Most versions of Android allow you to group related apps on a home screen by using the drag and drop onto an app method. This is where you find the app you want to place into a group and drag it to the preferred home screen. If this is the first one in the group, just drop it onto the home screen, then find another, related, app and this time drag it from the the app drawer and hold it over the app you want to group it with. Sometimes, the app ‘underneath’ will quickly zip out of the way, but be patient and persist and carefully drop it on top of the app and you will now see a new icon in it’s place that represents the two. If you then tap on this to open the group, you can rename it to whatever you want to call the new group of apps you have created. The example shown to the left has 12 Google-related apps in the group and it has been named (appropriately) ‘Google’.
Finding apps in the drawer itself can also be a nuisance, especially after a few months of installing and removing apps – some app ‘drawers’ (the place you go to to see all your apps in one place) – can end up in a mess. Finding an app becomes an exercise in frustration but this does depend on the Android version your device is running.
My Nexus 7 for instance, that runs KitKat isn’t a problem as every time a new app is installed, the app drawer is automatically sorted in alphabetical order so a newly installed app (provided you remember what it’s called!) is easy to locate. However, on my phone running JellyBean, it is a different story – apps end up jumbled in seemingly random order. In fact, they are arranged by the date installed, so at least the latest one added to the phone can be found – on the last app drawer screen!
I decided to go searching for a way to re-order the drawer apps into the order I preferred and (at least in JellyBean), this isn’t available by simply changing a setting. Here’s how to do this on JellyBean and some earlier devices.
Open the app drawer and then tap the wee pencil (crayon?) at the top right. This will now show little crosses at the top left of most installed apps – the ones without the crosses came preinstalled on your device and can’t be uninstalled, but they can still be moved as can the others. Simply tap, hold and drag any app to where you want it to go. This can take a bit of practice, but soon you will get the hang of it – to move an app to the screen left or right of the current one, just tap, hold and drag it to the side of the screen you want to go to and it will then change screens. Release the app to place it where you want it to end up. Like many things related to moving apps around within Android this can take some patience and perseverance, but it does work – promise!
I found it was easier to start with the apps starting with ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ and drag them all to the leftmost screen first, then proceed to the next letters. If you prefer to organise them another way – say all the Google apps together on one screen, then all the game apps on another – then of course you can do this too. My tip is to always leave some free space at the bottom of every screen so that if a new app is added you don’t need to rearrange many to make room for it.
In my opinion, sorting by alphabetical order in the app drawer makes the most sense because you can always place commonly used apps of the same type on your home screens in groups as I’ve showed you above. I reckon this is one of the better aspects of Android compared to Apple devices – you can set it up the way it suits you.