Wiggle mode is the app reorder mode on the Apple iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and in the Launchpad on the Mac. Sometimes referred to as “wobble mode,” the shake icons are a handy visual indicator that a fixed layout of apps has become fluid and changeable. Here̵
The origins of Apple Jiggle Mode
The wobble mode was first developed on the iPhone in iPhone OS 1.13 in 2008. It was introduced as part of a major update that allowed iPhone users to rearrange their home screens on the device for the first time. Two years later, Apple filed a US patent (US 8,423,911 B2, granted in 2013) for its reorganization techniques for the start screen. In the patent filing, Apple described wobble mode as clinically and patentable as possible:
For example, as shown in FIG. In Figure 5B, the selectable user interface objects wobble as if they are floating on water (e.g., each respective selectable user interface object swings about a respective average position of the selectable user interface object on the display).
Since that release in 2008, wobble mode has been included in every version of iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS. On the Mac, wobble mode was first introduced in 2011 in the Launchpad as part of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Apple tvOS uses a different wobble mode (first seen in Apple TV System Update 6.1) in which only the app you move wobbles, not the entire screen of the apps.
Here’s how to enter wiggle mode on an iPhone or iPad
On an iPhone or iPad, wiggle mode is the standard way to rearrange icons on your home screen. In newer versions of iOS and iPadOS, widgets also wobble while editing in the Today view. To start Wiggle mode for the home screen:
- iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 or higher: Tap and hold an empty area of your home screen that doesn’t have any icons. Alternatively, tap and hold an app icon. Then select the “Edit Home Screen” option from the menu that appears.
- iOS 12 and iPadOS 12 or earlier: Tap and hold an app icon until the icons start jiggling.
While in Wiggle mode, you can hold and drag icons to rearrange their order on your home screen. You can also drag apps to or from the dock. When you overlay one icon on top of another, a folder appears. To remove an icon, tap the tiny “X” button in the corner of the icon. In iOS 14 and later, you can also use the wobble mode to add or rearrange widgets on your home screen.
CONNECTED: How to organize your iPhone home screen
Here’s how to get into wobble mode on an Apple Watch
Even the Apple Watch has a wobble mode. To use it, make sure you are in the grid view on the home screen. Press the digital crown (the button on the side) and tap and hold any app icon until the apps start jiggling. After that, you can hold and drag any app icon to a new location. When you’re done, push the digital crown in again. You can also arrange Apple Watch app icons with your iPhone.
CONNECTED: Here’s how to rearrange the app icons on Apple Watch
Here’s how to enter app wiggle mode on an Apple TV
Unlike the iPhone and iPad, Apple TV uses a modified version of the wiggle mode in which only the app you move wiggles, not the entire screen of the apps. To use it, highlight an app on the screen and tap and hold the touchpad surface of your remote control until the app starts to wobble. Then swipe to move it where you want and press the touch pad again to complete the move.
In Apple TV’s wobble mode, you can also move apps to folders by layering them on top of each other, or remove apps by pressing the play button of a selected app and choosing Delete from the menu that appears.
CONNECTED: How to rearrange, add, and remove channels on Apple TV
How to get into Wiggle Mode in Launchpad on Mac
Since 2011, macOS has been shipped with a launcher application called Launchpad, which shows app icons in a grid view similar to the iPhone’s home screen. True to its iOS-style roots, Launchpad also includes a wobble mode. Press and hold the Option key on your keyboard to activate.
If your apps start to jiggle, you can use your mouse or trackpad to drag the app icons into a new arrangement. You can also delete apps installed in the Mac App Store by clicking the little “X” button in the corner of the icon.
CONNECTED: What is the OS X Launchpad and how does it work?
The future of wobble mode
By now you’ve seen Apple take wobble mode pretty seriously. After all, the Cupertino company has a patent and has recently started to officially name it. If the past shows it is, Apple will likely continue to use the Brand Reorganization Indicator for New Products in the future. Who knows – maybe by 2040 we’ll be rearranging all of our wobbly living room furniture in AR with Apple Glasses.