How to navigate your Home screen on iPhone and iPad

Learning to navigate your home screen on iPhone and iPad is not as easy as it seems. With all the new added features, such as widgets and the app library, it may not be clear where to start at all. The good news is that you can start mastering your home screen by learning the basics. Here’s what you need to know.

Do you already know how to navigate the home screen, but want to learn more?

Understand how to navigate your home screen on iPhone and iPad

Unlike a PC or Mac, the home screen of iPhone and iPad is a place where you can save any app, shortcut, and widget you have installed. It started quite simply, but has gained more and more functionality over the years, though much of it has been tucked away to lessen confusion. That way, if you do not want it, you never have to see it. If you’re curious about how you can swipe one way to get to Today View widgets and another to get more apps, how to drag the Notification Center down or drag the Control Center up, then this is where it all lives .

Source: iMore

How to get to the home screen

You get to the home screen by pressing the Home button. You may need to unlock your iPhone or iPad first or press the Home button twice instead of once if you are in Control Center, Notification Center or another mode. However, the principle is always the same: Home takes you home, anywhere and anytime.

If your iPhone or iPad is locked with a password:

  1. click on Home button.
  2. Enter the 4-digit, 6-digit or alphanumeric password.

    Source: iMore

If your iPhone or iPad is locked with Touch ID, Apple’s fingerprint identity sensor will:

  1. Place your Touch ID registered finger on Home button.
  2. click on Home button.

    Source: iMore

If your device is locked with Face ID, Apple’s biometric identity sensor will:

  1. Raise to wake up or pressure to wake up your iPhone or iPad.
  2. On iPhone, look on the screen in portrait mode. On iPad, look on the screen in either portrait or landscape mode. Make sure your finger does not cover the TrueDepth camera.
  3. Iron up from the bottom of the screen to unlock.

    Source: iMore

How to change home screens

Your iPhone or iPad may have more than one home screen. That way, you can have more apps than would fit on one page. The number of dots to the right of the main home screen shows you how many additional home screens you have. To switch between them:

  1. Swipe from right to left to go to the next home page.
  2. Swipe from left to right to return to the previous home page.
  3. click on Home button to go to the main website (first). Or iron up on Face ID-based devices.

    Source: iMore

To launch apps from the Home screen

Starting an app from the Home screen couldn’t be easier:

  1. Press app’s icon on the home screen.

    Source: iMore

To see quick actions with 3D Touch or Haptic Touch on the Home screen

On iPhone 6s or later, you can tap an app icon to bring up fast actions. Doing this involves either 3D Touch or Haptic Touch. The former uses capacitive sensors integrated in the smartphone screen to detect three degrees of pressure in a user’s touch and responds differently based on the amount of pressure exerted. The latter does not detect pressure. Instead, it records how long you leave your finger on the UI element. When you tap an app icon long enough, you will see the list of quick actions.

Whether you use 3D Touch or Haptic Touch, these actions act as shortcuts to the app. Some apps have multiple quick actions, including dynamic quick actions that update based on the last person you contacted, the article you read, shows, you saw, etc. Tap an action to go directly to that feature or content in the app.

  1. Press firmly on the home screen icon you want to open quick actions for.
  2. Touch the action you want to perform.

    Source: iMore

How to quickly switch to open apps from the home screen

To launch an app, go back to the home screen, launch another app, go back to the home screen, restart the first app… it can be tiring. This is why your iPhone and iPad offer a faster way to jump between recently used apps.

  1. Double click Home button or, in the case of Face ID compatible devices, slowly slide your finger from the bottom of the device.
  2. Swipe to app you want to switch to. (They are in order of how recently you used them.)
  3. Press app screen to switch to it.

    Source: iMore

How to access Spotlight search

Apple’s built-in search engine, Spotlight, can be used to quickly find information in any app that supports it. It includes not only the apps that came with your iPhone or iPad, but many apps that you also download from the App Store. With it you can find things like contacts, emails, songs and much, much, more.

How to access Spotlight search on devices with Touch ID

  1. Touch finger to the home screen (between apps works best).
  2. Stroke your finger down to drag down the Spotlight search box.
  3. Enter what you are looking for.
  4. Press result you want.

    Source: iMore

How to access Spotlight search on devices with Face ID

  1. Swipe right on your home screen to get to the widget screen.
  2. Press Search on the top.
  3. Enter yours search term.
  4. Press result you want.

    How to use Search on Face ID: Swipe right on our home screen, tap search, enter your keyword, tap the result.

    Source: iMore

How to quickly access Today View widgets from the Home screen

Today, View widgets combine with Siri recommendations, and you can access them the same way anywhere, including the Home screen.

  1. Go to yours main (first) home screen.
  2. Swipe your finger against the right edge. (ie swipe right.)

    Source: iMore

To quickly access the Notification Center from the Home screen

  1. Press bezel above the screen.
  2. Swipe din finger down on screen. (ie iron down.)

    Source: iMore

Once you have swiped down, you can too swipe to the right to go to the camera app, or swipe left to go to the Today view without first having to reject the Notification Center. Time saving!

To quickly access the Control Center from the Home screen

You can access Control Center from any screen on your iPhone and iPad, even while in an app or playing a game. All you have to do is swipe up on iPhone 8 and older and swipe down from the right corner on iPhone X and later!

On a phone with Touch ID

  1. Touch yourself bottom edge of the screen.
  2. Stroke your finger up to towards the top of the screen.

    Source: iMore

To and iPhone with FaceID and newer:

  1. Press the top right edge on the screen where the battery, mobile and wi-fi icons are.
  2. Stroke your finger down towards bottom of the screen.

How to quickly access Siri from the Home screen

You can use your voice to activate Siri, even remotely. (Note: Voice activation does not work in low energy mode.)

  1. Say “Hey Siri!”
  2. Tell Siri what you want to know or do. (eg “What time is it in Hong Kong?” or “Won the Red Sox ?!”)

    Source: iMore

How to quickly access Continuity apps from the Home screen

Apple lets you “deliver” the activity you do on one device so you can continue it on another. For example, if you use Safari on your Mac, you can pick up your iPhone and iPad and continue browsing right where you left off.

  1. Double click Home button or, in the case of Face ID compatible devices, slowly slide your finger from the bottom of the device.
  2. Press app icon bottom left of the screen. (If there is no app icon there, that means there is currently no suggested app and no handover app available.)

    Source: iMore

How to lock your iPhone or iPad

By default, your iPhone or iPad automatically turns off the screen to save power. However, you can turn off the screen manually at any time and enter standby mode. If you have a password or Touch ID set, the screen also locks when you turn it off.

  1. click on On off button on the right side (iPhone 6 or later) or top (all other iPhones, iPods and iPads).

When you wake up your iPhone or iPad again, you return to the lock screen.

How to turn off your iPhone or iPad

If you do not need to use your iPhone or iPad for a while, you can turn it off to save even more power.

  1. Press and hold On off button on the right side (iPhone 6 or later) or the top (all other iPhones, iPods and iPads) of your device to 3 seconds.
  2. Swipe push to turn off the confirmation slider to the right.

iPad multitasking

What Apple calls “iPad Multitasking” actually refers to several different things. The first is multitouch navigation, which lets you use four-finger gestures for quick app switching. The other is multi-window multitasking, which lets you use two apps side by side in slide over or split-view mode and possibly also watch a video in picture-in-picture mode.

Do not forget widgets!

Now that you know how to navigate the home screen of your iPhone, there is a whole world of customization options. In iOS 15, you can use Widgets to access all sorts of information on your home screen.

Updated December 2021: Updated for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

William

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