How to

Restoring deleted Android app icons: 7 methods

Did you accidentally delete an Android app on your device’s home screen? You must be annoyed, right? Fortunately, for the majority of devices, deleting an app on the home screen won’t delete the app itself. However, it depends on your device, the version of the Android OS you’re running, and which type of app you would like to retrieve.

Related: The best Android data recovery software

As long as you didn’t accidentally delete the app itself, restoring any deleted Android app icons on your home screen won’t be a problem. To help you, I’ve compiled tips that have worked for me. No matter what Android OS you have and or what type of icon you need to get, this should help.

Each of these methods won’t take even two minutes to finish. Without further ado, let’s get started.


How to restore deleted Android app icons

1. Check your app drawer

The “App drawer” is usually the best place to start if you’re missing essential icons on your device. If you’re not sure, the app drawer is the icon in the middle of your bottom dock, that opens a menu containing most of the apps found on your device.

deleted-android-app-icons-app-drawer
App Drawer Icon

1. Tap the “App drawer” icon on your device. (You can also swipe up or down on most devices.) Doing this should bring up a list of all the apps on your phone, and you can scroll across pages to view more.

2. Find the app for which you want to make a shortcut. (If you can’t find it, you can easily search the app on the search bar.)

3. Hold down the icon, and it will open your Home screen.

4. From there, you can drop the icon wherever you like. This method will create a new shortcut on your device.

App drawer in Home Screen
Installed App Screen

If you’ve accidentally deleted Android app icons on your app drawer, don’t worry. You’ll be able to get it back by checking method seven on this list.


2. Long press a blank space on your home screen

It should be easy enough to get most icons back on your device, and you might not even have to use the app drawer to get them back again.

deleted-android-app-icons-add-to-home-screen
Choose what you want to add to your Home Screen

1. The easiest way to recover lost or deleted Android app icons/widgets is to touch and hold on an empty space on your Home screen. This method should cause a new menu to pop up with customizable options for your device.

2. Next, select Widgets and Apps to open a new menu.

3. Tap Apps. From here, you can choose the app icon that you previously deleted by mistake.

4. Hold the icon and drag it onto a space on your device. (You can rearrange it later.)

5. Your app should now be exactly where you want it to be, and it’ll be ready to use right away.


3. Add a new launcher

If you’re having issues with your current launcher, it’s a good idea to install a new one. There are plenty of options to choose from on the Play Store, and they all come with several different features to customize your device.

deleted-android-app-icons-google-play
Available launchers in the Google Play store

In case launchers are new to you, a launcher is an app that controls the layout and look of your Home screen and your app drawer.

1. Install the launcher on your device and set it as your default launcher.

2. Restart your device.

3. You will now have a different Home screen.

4. You’ll be able to find and arrange apps and change their icons from within the new launcher.

If you don’t like the look of your new launcher, you can always go back to the stock option, or you can try out a new one. But if you want to see some in action, here’s an article of the best lightweight Android launcher.


4. Re-enable disabled apps, or find apps you’ve hidden

If you’ve disabled or hidden any apps on your device, this could be the cause of an app icon that went missing on your Android device. If any of this sounds familiar, you can check in the applications menu to make sure.

1. Open the “Apps” or “Applications menu” from your Settings menu.

2. Tap the app whose icon you would like to be able to see again.

3. If you see a button that says “Enable/Start”, this is likely to be the source of your problem. tap “Enable/Start” to get your icons back again.

deleted-android-app-icons-app-info
App Info Screen

5. See if you’ve deleted the entire application

Is it possible that you deleted the app entirely from your device and not just the shortcut on your Home screen? You can always check the Play Store for a backup.

If it says Install (instead of Update or Open), you may have deleted the whole app by mistake.

accidentally deleting an app
Uninstalling an app

If you deleted the app accidentally, you can always reinstall the app easily. Apps leave a cache on your device for future re-use, so that you won’t lose your data.

A factory reset is also another option to get your device back to normal, but it’s a drastic option, so check one of the other methods before considering it.


6. Retrieve custom Android app icons that have disappeared

Custom icons can be a refreshing addition to your usual phone aesthetic, but an update could unexpectedly cause them to disappear from your device.

deleted-android-app-icons-customized-icons
Customized Icons

If you’re having issues with custom icons or custom launchers, resetting the device or launcher should solve your problem, or you can always try the other methods on this list.

If you want to learn more about custom icons on Android, here’s more information to get you started.


7. Check if you’ve deleted the app drawer icon

If you’ve accidentally removed the app drawer icon on your Android, there’s no need to stress. It should be easy to recover the app drawer icon, but the steps may differ slightly depending on your device.

deleted-android-app-icons-solo-actions
Solo Actions Screen

Here are a couple of ways to get the app drawer back:

1. Head to the static bottom panel on your device, known as the “Lower Dock”. (This is the one that stays the same no matter which home screen page you’re on.)

