Unhide apps on iPhone: Step-by-step Guide

iOS is known to be the most user-friendly of all operating systems but if you’ve only owned an iPhone for a short while, you may still need to learn a few things before you can fully take utilize its features. If you’re having a hard time finding an app on your iPhone or you can no longer access the app from the location you used to open it from, it may have been hidden in some way or another. 

If there are apps that are hidden on your iPhone, the following post will explain to you all the ways you can unhide them so that you can access them with ease from your home screen, share sheet, and App Store. As a bonus, we’ll also help you unhide apps on your Apple Watch as well directly from your iPhone. 

Where can apps be hidden on an iPhone?

Apps can stay hidden across a bunch of areas on iOS. If you want less clutter and prefer a minimalistic home screen, you can hide apps from the home screen at which point the hidden apps can only be accessible from Spotlight or the App Library. Similarly, you can hide a whole page on your home screen which will hide all the apps that were previously on it. 

You can also hide apps by limiting access it it inside your iPhone’s Content Restrictions or by simply deleting them from your device. Some apps can also be configured to not show up in the Share Sheet when you try sending content from your iPhone. Additionally, Apple allows you to hide apps you purchased from the App Store so that it doesn’t show under the list of Purchased apps when you or someone looks at them on your iPhone. 

How to unhide apps on your iPhone 

As explained above, there are several ways you can unhide apps on your iPhone. If there are apps that aren’t appearing on your home screen, share sheet, App Library, or on the App Store purchase list, the following methods should help you recover and unhide them. 

Unhide restricted apps

If you had previously used Content Restrictions to limit the usage of your iPhone by your children, some apps may not appear on your iPhone in such cases. To unhide apps that are restricted on your iPhone, open the Settings app. 

Inside Settings, tap on Screen Time

On the next screen, select Content & Privacy Restrictions

If the Content & Privacy Restrictions toggle is enabled at the top, some apps on your iPhone may have been hidden previously. To check for hidden apps, tap on Allowed Apps on this screen. 

Inside Allowed Apps, the apps that are hidden on your iPhone will be disabled on the screen.

To unhide them, turn on the toggles adjacent to these apps so that they re-appear on your iPhone’s home screen and App Library. 

Unhide apps from iOS Share Sheet

Sometimes, when you’re sharing content from somewhere, you may have noticed that iOS doesn’t show all the apps that are installed on your iPhone on the Share Sheet. This could be because the apps you want to share to are disabled on the Share Sheet. However, apps can be unhidden on the Share Sheet by simply re-enabling them. 

To do that, open a file, picture, or any kind of content on your iPhone from which you can share stuff. In this instance, we’ll open the Photos app and select a picture to share. 

When the file or photo is open in full screen, tap on the Share icon at the bottom left corner to open the Share Sheet. 

This will open the iOS Share Sheet on the screen. Here, swipe over to the right-most part of the apps row. 

Here, locate and tap on More

In the Apps screen that appears, you may see some apps that aren’t visible among the list of apps available on the Share Sheet. To unhide the apps that are hidden, tap on Edit at the top right corner. 

When the list goes into edit mode, scroll down to the Suggestions section and locate the apps that are hidden on the Share Sheet. Hidden apps will have disabled toggles on their right-hand side.

To unhide these apps, simply turn on their toggles. If you want some of these apps to show predominantly on the iOS Share Sheet, tap on the green-colored + icon on the left-hand side. This will move the selected apps to the Favorites list at the top. 

After unhiding these apps, you can save changes by tapping on Done at the top right corner. 

On the Apps screen, tap on Done at the top left corner to go back to the Share Sheet. 

You will now see the unhidden apps on the Share Sheet the next time you want to share something from your iPhone. 

Unhide apps using Spotlight

Installing an app on your iPhone doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll show on your home screen. If there’s an app that you would like to unhide and place on your home screen, the easiest way to look it up for them is using Spotlight on iOS. 

For this, unlock your iPhone and swipe downwards from anywhere on your home screen. 

You should now see the Spotlight search screen with a search bar at the bottom. Using the on-screen keyboard that shows up, type the name of the app you want to look for. 

When the app you searched for shows up in the search results, you can open it by tapping on its app icon.

If you wish to unhide this app and move it to your home screen, long-press the app’s icon and drag it to the desired part of your home screen. 

This way, the app you searched for will stay visible as soon as you unlock your iPhone and will be unhidden. 

Unhide apps using App Library 

If you own a modern iPhone that’s running iOS 14 or newer, all the apps you install on your iPhone are visible inside a dedicated catalog that Apple calls “App Library”. This section contains a list of all the apps that you have downloaded to your iPhone and each of the apps listed here is organized into different categories based on their usage and functionality. The App Library can also be expanded to an alphabetical order of apps on your iPhone through a swipe and you can also search for apps by their name. 

Before you can unhide an app from your App Library, you first need to access this section on your iPhone. For this, swipe to the right-most home screen page on your device and then swipe leftwards one more time to open the App Library. 

When the App Library opens, you should be able to see your apps organized into grids of different folders like Suggestions, Recently Added, Utilities, Entertainment, and so on. Some folders will have 4 apps or lesser, making it easier to open them by simply tapping on an app’s icon. 

For folders that have more than 4 apps, you will be able to view all the apps in that folder by tapping on the last tile inside a folder which shows icons that are smaller in size.

When you tap on the last tile inside a folder with 5 or more apps, it will expand to show all the apps inside that folder. 

