If there’s no earthquake, why are my apps shaking?

Just because your apps are rockin’ and rollin’, it doesn’t mean that you’re in the middle of an earthquake. Although…if you are, you should probably bail out on this article and read this one instead.

The question of why your iPhone, iPod, or iPad apps are shaking comes up quite often. The reason that they’re exhibiting such strange behavior is that that’s how you delete an app from your device. But, how did it happen, how do you undo it, and how would you make it happen again?

To make your icons start shaking, simply tab and hold any of the icons:

You’ll see your icons begin to shake and small “x”s showing up next to some of the icons:

Note: to make them stop shaking, just push your “home” button (it’s the one physical button on the front of your phone).

If you’re wondering why not all of the icons have the little “x”, that’s because Apple has decided that you must have some specific ones installed. For some reason, they decided that the Compass and Stocks apps fall into that category…but I digress.


If you’re running iOS 4 on your iPhone or iPod (and hopefully soon for the iPad as well), you can make folders out of your icons while they’re shaking like this. Simply drag and drop one icon onto another and, voila, the folder appears. You can rename your folder by tapping the folder name and changing it:

To get out of the folder, tap anywhere outside of that folder.

Now, to delete an app, you simply tap the “x” while the icons are shaking:

Then, make your choice about whether or not you want to delete the app:

It’s worth noting, if you delete the app from your iPhone, that doesn’t mean that it’s gone forever. You can always put it back when you sync with iTunes. And, you can also download it again from the App Store, free of charge, if you’ve purchased it from them before.

Hey, I hope this has been helpful. Remember, we love comments!

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About Luke

My name is Luke, and I'm the Online Media Manager for a technology company, photographer, husband, and father. You can see a snapshot of some of my work at LukeCoburn.com. I cheer for the Red Sox and am completely in love with my wife and four little princesses.

2 Responses to “If there’s no earthquake, why are my apps shaking?”

  1. Glenn February 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Thanks Luke. I could use your help please on a similar issue –
    I accidentally deleted the Google icon from the home screen of my iPhone 4.
    How do I get it back?
    Many thanks!

    • Luke February 28, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      Hi, Glenn. If you’re talking about the generic Google App, then all you need to do is search for “Google” in the iPhone’s App Store and re-install it. The app will also link to many of Google’s most popular products, which open in Chrome-style tabs, although I typically prefer stand-alone apps for those products as well. Hope this helps!

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