How to Change the Icons at the Bottom of My iPad Screen: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the icons at the bottom of your iPad screen is a simple process. All you need to do is tap and hold on any app until they start jiggling, drag the apps you want to the Dock, and then press the Home button or swipe up to save your changes. That’s it! You’ve successfully customized the Dock to your preference.

Once you’ve changed the icons on your iPad’s Dock, you’ll have easier access to your favorite or most-used apps right from the home screen. It’s a great way to streamline your iPad usage and make your device more personalized and efficient.


So, you got an iPad, and you love it. You’ve been downloading all your favorite apps, but there’s one thing that’s bugging you: the icons at the bottom of your screen. They’re just not the ones you use the most. Did you know you can change them? Yep, you can, and it’s super simple! I’m here to walk you through it, step by step.

The icons at the bottom of the iPad screen are part of what’s called the Dock. The Dock is designed to give you quick access to apps you use frequently. By default, Apple places what it thinks are the most useful apps there, but let’s face it – everyone’s different. You might not use Safari as much as you use Chrome, or maybe you want quick access to your photos or notes. Understanding how to customize the Dock means your favorite apps will always be just a tap away, making your iPad experience smoother and more tailored to your needs. This is particularly useful for students, professionals, or anyone who wants to maximize productivity on their device. Let’s dive in and get those icons changed!

Step by Step Tutorial: Changing Icons on iPad Dock

Before we get into the steps, it’s important to understand what we’re aiming to achieve. The following steps will guide you through rearranging the existing apps on the Dock, removing apps from the Dock, and adding new apps to the Dock. By the end of this tutorial, you will have a Dock that’s customized to your personal preference.

Step 1: Tap and Hold on an App

First, tap and hold on any app on your home screen until all the apps start to jiggle.

This step puts your iPad into edit mode, which allows you to move apps around or delete them. You’ll also notice that the apps on the Dock start to jiggle, indicating that they can be edited as well.

Step 2: Drag Apps to the Dock

Once the apps are jiggling, drag the app icons you want down to the Dock.

If you want to remove an app from the Dock, simply drag it out and release it onto the home screen. To add a new one, find the app on your home screen, then drag and drop it into the Dock. Remember, the Dock can only hold a certain number of apps, so you might need to make room if it’s full.

Step 3: Press the Home Button or Swipe Up

When you’re happy with your changes, press the Home button (on older iPads) or swipe up from the bottom of the screen (on newer iPads without a Home button).

This step will save your changes and exit the edit mode. Your Dock now reflects the apps that you use the most, making them easily accessible no matter which page of the home screen you’re on.


CustomizationCustomizing the Dock makes your iPad more personal and tailored to your needs.
EfficiencyHaving your most-used apps readily available can save you time and make your workflow more efficient.
AccessibilityChanging icons may make the iPad more accessible for those who rely on visual cues or have difficulty navigating the device.

Customizing the Dock on your iPad allows you to make the device truly yours. You can arrange the apps in a way that makes sense to you, which can make using the iPad a lot more intuitive and enjoyable.

Having your most-used apps on the Dock can significantly cut down on the time you spend searching for them. This is particularly useful for those who use their iPad for work or school, as it promotes a more efficient workflow.

For people with certain disabilities, customizing the Dock can make a world of difference in how they interact with their iPad. The ability to change icons may provide easier access to essential apps, making the device more user-friendly and accessible.


Limited SpaceThe Dock has limited space, so you have to be selective about which apps you include.
Accidental RearrangementIt’s easy to accidentally rearrange apps, especially if you use the tap-and-hold gesture frequently.
OverdependenceHaving apps on the Dock might result in overdependence on these specific apps and less exploration of others.

The Dock can only hold a certain number of apps, which means you can’t have all your favorite apps on it. This limitation requires you to prioritize and choose the apps you use the most or need quick access to.

While the tap-and-hold gesture is easy to use, it’s also easy to trigger accidentally. This can lead to unintentional rearrangement of apps, which can be frustrating if you’ve spent time customizing the Dock to your liking.

Having immediate access to your favorite apps is convenient, but it may also discourage you from exploring and using other apps that are not on the Dock. This could lead to a less diverse usage of your iPad’s capabilities.

Additional Information

Now that you know how to change the icons at the bottom of your iPad screen, it’s important to note that you can make further customizations to your device. For example, you can create folders on your Dock to organize similar apps together, allowing for even more apps to be accessible from the Dock. Additionally, with the introduction of iPadOS, you can even add Today View widgets to the left side of your home screen for at-a-glance information.

Remember that while customization is great, it’s also about finding the right balance. You don’t want to clutter your Dock with too many apps, as this can become overwhelming and counterproductive. It’s all about personalizing your iPad while maintaining functionality.

Lastly, if you ever feel like reverting back to the original Dock layout, you can always reset your home screen layout through the Settings app. This will restore the default apps and arrangement, giving you a clean slate to start over if desired.


  1. Tap and hold on any app until they start jiggling.
  2. Drag the apps you want to the Dock.
  3. Press the Home button or swipe up to save your changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many apps can I add to the iPad Dock?

The Dock can hold up to 15 apps on an iPad running iPadOS, along with 3 recently used apps.

Can I add folders to the Dock?

Yes, you can drag folders to the Dock for additional organization.

Will changing the icons on the Dock affect my app data?

No, changing the icons on the Dock does not affect the data within the apps themselves.

Can I add widgets to the Dock?

Widgets cannot be added directly to the Dock, but you can add them to the Today View on the home screen.

If I remove an app from the Dock, is it deleted from my iPad?

No, removing an app from the Dock does not delete it from your iPad; it just removes it from the Dock.


In conclusion, customizing the icons at the bottom of your iPad screen is a great way to make your device more personal and efficient. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to keep their most-used apps within easy reach, changing the icons on your Dock can streamline your iPad experience.

Remember, it’s about finding the right balance between personalization and functionality. So go ahead, give your iPad Dock a makeover, and enjoy the newfound convenience at your fingertips!

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