Tech Guide

Use this handy trick to clean up your iPhone's messy home screen

Key Points
  • CNBC's Macklin Hogan shows you how to organize your iPhone home screen.
  • You can use a special tool to create invisible icons to help add empty space around your apps.
CNBC | Mack Hogan

I'm an obsessive home screen organizer. I've always been frustrated that it's not easy to put my icons exactly where I want them on my iPhone's home screen. Sometimes I want blank areas where Apple would otherwise stick an app. When this happens, apps can be cluttered all over the place. I like them nice and centered on the screen, so I searched for a way to do it.

I found a pretty easy solution. It works by creating invisible icons that blend right in with the background, allowing me to make a much more organized and cleaner-looking home screen. You can see an example in the picture above, where I've removed a row of icons from above and below the rest of my apps.

If you're like me and want to have icons centered on your screen, or want to customize exactly where each one is, you can use this guide to do that all right from your iPhone.

Here's what you need to do.

Take a screenshot of your wallpaper

CNBC | Mack Hogan
  • Long tap on an app until they all start wiggling.
  • Now scroll across your iPhone screen until you come to a blank page.
  • Now press the power button and the home button at the same time.
  • Your iPhone will save a screenshot to your photo gallery. We'll come back to it in a minute.

Now use a tool named iEmpty

CNBC | Mack Hogan
  • Go to this website on your iPhone. It's a tool named iEmpty, and it's how we're going to make the invisible icons.
  • Click on "Create blank icons."
  • Tap "add" under the upload section.
  • Upload the screenshot you took in the first step.

Create invisible icons

CNBC | Mack Hoganv
  • Now you'll see a grid of your phone's home screen on the page.
  • To create a blank icon, you need to tell iEmpty where you want to place it so that the icon can match the background of that spot. So pick a spot.
  • Once you've clicked on a spot, you'll be directed to a new page with an icon generated by iEmpty.
  • Click the share menu on the bottom of the screen.
  • Click "add to home screen." (This will create a bookmark of the page as a home screen shortcut, which is how iEmpty accomplishes this.)
  • Don't change any of the text in the boxes it gives you, just click "add" in the top right.

Place and Repeat

CNBC | Mack Hogan
  • Long tap on the new icon until it starts wiggling. Drag it into its place, and it should blend right in with your background.
  • Repeat this process for as many blank icons as you want.

That's it! Whether you want to create a blank top row like I did, add a gap somewhere in your app list, or just leave a filler space, you now have the tools to do it.

What happens when you ask Alexa, Google and Siri if they are spying on you