What’s On My iPhone’s Home Screen

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I’m always curious how others use their phones and what they value enough to have it available on the home screen. With that in mind, I’ll show you mine, along with some brief explanation. I’m curious to see yours.

I have an iPhone 7 Plus. The top row is about 3 miles from the bottom of the phone. So I use the top row to hold a TON of apps that I use every once in a while, organized by two differing criteria: a) app authors (Google and Apple) and b) purpose (news, money). It ends up creating a lot of space for me below.

Next row is all listening apps. I place them high because I interact with them mostly when driving and I’m usually pecking with my index finger toward the windshield. Hoopla is the most-recent arrival on this row. It’s basically Audible integrated to your local library. You enter your library credentials and can “check out” audiobooks. Nice! I’m currently listening to The Reformation: A History, by Diarmaid Macculloch.

(The Hoopla spot used to belong to Anchor. The app is pretty amazing, and I want to create a podcast someday, but that’s the problem, too—almost everything on there sounds like it’s been created by a curious newbie.)

Next row. The Camera app used to sit in the tray on the bottom, but I realized that I didn’t use it that often and when I did, it didn’t matter if it was in the tray. Fitbit makes it out here when I am in a Quantified Living phase, which I am right now. Waze has been my navigation app of choice; I think it has the best interface while driving, though I get frustrated with its compunction to make me take three left turns and drive through a neighbor’s back yard (or bedroom) to arrive 2 minutes later than a route with a single right-hand turn.

Linked In is a late arrival, mostly because I am looking for a job and paying more attention to this business networking app than I ever have before. It’s a weird place, but there are a lot of people there, I’ll admit. Sleep Cycle I love because I’m too far gone on this Quantified Self crap to NOT rate my sleep. The nutty thing is Fitbit also gives me a report on what happened when I wasn’t awake. I look at both of them each morning. Why do I do that? I don’t know. They usually tell very similar stories. I should drop Sleep Cycle—except I’ve used it enough that it has 423 nights’ worth of data (average sleep time: 7 hours, 26 minutes) and I get smug every time my sleep crawls above an 80% rating.

Next row, I’ve recently dropped Facebook for Instagram. Will it stay that way? I doubt it. I will keep Twitter. Too much of a news junkie and I love the pithy comments around sports and other big events. I use Buffer to schedule a fair portion of my social posts, as it gives me plausible deniability about not looking at Twitter in the middle of the workday. Dark Sky is the best weather app, period, and I have evangelized it to many friends and colleagues.

The bottom row is work space, with one exception. I use Evernote to gather up so many of my work and non-work loose ends. Todoist is my latest to-do favorite, though I I think Asana is really good too. Slack is a work staple.  Last on the row is YouTube TV. We dropped Fios as our TV provider and so far, YTV has been more than adequate as a replacement, and saved us nearly $100 a month to boot. It also made clear that we don’t need to pay HBO and Showtime every month of the year. In fact, with “Games of Thrones” scheduled to return in 2019, neither premium channel might see a penny from us this year. The one hole in YTV: No Turner TV stations. I don’t need CNN, but TNT and the other stations are crucial for March Madness and the NBA playoffs, which are essentials. Hulu haas those stations, and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but the interface is crap.

The persistent placements at the bottom of the screen (does this placement have an actual name? I call it “The Tray”) has been given an Artificial Intelligence-refresh recently: Google Assistant is on a trial run, as we have three Google Home devices in the house now, they have slowly become integrated in how we behave there, and I am intrigued to see how I will use it on my phone if I have easy access to it. Astro is an AI-powered email app that recently added calendaring, which led me to bump my old email/calendaring favorite, Outlook. Messages and Phone are there because, yeah, texting and phone calls.

FacebookMessengerRunkeeperMedium and WordPress all might work their way back to Page 1 as the Winter turns to Spring. Or sooner. We’ll see.

That’s it. Feel free to drop a screen grab of your homescreen and explain your own choices below.

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