iPads and iPhones

Home, Sweet Home

Master the Home Screen!

The home screen is a powerful starting place for accessing many device features. In this lesson we'll learn:

  1. Helpful home screen patterns and gestures.

  2. Understanding where you are and how to navigate from the home screen.

There's No Place Like Home!

Once you unlock your device, you're on the Home Screen. This is ground zero, the starting place for all your other activities. If at any time, you're not sure where you are, you can always return to the Home Screen. It's just a swipe or home button press away!

It's essential to be familiar with the patterns and terminology of the Home Screen. At the top you'll see status information about your device. Most of the screen is filled with Apps, letting you quickly access your favourites programs. At the bottom is an area for your favourite Apps that is conveniently "frozen" in place.

If your device has a Home button, you can press it at any time to return to this familiar place. Newer devices use the "swipe from the bottom" gesture to return home.

Home Screen Gestures

Getting around on your phone is easy once you learn these Home Screen navigation shortcuts:

  • Notification Center - swipe down from the top edge

  • Control Center - swipe down from the top-right edge, or swipe up from the bottom on older devices

  • Search - swipe down from the middle

  • Multiple Home Screens - swipe left and right

  • Today View - swipe right to the last screen

  • Apps Library - swipe left to the last screen

  • Settings - press the Settings app

  • Lock Screen - press the Sleep/Wake button

  • Customize - long press on an empty space on the Home screen

Notification Center

Swipe down from the top edge of the screen to view the Notification Center. This screen summarizes all the information you missed since you last checked your phone.

It's a good practice to view your notifications whenever you use your phone. In a later lesson, we'll explore making these notifications as helpful as possible.

Press the Home Button or swipe up from the bottom on newer devices to return to the Home screen.

The Control Center

The Control Center puts many handy features at your fingertips. Quickly access the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right side of the screen. On older devices, swipe up from the bottom.

On the Control Center, you can turn connections on and off, adjust volume and brightness, and even start helpful apps like the calculator, the camera, timers and use your phone as a flashlight.


It's usually quicker to search than to hunt for an item on your device. You can search for apps, contacts, settings or even Internet information. Here's how:

  1. Swipe down from the middle of the Home Screen or the Lock Screen to access the Search Screen.

  2. Tap the search area and type what you're looking for.

  3. Select the item when it appears.

Today View

The Today view gives you summary information from your favourite Apps. It's a good idea to personalize this screen to be most helpful. You can access the Today view by swiping right on the Home Screen.

Here are some things to try:

  1. Select the show more and show less buttons.

  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap the edit button to add or change widgets.

  3. Drag the widgets to change the order they appear on the screen.

  4. Tap Done when you're finished customizing.

The App Library

The App Library shows all your Apps automatically organized into various categories. Even if you remove an App from your Home Screen, it will appear in the App Library.

You can copy Apps from your App Library back to your Home Screen by:

  1. Long press on an App you wish to copy.

  2. Choose add to home screen.

In the Apps and Widgets lesson, we'll teach you how to optimize your home screen.