iOS 5: Adding Folders to the Dock

| TMO Quick Tip

You all probably know me well enough by now to be aware that I like my devices to be organized, and I’m not a big fan of clutter. Well, this tip is the iOS version of keeping your Mac desktop clean. What? You don’t keep your Mac desktop clean? I have nothing more to say to you people. Oh, all right, I guess I do have more to say. But I do judge you a little bit for that messy machine, just so’s you know.

If you’re not familiar with the process of putting icons in folders that started with iOS 4, here’s what you’ve been missing. First, you touch and hold on any of your application icons, and they’ll start to wiggle furiously. While they’re in that mode, you can pick ’em up, drag ’em to different screens, or even delete them by tapping on the “X” that appears in the upper-left corner of each (except for the ones that come installed by default, which you can’t remove).

If you touch and hold on one, you can drag and drop it on top of another to create a folder containing the two apps. Your device will attempt to guess what you’d like to call the folder based on what you’ve put in it. It’s pretty smart about the names, but you can edit things if you don’t like what’s been assigned.

Here’s something not everyone knows, though—you can touch and hold on a folder’s icon and drag it down into the iOS dock, meaning that a whole bunch of your most frequently used apps will be accessible no matter what screen you’re on. 

Once you’re finished with app-wiggling edit mode, click the Home button to return everything to normal.

Note that you might need to drag an icon out of your dock before you attempt this, as you can’t put anything in there if it’s already full. You can, though, have your entire Dock filled with folders if that’s what you want to do. Pretty nifty, especially for those of you who have approximately 20,000 apps on your devices. What? They’re all neatly categorized into folders already? Well, then, I have nothing further to teach you, my good friend.


My special thanks go out to longtime TMO reader furbies, who suggested this tip. You rock, sir!

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Lee Dronick

Thanks Melissa, and Furbies, I didn’t know that I could put the folder on the dock.

Dorje Sylas

This was the first thing I did/tired after upgrading to iOS 4 when they added folders. I have each slot of the Dock occupied by a folder on both my iPod and iPad.


I’m glad I was able to provide the tip, and I have to admit you wrote it up far better that I could ever have.

Glad you found it useful.

Paul Goodwin

I’ve been using folders for a long time, but never even thought to drag one down to the dock on the iPad. Great tip.

Melissa Holt

Thanks, furbies. I really do appreciate you sending me the idea!

And you’re welcome, Lee and Paul. Thanks for reading, as always. smile


Consider labeling folders in ALL CAPS.  Makes it easier to read and differentiates from individual apps.


Thanks Melissa. I knew about folders, but not in the dock. Any idea about folder in folder (which does not seem to work…)? Cheers

Melissa Holt

Hey Pio,

As far as I know, you can’t put a folder inside another one. Kinda stinks.



Thanks Melissa and furbies! Like a couple of others, I never thought to try dragging a folder to the dock.

Still waiting to be able to create my own folder icons….

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