2. You will have to move one of the apps on this panel to make space for the app drawer if there isn’t one. You can delete one of these features by holding it down, and confirm delete, or move it to an unused hole on your “Home screen“.

3. It should turn into a plus sign.

4. If you tap this icon, it should bring up a list of options you can choose from to fill the space.

5. Select the “App Drawer icon” to get it back on your Home screen.

6. If you don’t see a plus sign, long-press the Lower Dock and tap default icon. You should be able to find and select the app drawer option from here.

Once you have access to your app drawer, it will be easier to recover any deleted or hidden Android app icons.


Frequently Asked Questions

To sum it all up

Accidentally deleting your app icons can be a pain but usually not that big a pain. Thankfully, there are quite a few decent and quick solutions to recover these deleted apps and icons.

With the few tips I mentioned above, you should now be able to restore most apps and app icons on your device, including the app drawer itself.

If I missed anything, or if you have questions about anything on the list, let me know by leaving a message in the comments section below!

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50 Comments

  1. I want to find the app icon for the pre-installed Skype. All methods you give have failed me. I expected to at least uninstall the app and install again. Alas it is preinstalled, so the only option I have close to that is to uninstall updates.

    The only way to run the app is to go to the Play Store, find Skype and choose open.

    Any other ideas?

    I have a Samsung Galaxy tab A with Android 5.0.2 last updated May 20, 2016.

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Go to the app draw and hit menu button. Scroll down until you see hidden icons option, if you don´t see it? You can try a factory reset that will leave your phone like when you first took it out of the box. Remember to backup your information first and hopefully this will fix the app icon. Please read the information in the link below carefully. Thanks for commenting. =-)

      https://joyofandroid.com/how-to-factory-reset-your-android-phone-tablet/

      1. App drawer option was available in the settings of my phone (redmi note 8 pro). But after performing a factory reset that setting isn’t available.. why?

    2. Some of my apps were missing from the app drawer, but when I used ther search engine they’re all still in my phone. I restarted my phone and they all appeared.

      1. App drawer option was available in the settings of my phone (redmi note 8 pro). But after performing a factory reset that setting isn’t available.. why?

  2. Wow! Thanks alot this really helped me (the home menu long pressing method) ,, just recover my widget 🙂 ,, Thank You! 😉 🙂 …

  3. Download All-in-one Toolbox from the Google PlayStore and when entering the app go to the toolbox option (it’s on the right side) and then tap app2sd and have it scan your sd card. Violà! All of your apps shall apppear.

  4. I removed a app from my home screen so now it’s not in my app drawer. I tried the seventh method but holding down didn’t work and there was no add sign. The only way to access the app is through my app store. Is there any other way?

  5. Remember to check the ‘widgets’ area of the app drawer. Mine was listed in the applications area of the system settings menu, installed, not disabled, but wasn’t among my applications– until I kept swiping right past the apps, through the widgets and lo’ and behold…

    1. my Daughter put Netflix on my phone with her password but must of deleted it and other apps by accident can you tell me how to get it back without having to put a password on

  6. I’ve never had an app drawer on this skin of Android Marshmallow. Don’t you guys anticipate all the various incarnations before publishing helps. I’m looking for an entire home screen page full of folders of organized web links, etc and app shortcuts that has just up and vanished.

    1. Sorry you didn’t find this article helpful. It’s intended specifically for icons, not entire pages, and several of these solutions don’t require an app drawer icon. Unfortunately, there’s no way to restore an entire missing page, which is why it’s not addressed here. Thankfully, deleting the page only means that you’ve deleted shortcuts, so you can simply rebuild the page.

    2. on your home screen touch and hold a blank space (the home screen without the search bar). if the display shrinks, there will be a “home screen settings” button. click that. there will be an apps button option. turn that on and remember to “apply”.

  7. That milk that’s left in (or out) the fridge that has been neglected and has soured, makes bomb crêpes and pancakes 😎

  8. So I have had a look at the above tips, none of which work and most of them also focus around the idea of an app draw, which my phone doesn’t have. I have an Honor 8. The shortcuts that are missing are the camera, files and gallery shortcuts. Please help

    1. Hi! I need a bit more information to help you. What type of phone do you have? Where do you access apps that don’t have shortcuts?

