Where has my app library gone?

Many iPhone users have recently noticed that the App Library feature has disappeared from their devices after installing iOS 16. The App Library, which groups apps into categories on an additional home screen, was introduced in 2020 with iOS 14 and has remained a key part of the iPhone’s user interface since then. However, the latest iOS 16 update seems to have removed this useful organizational tool, leaving some users frustrated and confused.

What is the App Library?

The App Library is an automatically organized collection of all your apps. It lives on the right-most home screen of your iPhone and uses AI to categorize apps into groups, keeping similar apps together. This makes it easy to find apps without having to swipe through every home screen page.

Some of the common App Library categories include Social, Creativity, Entertainment, Photo & Video, Utilities, Travel, Shopping, Games, Business, Health & Fitness, and Productivity. Within each category, apps are further organized alphabetically.

The App Library provides a simple one-tap view of all your apps while keeping your home screen pages clutter-free. You can access the App Library by swiping right from your last home screen page.

Why has the App Library disappeared in iOS 16?

The App Library was removed in iOS 16 due to a change in how home screen pages are managed. Previously, the App Library screen was fixed as the right-most page, with no way to remove it. But iOS 16 introduced home screen customization options like adding and deleting pages.

This means users can now remove the App Library page if they wish. And many users reported finding that the App Library had disappeared after updating to iOS 16, even if they didn’t intend to get rid of it.

It seems the App Library page was automatically deleted for some users during the iOS 16 update process. This was likely an unintended bug and not an intentional removal of the feature.

How to restore the App Library

If your App Library page went missing after updating to iOS 16, don’t worry, it’s easy to get it back. Just follow these steps:

1. Press and hold on an empty area of your home screen until the app icons start jiggling. This puts your iPhone into edit mode.

2. Now tap the + icon at the top of the screen to add a new page.

3. Swipe all the way right, and you’ll see the App Library page has reappeared.

4. You can then tap Done to exit edit mode.

And that’s it! The App Library should now be restored as the right-most home screen page, just like before.

Adding that extra blank page gave the App Library a place to generate again. This should resolve the issue for anyone suddenly missing this useful organizational tool after updating to iOS 16.

What if the App Library is still missing?

In some rare cases, the above steps may not bring back the App Library. This likely indicates a deeper technical issue with the iOS 16 update that failed to restore the proper default home screen layout.

If you still don’t see your App Library after adding a new page, try these troubleshooting steps:

– Restart your iPhone and try adding a new page again. A simple restart can clear any glitches.

– Check if the App Library is disabled in Settings. Go to Settings > Home Screen and make sure App Library is toggled on.

– Try removing all home screen pages and starting fresh. Delete all pages until just one remains, then add new pages again.

– Perform a hard reset to factory default settings. Back up your iPhone first, then choose Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. This will remove all data and settings and reinstall iOS from scratch.

– Contact Apple Support if all else fails. They can run diagnostics, reinstall iOS, or arrange a replacement phone if needed.

Using the App Library as an organizational tool

Once you’ve got the App Library back, take advantage of this useful organizational feature. Here are some tips:

– Use the App Library for apps you don’t use often. Keep your most-used apps on the main home screen pages.

– Scroll through the App Library categories to find misplaced apps. It’s easy to locate apps in their proper category.

– Search the App Library to quickly find any app. Just swipe down anywhere on the App Library page to access Search.

– Disable suggested apps in the Suggestions category. These are apps you haven’t opened in a while.

– Remove duplicate pages by deleting empty home screens. Extra blank pages just lead to more swiping.

– Disable App Library categories you don’t use in Settings > Home Screen. This gives you a more customized experience.

– Use the App Library as an always-accessible app drawer. Swipe right from any screen to access all your apps.

Will the App Library be fixed in future iOS 16 updates?

While the App Library disappearing was likely an unintended bug, there’s no guarantee Apple will resolve it in a future iOS 16 software update. But they are likely aware of the issue based on user complaints and may release a fix.

Future updates may provide more customization options for managing the App Library page. But Apple seems committed to keeping the App Library around rather than removing it entirely.

As the default right-most home screen page, the App Library plays an important role in the overall iPhone user experience. Its automatic organization provides utility many users have come to depend on.

Check the release notes for any new iOS 16 incremental updates. If a fix is released, be sure to update your iPhone software to the latest version. Avoid uninstalling iOS updates if you want to maintain access to the App Library.

Adjusting to life without the App Library

If for some reason the App Library is permanently gone from your iPhone, don’t panic. There are still ways to keep your apps organized without this default tool. It may require adjusting your habits, but your iPhone can remain functional.

Here are some tips for organizing apps without the App Library:

– Use folders to group related apps. Long press to create folders and drag in apps to categorize them.

– Keep folders organized on the last home screen. Use the first screens for your main apps and utilities.

– Delete unused apps to reduce clutter. If you don’t need it, don’t keep it installed.

– Use iPhone search to quickly find apps. Swipe down from the middle of any home screen.

– Rely on Siri to open apps. Say “Open [app name]” to launch without searching.

– Use Spotlight Search from the home screen. Swipe down or press the home screen to access the search bar.

– Utilize wiggle mode to rearrange apps. Edit your home screen layout any time things get disorganized.

– Add widgets for quick access to information from some apps without opening them.

Should Apple bring back the App Library?

Considering how useful many iPhone users have found the App Library, Apple would be smart to address complaints and restore it to full functionality. But iOS 16 is still new, so they have time to fix early bugs.

Having an automated organizational tool for apps makes sense on a device with limited screen space like the iPhone. Even with home screen customization in iOS 16, small screens eventually get cluttered with apps. The App Library solves this by keeping things tidy.

The categorization and search features help even tech novice users keep track of their apps. As Apple continues pushing iPhones to non-tech-savvy audiences, the App Library fills an important role.

Hopefully future iOS 16 updates will smooth over these early issues. But if not, Apple needs to look at bringing back the App Library as a core part of the iPhone experience in iOS 17. Once you get used to a feature that works well, it’s hard to adjust to life without it.


The disappearance of the App Library in iOS 16 was an unexpected hassle for many users. But thankfully the feature can be restored in just a few steps by adding a new home screen page. This suggests its removal was an unintended bug, not a purposeful design choice.

Going forward, Apple would be wise to maintain the App Library as a convenient organizational tool that iPhone users have come to rely on. But even without it, you can utilize folders, search, widgets and other features to keep your apps manageable.

How do you feel about the removal of the App Library in iOS 16? Did you notice it was gone? What steps did you take to re-enable it? Do you think Apple should bring it back in a more official capacity? Let me know in the comments!

App Category Example Apps
Social Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Creativity GarageBand, iMovie
Entertainment Netflix, Hulu, Spotify
Photo & Video Camera, Photos
Productivity Calendar, Notes, Email