comes to caregiving, the phrase “time is of the essence” is an understatement. Especially if you’re a member of the sandwich generation.

Like most people in that situation, you have “things to do, places to be and people to see.'' So too does your spouse, your kids, your parents, and your in-laws and somehow it has become your responsibility to make it all happen. It can be quite overwhelming.

That’s one of the main reasons why we created Caregiver’s Best Friend. We want to introduce you to some tools that will help you better manage your day and make your life a little bit easier. But like with most tools, if they end up scattered about, they won’t do you much good.

Many of the tools we will be introducing you to will be apps, which more often then not you’ll probably use with your smartphone. Over time, as you read our blog and find apps to add to your phone you could end up with a plethora of apps that could prove useful, if only you could find them when you need them.

To make them easy to find, I recommend grouping them into folders, which is something that is quite easy to do with an iPhone.*

How to group apps into folders with an iPhone*

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Step 1: Decide which apps you want grouped together

The first thing you need to do is decide which apps you want to group. For example, if when caring for your mom you regularly use Privacy, Shipt, DoorDash, Takl and Meetup, you may want to group them together into a folder you call “Mom’s Apps.”

Step 2: Long press one of the apps you want grouped

Screenshot of app icons on an iPhone in jiggle mode

Next, place your thumb or index finger on top of one of the apps you want to group and gently press down until the app icons on your screen start jiggling and an “x” appears in their upper left hand corner. Then remove your thumb (or finger) from the screen.

Step 3: Drag and drop the app you just long-pressed on to one of the other apps you want to place into the same folder

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With the icons jiggling, use your index finger to drag and drop the app you long-pressed in Step 2 on to one of the other apps you want grouped together in the same folder.  Doing so will create a folder and inside it will be the two apps you stacked on top of each other.

Step 4: Rename the folder

Screenshot of a newly renamed folder on an iPhone

Tap the folder to enlarge it, then tap the name that was generated when the folder was created. Use the on screen keyboard to replace it with a name of your own choosing. Tap the screen anywhere outside the folder’s borders to return it to its normal size.

Step 5: Add additional apps to the folder

With the icons still jiggling, place any additional apps you want in the folder by dragging and dropping them on to the folder. The number of apps you can place in a folder depends on the iPhone model you have and which version of the iOS operating system you have running on your phone.

Step 6: Return your screen back to normal

Closeup photo of an iPhone X

After you finish filling the folder with all the apps you want to group, it’s time to stop the icons from jiggling. If you have an iPhone 8 or older model, press the home button. If you have an iPhone X or newer model, tap “Done” located at the top of your screen.

Once the icons stop jiggling, you will have successfully placed the apps into a folder making them easier to find and more likely to be used.

How to launch apps grouped within a folder

To launch an app that has been placed inside a folder, tap the folder to enlarge it then tap the app.

Depending on which model iPhone you have, after you have finished using the app close it by pressing the home button or tapping “Done” then tap anywhere outside the folder’s borders to return it to its normal size.

How to remove apps from a folder

To remove an app from a folder, tap the folder to enlarge it. Place your thumb or index finger on the app you want to remove and press down until it and the other apps within the folder start jiggling. Drag the app out of the folder.

Return the folder to its normal size by tapping the screen anywhere outside the folder’s borders. Afterward, depending on the iPhone model you have, press the home button or tap “Done” to stop the icons from jiggling.

Limitations

Placing apps into folders is a great way to get organized, but what if you care for more than one person and you want to create a folder for both of them and place some of the same apps into each folder?

Unfortunately, the App Store does not allow you to download and place more than one version of the same app onto your phone. The same is true for Google Play. Thus at first glance, it would appear that placing the same app into multiple folders isn’t going to be an option for you.

If you do a little research on the internet, however, you will find some articles on how to jailbreak your phone and clone your apps so at least in theory there is a way to end up with multiple versions of the same app on your phone.

Technically it isn’t illegal, at least in the United States, but unless you are extremely tech savvy, I wouldn’t recommend it. And even if you are, I still wouldn’t recommend it.

Why? Because there is a much easier workaround that anyone can do and that I am going to write about next week.

In the meantime, if you know of other ways to group and organize apps, we’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.


*Android phones have a feature for organizing apps that is similar to the iPhone.