  9. None of these worked for me. It seems all google items have disappeared from my phone. I went to the app manager and scrolled to the right. All is the last column I have on my Galaxy S2. There are 14 items that show the android guy with SD right beside it. I clicked on one of them and Force stop and Disable are on the tabs. But they aren’t working anyway it seems. I scroll all the way to the bottom of the list, and there are several items like(411 & more, Media Hub, MobileLifeContacts, Music Hub, T-Mobile Name ID, T-Mobile TV). These can’t be used because they are obsolete now. But the tabs on them are Force stop and Enable on all of them. My google search don’t even work.

    1. Hi Marvin. It sounds like the apps were deleted, not just the icons. You can restore your apps by going into the Play Store and going to your apps list. Are there any other symptoms that could help reveal why the apps might have been deleted?

    1. Hi, Theresa. Try emptying the cache for Yahoo Mail. If that still doesn’t work, try emptying the app’s data. You may also want to try emptying your system cache and closing any unnecessary background apps. Messages like this are usually the result of a lack of available RAM causing apps to crash.

  10. Please help my settings app on my acer tablet has disappeared i still have the short cut but it says app is not installed it has done this before but when i turn it on and off it has returned now it wont please help

  11. I have a BLU Vivo 5R running Android 7.0. None of these worked for me. I can go to my apps settings and run the app for which I accidentally deleted the icon, but I can figure out how to get the icon back.

  12. I somehow deleted camera app entirely from mi-A470 phone and am unable to restore. All the above options don’t seem to work. Phone running on android version 4.4.2 kernel version 3.4.67 [email protected] #1

    1. Hi, Daniel. You shouldn’t be able to delete the camera app without rooting. Try uninstalling and reinstalling your last software update.

  13. Thank you for your effort.. I appreciate. I can’t find my phone dialer app anywhere except my application manager. I can’t make or receive calls. Please help

  14. Was having trouble with Instagram for about 12 hours yesterday so I deleted the app to try a reload as a fix action. I eventually was able to reload the app from the play store but the icon didn’t reload. How can I get it back?

    Thanks a lot!

  15. Hello – I don’t know how I’ve done it but I seem to have lost my app drawer. Can’t find it anywhere.
    I’ve got a Samsung A3 2016.

    Hope you can help

  16. I am the Group Administrator of our Whats app Group. My friend removed the Group icon and he placed bad picture. How I can retrieve the previous Icon ?

  17. None of these methods seem to be available on my Moto Z Play. I accidentally deleted the icon for an app I use regualrly and must have done the same with the app drawer too! After 18 months with an Android phone I still think it’s rubbish compared to an iphone.

  18. I accidentally deleted or erased my “Setting” icon from the front page of my tablet. I don’t quite understand the directions on how to get it back there. Also, on my Skype, I can ring a number but cannot hear their phone ring or hear them answer. I know it’s ringing because it says “Ringing” and the seconds begin to move forward. Is there a simpler way to fix these problems?

  19. None of these solutions helped me! Many of my app icons have disappeared (I probably deleted them without realizing it was permanent), not just from the home screen, but from the app drawer also. The only way to open the app is to do a search from the app drawer and click on the app when it comes up in the search result. They’re not disabled or hidden. It’s driving me crazy!

  20. I had the same problem and went to app drawer, three bars at top, selected hide apps, surprisingly my app was listed even though not checked as hidden. I checked it to be hidden then returned to my home screen. Once again I went into the app drawer, selected hide apps, and this time my app with the lost icon was at the top checked so I unchecked it and when I returned to my normal screens the missing icon was once again displayed. I hope this works for others.

  21. This was no help at all. Where did the time and weather bar go?
    This is all that I want to know This is a LGL58 that I made a mistake
    and removed all of weather and time apps from my phone.
    HOW do I put it back on the home page?

  22. So here’s a question I haven’t seen in the early comments: what happens if you open up your phone and you have a space where an app used to be but you have no idea which one was deleted? How do you find out which app disappeared so that you can reinstall it?

    1. >”How do you find out which app disappeared so that you can reinstall it?”

      That would be impossible for anyone else to know because the phone does not keep records of what icons appears on which screen. To could try a hypnotist to put you in a trance and ask you to go back in time, and then have you say which icons are on that screen. After you are taken out of the trance, you could compare to see which one is missing.

      If you do get your screen or screens organized the way you like them, the best thing to do would be to take a screenshot of each screen. That way, you would always have a visual reference to go by. I do that, then save them to Google Drive or the PC. They will rarely if ever be needed, but I have them just in case.

  23. Hi
    I no longer have the apps icon. I tried to get to the app drawer no luck. Looked at what was hidden no luck. I really really hope I don’t have to do factory reset. I have Galaxy J3. Any ideas?
    Thanks Geri

    1. Hi Geri, have you tried redownloading Galaxy J3’s icon pack? Can you give me more details? And don’t worry, you don’t have to do a factory reset.

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