December 12, 2023

Novoda Software

Software Guides and Reviews

Here’s Why your iPhone Icons are Shaking

Having spent some time with the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR over the past week, I have a new appreciation for iOS 12 and am looking forward to iOS 13 that has just been announced. The OS is intuitive, attractive and very easy to use but does have a couple of quirks. One is when the desktop icons are shaking and won’t seem to stop.

When researching how to fix these icons, I saw just how many other users were experiencing the same thing. That prompted this tutorial.

iPhone icons shaking

There are two reasons why your iPhone icons are shaking. The first is that you’re in the modify home screen mode and the second is a fault within iOS. The fault was apparently present from iOS 6 onwards and is less common than being stuck in edit mode but is something that still occasionally happens in iOS 12.

Most common is the edit home screen mode. You should see a small black ‘X’ in the top left of each icon. This tells you whether you’re in this mode or not. If you see those small ‘X’ next to each desktop icon, you’re in edit mode. If you don’t, it’s a fault within iOS.

Fortunately when I saw it on my loaner iPhones, it was edit mode but I will show you how to fix the fault.

Home screen edit mode

On Android when you’re in home screen edit mode you simply back out and it returns to normal. It isn’t always so easy on the iPhone. You should see a small Done icon in the top right of the screen when you’re moving or removing desktop icons. Hit Done and your home screen returns to normal. On the iPhone XR I was using, tapping Done didn’t always exit edit so I had to do it a couple of times.

Editing the home screen is a useful exercise. You can remove apps you no longer use and tidy up the rest of your desktop. If you use some apps more than others, you can order them so they are more accessible. Or you can arrange your phone screen any way you like because it’s yours.

To access the edit iPhone home screen mode:

  1. Unlock your iPhone.
  2. Press and hold a desktop icon. You should see the icons shake and the ‘X’ appear in the top left of each.
  3. Add, remove or move icons as you see fit.
  4. Press the Done icon in the top right of the screen once done.

If it works properly, you should exit edit mode as soon as you hit Done and your changes will be saved. The icons will stop shaking and the X will disappear. If your phone doesn’t immediately exit edit mode, you may have to tap Done again, even a couple of times until you see your desktop return to normal.

If you use folders to order your iPhone desktop, you can edit those too. The folder will shake when in edit mode but the same principle applies. Open a folder while in edit mode and you will see the icons with the X and shaking. Move, delete or change the icons as you need and hit Done when you’re finished. To delete a folder, you first need to move all icons out of it onto the desktop and the folder will disappear.

iOS fault causing icons to shake

I used to see this iOS fault years ago back when I was an IT Tech somewhere that used iPhones and iPads. As we locked them down, it wasn’t caused by edit mode or by any app install. There was only one way we could fix it and that was a full factory reset. We used to use stored images to quickly restore them to company spec but you won’t have that luxury.

If you’re seeing you iPhone icons shake and you’re not in edit mode, this is the only way I know of to fix it. Back everything up before you do this as you will lose everything if you don’t.


  1. Select Settings and General from the iPhone menu.
  2. Select Reset and Erase All Content and Settings.
  3. Enter your PIN or password to confirm your choice.
  4. Select Erase iPhone to double confirm it.

This will wipe the phone completely and return it to stock. You will then be able to load your data onto it from iTunes but will have to reload your apps and games separately.

Do you know of any other fixes for the iPhone shaking icon issue? Tell us below if you do as it could save somebody having to factory reset!