moving apps with bluetooth keyboard

iOS & iPadOS
Hi. I was wondering how to move app icons using a bluetooth keybord. Thanks.



Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Monday, February 18, 2013

> Hi, I’ve figured out that you can select an app in the home screen to move > with Shift + VO + M.

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Monday, February 18, 2013

> Hi, I’ve figured out that you can select an app in the home screen to move > with Shift + VO + M.

Submitted by Musicruz on Monday, February 18, 2013

In reply to by Isaac Hebert (not verified)

so after VO+shift+m, how are you going to move the app? I tried this method before, and yes you can select the apps, but I can't move the apps around properly. They are just going everywhere. I think this time Apple just design this for now to kill the apps in the app switcher and to delete the apps on the spring board. Hopefully, in the next upgrade, we'll be able to arrange the icon. I could be wrong on this one, but hey, I would love to be able to do this myself. If you guys know anyway, please share. regards, Musicruz

Submitted by Esther on Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In reply to by Musicruz

Hello Rebecca and Musicruz, Here's an example of how you can use the VO+Shift+M keyboard shortcut to organize your home screen by moving apps into folders. Suppose I have my iPhone paired to my Apple Wireless Keyboard, and I want to organize some apps on the second page of my Home screen into folders. This describes what I might do and hear VoiceOver say on my iPhone home screen; you can apply it to your own situation, and may get slightly different announcements. In this case I'll move "Where To?" into a folder with the "AroundMe" app. At the start, both apps are on the second page of my home screen, and neither is in a folder. 1. If I'm not at the home screen, I'll press VO-H to start there (VoiceOver says "Home" and the name of of the first app on the screen) 2. Option-Right arrow to navigate to the next page (VoiceOver says "Page 2 of 3, Utilities folder, 4 apps, double tap to open" because the Utilities folder is the first element on the second page.) 3. Navigate with your arrow keys to the "Where To?" app. VoiceOver will prompt you with the "double tap to open" message, which we ignore. 4. When focused on the app you want to drag, press VO-Shift-M to execute the pass-through gesture. You'll hear the triple tone associated with a successful execution of the pass-through gesture and VoiceOver will say "moving Where To?", or whatever app you are focused on that you want to drag into a folder. 5. Now use your arrow keys to navigate to the second app you want to place into the same folder. Alternatively, this could be an existing folder to which you want drag your app, but we'll assume we want to move move to the app "AroundMe", and put it into the same folder. 6. When focused on the "AroundMe" app, do another VO-Shift-M to drop the "Where To?" app you were dragging on top of the "AroundMe" app. VoiceOver will say "Creating Lifestyle folder. Opening Lifestyle folder. Double tap to edit." In this case, it is because "Lifestyle" is the category for the "AroundMe" app. 7. VO-Space to edit the text field for the name of the folder. VoiceOver will say, "Inside Lifestyle folder" VO-Right arrow. VoiceOver will announce "Clear text button". VO-space to clear the text. 8. VoiceOver will say "Folder name, text field, is editing." Type in the new name of the folder, "Navigation". VoiceOver will say "Folder name, Navigation, text field." 9. To drop the "Where To?" app into the folder and get out of drag mode, press escape. VoiceOver will say, "Navigation, opened." 10. To check that there are two files in the folder you can press right arrow. I'll hear the apps "Where To?" and "AroundMe" announced with each press of the right arrow key, followed by the boink noise that indicates I've reached the end of the field if I try a third press of the right arrow key. 11. To get out of the open folder, press escape. VoiceOver will say "Closing Navigation folder, W&Y pages." (The White and Yellow pages app is another app on page 2 of my home screen, and it has received focus when we closed the folder.) 12. You can continue to put another app into this folder with the same VO-Shift-M shortcut to start dragging. When your focus is on a folder, VoiceOver will say, for example, "Navigation folder, two apps. Double tap and hold to move." So if I used my arrow keys to navigate to another app on the same page, like "HopStop", to put it into the Navigation folder, the steps would be similar to the sequence used above from step 3, where once you have navigated to the app you want to move you use VO-Shift-M. One difference is that when you are on the folder you want to insert the app into, VO will say, for example, "On navigtion folder, folder name Navigation, double tap to edit" to indicate the folder. 13. Again when you press escape to get out of the drag mode and place the app in the folder, VoiceOver says, "Navigation opened". 14. Then, when you right arrow through the apps in the folder you'll hear three apps announced, "Where To?", "AroundMe", and "HopStop" in the case of the above example. 15. Once again, press escape to get out of the folder and return to the home screen page. HTH. I wrote this up in response to a recent mac-access list query, but didn't have a chance to post.

