How to Find Hidden Apps or Unhide Apps on iPhone

iPhone Apps

Having trouble finding apps on your iPhone? Use these tips to find any installed app quickly.

When you’ve been using your phone for a long time, the apps on the device tend to pile up. It can be a nightmare trying to organize them. After years of users living with this mess, Apple finally introduced App Library on iPhone starting from iOS 14.

App Library automatically organizes all the apps on your iPhone for you. It presents them in curated folders that span across categories like Social, Games, Health, etc. Some people, like myself, have completely said goodbye to Home screen apps, keeping only a handful. We rely entirely on the App Library to hold and organize our apps. While others use still a combination of both.

App Library is great, there’s no doubt about it. But with its introduction, another problem reared its head. Your apps are hidden in the app library and often, you have trouble finding them. If you too can’t find that one app you swear you have, fret not. It’s easy to navigate this situation.

Finding Apps Hidden in the App Library

You can easily find any hidden apps on your iPhone in the app library. Swipe from right to left on the home screen till you reach the app library. Depending on how many home screen pages you have, you might have to swipe more than a couple of times. You can get an idea of how many times you’ll need to swipe by looking at the dots just above the dock on the home screen.

Once you’ve reached the app library, you’ll be able to find all the apps categorized in folders. You can try to find the app there. Of course, it’s not always easy finding an app this way if you’re not sure which folder to look into.

In this case, tap the ‘Search bar’ at the top instead.

The app library lists all apps in alphabetical order in the app. You can even try to find the app alphabetically. But the easiest way is to type the name of the app you’re searching for. Even if you can’t remember the exact name, typing a few letters would bring up the app.

Unhiding the App

If you don’t want the app to be hidden in the app library anymore, unhiding it and adding it to the home screen is easy.

If you have found the app in one of the folders in the app library, tap and hold the app. Few options would appear. Tap ‘Add to Home Screen’ and you’ll be able to find the app from the home screen in the future.

Chances are, you didn’t find the app in one of the folders and instead used the Search bar at the top.

Now, tapping and holding the app does not bring up any options. How to unhide the app in this case? Do you need to deep dive into your app folders now? No, because there’s a way to add an app from the search menu to the home screen. It’s just not so obvious to everyone.

Tap and hold the app and drag it to the left.

Voila! The app would move to your home screen with a ‘+’ icon on it. Drag it and leave it where you want to add it.

Instead of going to the App Library, you can also use the spotlight search option to find the app you’re looking for. Swipe down anywhere on the home screen to bring up the spotlight search.

Type the app’s name to find it. The results will show the app; tap it to open it.

You can also add it to the home screen from the spotlight search result itself. Tap and hold the app. A few options would appear. Tap ‘Add to Home Screen’ to add it to your home screen.

Using Search to Find Some Truly Hidden Apps

All apps on your iPhone are available in the app library, right? Wrong. There are a couple of apps on your iPhone that are really hidden. You won’t find them in the app library but only through the spotlight search.

Code Scanner

One of these hidden apps is Code Scanner. Code Scanner, as the name suggests, is the app to scan QR codes on your iPhone. Why is this app hidden? iPhone has built the capability to scan QR codes right into the camera app. The camera automatically detects and scans any QR codes without you having to explicitly scan them.

Then, why would anyone want to open the app separately? There are a few reasons. When you scan a code using the camera app, it opens the link in Safari.

But if you scan the code using the Code Scanner app, it opens in the in-built browser in the app itself. So, there will be no open tabs cluttering your Safari. You won’t have to worry about closing the tabs. There will be no restaurant menus hogging up Safari if you use the Code Scanner app. You can open Code Scanner from the spotlight search option.

Magnifier

Magnifier is another such app that’s generally hidden. But in this case, you can find it using the Search option as well as the App Library. Before iOS 15, Magnifier wasn’t as easy to find, though. If you’re on iOS 14 even now, you will first have to enable the option from Accessibility settings.

Other Hidden Apps and How to Find Them

There are a few more apps that are “hidden” on your iPhone, i.e., you can’t access them traditionally. You won’t find them in the app library, nor can’t you access them using the spotlight search.

Print Center

You know how you can print anything directly from your iPhone because it has AirPrint technology. Have you ever wondered if there is an app behind this? Print Center is the app that makes it all happen.

But unlike Code Scanner, you cannot bring it up using search. There is no way to open it, other than when you are in the process of printing something.

Whether you have a printing job in the queue or it is already printing, go to the app switcher and there you’ll find the Print Center app. Open the app and you’ll be able to see a lot more details about the printing job which otherwise elude you.

You can see the list of all the printing jobs in the queue, find more details about them, and even cancel them. If you still have the app open when the printing job is finished, the app will simply say, “No documents waiting”.

Field Test

Everyone knows that there are secret dialer codes on your iPhone that can perform a variety of functions. From providing information about your device to helping with troubleshooting issues, everyone’s heard of the common ones.

But there’s one code that opens a hidden app on your iPhone. The app in question – Field Test – offers a variety of information. But the most interesting feature is that you can use it to see your iPhone’s cellular reception strength in numbers (measurement unit: decibel-milliwatts). Numbers paint a much more accurate picture than the signal bars in the status bar. With the signal bars, it’s just a guessing game.

To launch the app, go to your dialer, type in the numbers *3001#12345#*. Hit the call button.

The app will open.

Why are my new downloads always hidden?

Are you always having trouble finding that new app just downloaded? If you’re wondering why your apps don’t appear on the Home screen, it’s not your fault. You just need to disable a certain setting.

Open the Settings app. Scroll down and tap the option for ‘Home Screen’.

Then, under the option for ‘Newly Downloaded apps’, select ‘Add to Home screen’. Now, the apps you download won’t automatically appear only in the app library. They’ll also appear on the home screen.


Finding apps in the app library can prove to be difficult, especially since we’ve been used to finding apps from the home screen on our iPhones. Hopefully, now you won’t have as much trouble finding hidden apps.