You can scroll through these folders until you find the app that you’re looking for. To make searching for apps much easier, you can swipe down on the App Library screen which will switch the view from a grid to a list arranged in alphabetical order. 

You can also use the Search Bar at the top of the App Library to look for apps by their name. 

This search bar is also visible when you accessed the App Library in list format. 

When you find the app you want to unhide, you can long-press on it and drag it to your desired position on the home screen. 

Unhide a home screen page

If you can’t find apps that were previously visible on a home screen page, you may have mistakingly hidden an entire page from your iPhone home screen. Since iOS 14, Apple allows users to hide pages from their home screen but you can unhide them and bring them back to your home screen easily. 

To unhide a home screen page, unlock your iPhone and long-press on an empty portion of your current home screen. 

When the home screen goes into edit mode (the app icons start jiggling at this point), tap on the pill-shaped bar with a few dots at the bottom of the screen just above the dock. 

You will now see all the home screen pages that are available on your iPhone. You can spot a home screen page that’s hidden if you don’t see a circle with a tick mark below it. To unhide a hidden page, tap on the unmark circle under the home screen you want to unhide. 

This will mark the circle with a tick mark to indicate that the selected page has been unhidden. To save changes, tap on Done at the top right corner. 

You should now see the hidden home screen page along with the apps that were previously hidden. 

Unhide apps you previously installed

Your iPhone will only show the list of apps that are currently installed on it, not the entire list of apps that you have downloaded since you set it up for the first time. If you had previously uninstalled an app from your iPhone but you want to recall the app back to your device to unhide it, you will need to get it done using the App Store. 

The App Store is the one place you can check out all the apps you ever installed on your iPhone. To unhide apps that have been installed from your iPhone, open the App Store on iOS. 

Inside the App Store, tap on your account picture at the top right corner. 

In the menu that appears next, tap on Purchased

Next, tap on My Purchases from the All Purchases screen. 

You’ll now see all the apps that you have ever installed on your iPhone. This list will also include the apps that are not currently installed but were previously downloaded. To filter this list to check out apps that have been uninstalled, tap on the Not on this iPhone tab at the top right corner. 

This will open a list of all the apps that were previously installed by you but aren’t available on your iPhone. To download an app that you want to unhide, locate it from this list and tap on the Download icon (marked with a cloud and a down arrow) on the right-hand side. 

You can also search for apps you uninstalled using the search bar at the top. Inside the search bar, enter the name of the app you’re looking for. When the search results show up, locate the app and tap on the Download icon on the right to install it on your iPhone. 

The app you downloaded will be sent to your App Library and the home screen (if you’ve allowed new apps to be visible here). 

Unhide apps from the App Store purchase list

If you purchased or downloaded an app that you don’t others to see inside your purchase history, Apple allows you to hide an app in your purchase list. The app that you hid in the purchase history may or may not be installed on your iPhone but won’t appear among the list of apps you had downloaded previously.

At any time, however, you can unhide an app from your purchase history by first opening the App Store on your iPhone. 

Inside the App Store, tap on your account picture at the top right corner. 

When you see the Account screen appear, tap on your Apple ID name at the top of the screen. 

You may have to authenticate using your Face ID or may have to sign in with your Apple ID. In the screen that appears next, scroll down and tap on Hidden Purchases under “Downloads and Purchases”. 

You should now see a list of apps that you have hidden from your App Store purchases list. To unhide an app and move it back to your purchased list, tap on Unhide on its right-hand side.

How to prevent apps from being hidden on iPhone

Although apps on your iPhone can be accessed using Spotlight or from the App Library, you can make sure that any app you download from the App Store can be found on your iPhone’s home screen. When apps are added straight to your home screen, you don’t have to manually search for them every time you want to open them. 

To allow apps to show directly on your home screen after installation, open the Settings app on your iPhone. 

Inside Settings, scroll down and select Home Screen

On the next screen, tap on Add to Home Screen under the “Newly Downloaded Apps” section. 

This will ensure that any new app you download on your iPhone shows up directly on the home screen. This way, apps will stay unhidden on your home screen until you manually remove them. 

How to unhide apps on Apple Watch

Ideally, any app you download on your iPhone should also be visible on your Apple Watch as long as they’re supposed on watchOS. If an app you’re looking for on your Apple Watch, chances are that you may have either uninstalled the app from your wearable or watchOS has been configured to not install apps automatically. In either case, you can unhide apps on your Apple Watch by installing them manually from your iPhone. 

To unhide an app and install it on your Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone. 

When the app opens, select the My Watch tab at the bottom left corner. 

Here, scroll down on the screen until you locate the “Available Apps” section. This section will show all the apps that are installed on your iPhone but haven’t been downloaded yet on your Apple Watch. To unhide any of these listed apps on your watch, tap on Install

When you do that, the Watch app will instantly start downloading the app onto your Apple Watch and you should soon be able to see this app under the “Installed on Apple Watch” section on the screen.

This app should also appear among the list of apps on your Apple Watch.  

How to prevent apps from being hidden on Apple Watch 

If you wish to stop new apps on your iPhone from staying hidden on your Apple Watch, you need to enable automatic app installs on watchOS. This way, apps you install on iOS will be directly sent to your watch without needing your confirmation. To get this done, open the Watch app on your iPhone. 

Inside Watch, scroll down and select General

On the next screen, turn on the Automatic App Install toggle at the top. 

This will allow your watch to install watchOS apps directly as soon as the app’s iOS client gets installed on your iPhone.  

That’s all you need to know about unhiding apps on your iPhone. 

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