YOU know that you have Gmail on your iPhone. You get Gmail notifications, you see it in the app switcher, it’s in the Settings app, and you even see the “Open” button instead of “Get” or the download icon in the App Store. But you just can’t find the app on your home screen. If this situation sounds like something you are dealing with, there is an easy answer.
Apps can be missing from your iPhone for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common causes only occurs on iPhones with iOS 14 and above. This is due to the new app library, which contains all the apps on your iPhone. It acts as an app directory, groups apps into sorted folders, and provides a way to view all apps in alphabetical order.
What does the app library have to do with missing apps?
That’s all well and good if you know the app library, but it creates a confusing system of missing apps for those of us who don’t know. By default, iOS sends new apps to both the home screen and the app library, but it may not. That’s because you may have accidentally set new apps to just go to the app library or manually deleted an app.
Your missing app may be on a hidden home screen page
If you’ve ever hidden a home screen page (also a new feature in iOS 14), the app you’re looking for may be on one of those hidden pages. To see, open the home screen editor, tap the page dots, check all unchecked pages and click “Done”. For more information, check out our full guide on how to hide home screen pages in iOS 14.
Hiding a home screen page will stop displaying new apps
Hiding a home screen page has consequences that you may not have noticed. When you first hide a page or pages, new app downloads are automatically set to appear only in the app library, not the home screen. So if you don’t remember setting new app downloads to work that way, you may have accidentally activated it after hiding a home screen page.
You may have manually removed the app
The new App Library also changes the way you delete apps from your iPhone. When you long press an app on the home screen and tap ‘Delete app’, or when you tap the minus sign (-) on an app in the home screen editor, the options ‘Delete app’ or ‘Delete from home screen’ appear. “
If you did it quickly, you might have clicked the delete option instead of delete because you thought it would delete. Then it would look like the app was still on your iPhone – just not on the home screen – even though you “deleted” it. If you want it back, you don’t have to reinstall it because you just hid it on your home screen. In that case it is easy to come back.
Find and add the app to the home screen
If you think the app is on a hidden home screen page, unhide the page. If you don’t want to make the page visible or have no hidden pages, you can quickly find the missing app in the app library and add it back to the home screen. To go to the App library, on the home screen, swipe left past the last home screen page. Then browse the folders or search the list of apps.
Once you find the app in question, there are a few things you can do. First, you can press the app icon and drag and drop it to a location on your home screen. Second, you can long press the app icon and tap “Add to home screen”, and the app will automatically appear in the first open space where it is allowed to continue.
If you don’t see the ‘Add to home screen’ option and the app isn’t on your home screen, it is probably hidden on a hidden home screen page. If you don’t want to dig through your hidden pages, you can still use the drag and drop method to move it from the hidden page to an active page.
Prevent new apps from skipping your home screen
If you don’t want new apps to skip the home screen, go to Settings -> Home screen and change it Newly downloaded apps preference from ‘App library only’ to ‘Add to home screen’. Changing this setting will not affect your hidden home screen pages if you have any.
If this doesn’t work in finding your missing app, there may be bigger issues to fix. The app may be limited, no longer available, or you may have installed the wrong app. Visit our general guide to missing apps to walk through those possibilities.
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