How to arrange app icons on supervised iOS devices

Headshot of Andrea Pepper, SimpleMDM writer and MacAdmin
Andrea Pepper|Updated December 14, 2023
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Are you new to the magical world of supervised iOS devices and ready to start deploying some neat customizations? Sweet, let's take a look at the HomeScreenLayout option. We'll dive deep into arranging app icons for your iOS devices.

SimpleMDM support for homescreen layouts

What is the Home Screen Layout feature?

The Home Screen Layout config is a feature of Apple's Mobile Device Management that allows you to organize app icons uniformly across supervised iOS devices. It will enable MacAdmins to customize the layout of apps and folders on the home screen of supervised iOS and iPadOS devices. It's designed to help organizations standardize the user interface across multiple devices.

Home Screen Layout creates a unified interface that makes switching between devices more accessible, as users can expect apps to be in the exact location across every device.

Home Screen layout customization allows you to:

  • Specify where apps and folders appear on the home screen, controlling the placement and grouping of apps. This means you can define which rows or pages an app or folder is on.

  • Add web clips to the home screen for easy website access.

  • Customize the device Dock.

  • Move Apps not often used to later pages, leaving only the essential apps on the first page.

  • Add an extra management layer by preventing users from changing this layout and keeping a clean and uniform look across all devices.

Note: This feature isn't supported for Shared iPads or macOS devices but will work on tvOS devices.  

What apps can I organize?

All native apps and all apps installed on devices using SimpleMDM can be organized. This includes built-in, app store, enterprise, and custom B2B apps.

What happens to the apps I don't lay out?

Apps that have not been assigned a screen position and apps installed on the device manually will appear on a separate screen after the assigned apps.

Are users able to move icons on their screens?

Once a home screen layout has been applied, the app icon layout cannot be modified on the device itself. Your home screen layout will remain intact until you remove the configuration from SimpleMDM.

How to deploy the Home Screen Layout with SMDM

  1. Sign in to your SimpleMDM account.

  2. Under the Configs section on the left-hand menu > click Profiles > Create Profile > select Home Screen Layout.


  3. Arrange available apps and web clips and add folders in any preferred order (on or off the Dock). 


  4. When you are ready to assign it, select any device group and assign your home screen layout under the Profiles tab.

Home Screen Layout FAQs

What are web clips?

Web clips are bookmarks that appear on the home screen of your iOS or iPadOS device. Web clips take the same physical form as an app.

  • When clicked, shortcuts or links take you directly to a specific webpage in your default web browser. It's like having an app for a website without an actual application being installed.

  • If you frequently visit a particular website, you could add a web clip directly to your home screen for easy access.

  • MacAdmins can remotely add web clips through SimpleMDM to provide quick access to relevant internal or external web resources.

 What is the Dock feature?

The Dock feature on Apple devices is a bookmarked space on the home screen where you can park frequently used items for immediate access.

  • macOS: On a Mac, the Dock is typically located at the bottom of the screen (though it can be moved to the left or right sides). It is divided into two sections. The left side houses shortcuts to applications, and the right side contains links to files, folders, and minimized windows. The Dock in macOS also displays indicators next to the app icons that are currently running.

  • iOS/iPadOS: The Dock is located at the bottom of the home screen on an iPhone or iPad. It can hold up to four apps on an iPhone or up to 13 on an iPad, which remain visible even as you swipe through different app pages. This lets users access the most frequently used apps from any home screen. On iPad, the Dock also shows recently used apps and apps that are open on your iPhone or Mac with Handoff.

  • MDM: In the context of Apple Mobile Device Management, administrators can use the Dock feature while configuring the home screen layout to include frequently used apps or folders in the Dock, thereby providing easy access to those apps or folders for users since the Dock appears on every App page.

SimpleMDM is a mobile device management solution that helps IT teams securely update, monitor, and license Apple devices in minutes while automatically staying on top of Apple updates.

Headshot of Andrea Pepper, SimpleMDM writer and MacAdmin
Andrea Pepper

Andrea Pepper is an Apple SME MacAdmin with a problematic lack of impulse control around a software update prompt. When not poking at machines, Pepper enjoys being a silly goose in sunny Colorado with her two gigantic fluffer pups.

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