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The Impossible Move™

A while back, I lamented on Twitter about the non-functional Apple Configurator 2, which had been my preferred way of organizing apps and folders on my iOS devices:

As an example of why it's so incredibly frustrating to try to do this on an iOS device1I've confirmed the issue on both iOS and iPadOS., I offer you The Impossible Move™, otherwise known as TIM (sorry to all the Tims out there). The steps to demonstrate TIM are trivial:

  1. Create a screen full of apps and folders, such that there's no remaining space.
  2. Position a folder in the rightmost lower corner of the screen.
  3. Attempt to drag an app from another screen into that folder.

Off to the right, you can see just how impossible TIM is: Completely impossible.

When you first drag the icon over to the target screen, you can watch the target folder literally disappear. Where'd it go? Perhaps it went back to the screen you came from…but if it did, as soon as you drag back to that screen, the folder returns to its original location.


I know of only two solutions to this problem. One, of course, is to not completely fill the screen, which is my general approach. (I created this screen layout just for the purpose of the demo video.)

But that's not always possible, at least on my phone: On the first screen (the "home home screen?"), I have a large full-width widget. The presence of that widget seems to require the screen to be 100% full of icons in its remaining space—if I drag one off, then some other one is randomly placed in its spot, insuring the screen stays full. (Even worse, the widget gets relocated to the middle of the screen, with icons above and below.)

The only solution I've found that works for all cases is this one:

  1. Move the target folder to another location on the screen.
  2. Move the target app into the target folder.
  3. Move the target folder back to its original location.

To reiterate my earlier tweet…please, Apple, provide an official solution for home screen management using a Mac. The larger screen and ability to select multiple items using the mouse makes short work of organizing an ever-growing collection of apps and folders. On-device organizing is nothing but an exercise in frustration.

5 thoughts on “The Impossible Move™”

  1. bruce.desertrat

    This is why I hated, HATED it when they removed this functionality from iTunes. SWMBO has filled her iPad with vast numbers of icons (mostly websites put on her home screen, and she now has something like 15-16 screens of stuff. As HWMO I get handed it and told "Please clean this up!"

  2. There’s a workaround for “The impossible move”: instead of changing screens by dragging the icon to the left or right screen edge do this:
    1. Drag the icon to the bottom right area of the screen (where you expect your target folder to be)
    2. While still dragging, use another finger to drag left or right on the active home screen indicator (the bar at the bottom consisting of one dot per home-screen) to change to the desired screen.
    3. If you change screens with this guesture, the last icon will not disappear, and iOS will open that folder for you.

    Note: while dragging the icon to an home screen thats full, try not to trigger the home screen overview by tapping on the home screen indicator. This appears to mess up the layout of that screen

    I agree with you. Rearranging the Icons on iOS is a pain.

    That said iOS 15 has brought a lot of improvements in that regard:
    - it’s now possible to drag multiple icons at once: while dragging with one finger, tap on other icons with any other finger to add them to a stack. They will all go to your desired home screen or folder at once
    - it’s now possible to search for an application using spotlight, and then drag it’s icon out of the search view and into the folder of your choosing. That helps if you have a lot of apps and forgot where it is.
    - while dragging, home screens can be switched via the home screen indicator (using a second finger)

    Here’s hoping that further refinements are incoming.

  3. You shouldn’t have to organize every single app into multiple folders and screens. Just use App Library + search. So much less time consuming with just one Home Screen.

    1. I personally hate the App Library, and if I could disable it, I would. It adds an extra navigation panel, and Apple's method of organizing in no way matches my own preferred logic.

      That said, I *do* use Spotlight 99% of the time, but I still like to maintain an orderly structure on the phone, and add and remove apps on a regular basis. The old iTunes solution was essentially perfect for this, and Configurator 2 would be fine now ... if it worked.


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