Hello Maria, The ability to drag and drop apps with the VO-Shift-M keyboard shortcut seems to still be under development. This shortcut for the double tap and hold pass through gesture emerged in iOS 6, but still shows focus issues in its behavior. I've found this useful for putting apps into folders, but not for generally rearranging apps on the home screen. At present I can use this shortcut to move apps to the location of another app, but not to blank sections of the home screen. I have been able to move apps into the dock by dragging them to the position just before the apps in the dock, where you hear VoiceOver say "page 2 of 3" (for example), but only if there is already a blank spot in the dock. So far the most stable actions with this shortcut have been the creation of folders or the addition of apps to folders by dropping apps onto other apps or folders that are on the same page, and moving the app in the top left corner of a screen to another page by using Option+right arrow to change the page after starting to drag that app with VO-Shift-M, then using the escape key to terminate the drag and drop once on another page. If I have experimented with a drag and drop action that did not successfully complete, such as trying to drop an app into the dock when there is not a free space, then I usually have to toggle VoiceOver off and on again with triple click home to reset things in order for the folder creation to work again. But I did find that I could reliably use this shortcut to create and add to folders with a keyboard as long as I followed a standard sequence of command actions such as I outlined in my earlier comment. In the example I used, I wanted to rename the folder. The steps to clear the default folder name and type in a new one are not necessary if you want to accept the default folder name. Hope this helps. This is probably a feature that will see more development before VO-Shift-M appears in the list of VoiceOver keyboard shortcuts described in the iPhone User Guide in a later version of iOS 6.

Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Tuesday, February 19, 2013

In reply to by Musicruz

Hopefully when the next upgrade comes out their will be a way to move the apps.

I have a mini bluetooth, and some of the commands you have given work for me but the ones where I have to use an arrow key don't. I'm not sure why this is. I can use the arrow keys when I am using quicknav on, but when I turn it off to use the vo commands they don't seem to work. I can do vo + space, vo + h, vo + k, vo + s, and the double versions of these keys, but I can't seem to do vo + any of the arrow keys. I have to hold down the function key to achieve the arrow keys. Have you any idea why they won't work? Maybe there is something I should change within settings? Thanks. Kate.

I don't use a mini keyboard, but I recall that when I tried and reviewed one on the Mac-access mailing list (the ThinkGeek TK-421, which has the same keyboard layout as the Bear Motion mini Bluetooth keyboard that was the subject of an old podcast by Ricardo Walker -- this is all more than two years ago), the arrow keys used for QuickNav mode were alternate functions that could be activated either by pressing the combination of Fn+some regular letter key, or else that key could be pressed directly as an arrow key if you toggled the Fn key on by pressing Fn+Return. Pressing Fn+Return again toggled this mode of the key being used as an arrow key off. ("Return" is what Windows users identify as the "Enter" key.). This was a mini keyboard that did not have dedicated arrow keys. Some mini keyboards do have dedicated arrow keys. The variations from model to model can be pretty wide, so I don't know how you would find these out except by placing the device in Keyboard help mode and experimenting.

The real challenge is with the mini keyboards that lack either a Control or an Option/Alt key, so there are no VO keys (Control+Option). In those cases, if you manage to pair the keyboard, and you navigate by gestures to the VoiceOver Practice gestures area in Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > VoiceOver Practice, you can put your keyboard in to keyboard help mode. And you can leave this mode by navigating, by gestures, to the "Done" button at the top right corner of the screen, and double tapping.

Submitted by Adam Samec on Tuesday, August 16, 2016


it looks llike the steps to move apps into a folder have changed a bit along the way to iOS 9. The following works for me.

After I've started to drag an app with the VO + Shift + M keyboard shortcut, I am able to drop the app into a folder which is in the focus by pressing VO + Space bar, or Up arrow + Down arrow if QuickNav is on. You don't need to open the folder to move the app into it.

As opposed to what Esther described in 2013, now the Escape key neither drops the app, nor exits the drag mode, instead it only does the "boink" sound. But it can be used to close an opened folder, even during the drag mode.

It's possible to drop the app also by pressing the Home key, VO + H. This will at the same time exit the drag mode. Note that this method drops the app into the current screen, therefore to place the app into a folder, you must first open that folder as opposed to the previously mentioned method. To open a folder while in the drag mode, press VO + Shift + M.

Apart from that, I noticed that during the drag mode if you press VO + Space bar while on an app, which will ask you if you want to delete that app and which you can cancel, it will also cause the app being dragged to be dropped into the current screen.

All these methods can also be used to move apps from a folder to the page which contains that folder, or into another folder on that page. Just start dragging when on an app in a folder, then close the folder by pressing Escape and press VO + H to drop the app into the page, or use one of the aforementioned methods to place the app into another folder.

I've not been able to rearrange apps on a page or in a folder, nor to move apps from one page to another, using a keyboard. And it's a delicate and sometimes unpredictable task to me using gestures too. When using a keyboard to drag and drop an app, the app is always placed into the last position on the page or folder.

One more thing, it might happen that you would not be able to start the drag mode again with VO + Shift + M. In that case, try pressing VO + Space bar while on some app or folder on the Home screen. This will reset something and you will be able to start dragging again. Neither turning VoiceOver off and on, nor switching to some running app will reset that.

I am using the iPhone with iOS 9.3.4 and Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard K380.

Submitted by jan brown on Monday, August 15, 2016

The smart keyboard available for the i-Pad pro has no escape key and I have found moving apps to folders using vo, shift m doesn't work except when it does. This is rare though and I have resorted to using my finger which I think is harder on the i-Pad than on the phonel I'll try your other method.