It’s been a while since I posted a Homescreen overview. So today, I’m starting with my iPhone.
As you’ll see 50% of the apps on my iPhone’s homescreen are the native iOS apps for certain services. I used to look the best third party app for any service, but I find myself going back to the default solution more often than not. The reason? Convenience. Apple’s first party apps sync natively with iCloud, which makes setting up an iPhone a breeze + it’s free, which lowers monthly recurring fees.
I tend to organize my homescreen by type.
Notably I do not have the Phone app on my homescreen. I see my iPhone as a computer and don’t like phone calls. I consider it an iPod Touch with cellular more than a phone with apps.
The first two rows are what I call my productivity rows. They contains task related apps.
Calendar: I use the default app because it shows today’s date on the homescreen. I tend to add locations to most of my events, so I use the Up Next widget to see where I need to go and get timely “time to leave” alerts.
Todoist : Task Managers are my weak point. I tend to move from Omnifocus to Things to Reminders to ... multiple times a year. I prefer Reminders for its native Siri integration, which makes dumping thoughts into an Inbox by voice quick and convenient. But Reminders has a terrible interface.
Thanks to Alexa (more on that later) I can now use Todoist as a task manager. I use Alexa to quickly input thoughts, get a daily update every morning and manage my shopping list. Which reminds me: “Alexa, add ‘Ask my wifi to start using Todoist for our groceries’ to my todo list”.
All tasks end up in Todoist. It is a rather utilitarian interface but it does it’s job nicely. I’m a big fan of the comment feature to add extra notes or adding attachments and its Share Extension is awesome.
1Password : Safety first. And when it comes to password management there’s only one choice. 1Password offers 2FA support, syncs across devices and allows me to share a vault with my wife via the Family Accounts feature.
Files, Photos and Notes: I prefer the first party solutions for these three because they just work. Although I do use Google Photos as an extra backup for my photos and backup my files via Backblaze just in case. All three are rather basic in their functionality, especially when it comes to sharing, but when it comes to integrating with other apps they still win when compared to Dropbox, Google or other Cloud Storage Services.
Screens: I work on iOS mainly, but when I do need a Mac, I often resort to Screens to quickly connect to my Mac mini at home. Thanks to its Connect service you can connect from anywhere. Lovely app, although I hope they soon at MFA security to the Screens Connect account.
The second big block is the social block. These are the apps that connect to the world.
Mail: Similar to task managers, mail is an app where there and back again is often applied. I used Spark, Inbox, Mailbox, ... but always see myself go back to the default Mail app. I’m not a big fan of the defer to later mailbox approach (I use a task manager for this) so most third party apps are to complex for my needs.
Messages: I detest Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger is a necessary evil. So when I can, I go to iMessage to message friends and family.
Alexa: I’ve only started using Amazon Echo devices since last fall so I regularly use the Alexa app to add or change some skills. The announced Alexa voice integration within the app allows it to stay on the homescreen.
Safari: doesn’t need an explanation.
Tweetbot: Timelines should be chronological. That’s why they’re called timelines.
Instagram: Guilty pleasure.
Unread: I still use RSS feeds to follow blogs, no matter what Kottke says. Feedwrangler is my current backend service although I like what Feedbin is doing with their new Twitter integration. Frontend I use Unread for its beautiful reading experience.
Pocket: Feedreaders and read it later apps are two sides of the same coin. I’ve used Pocket since forever and love the way it allows you to save both text and media in a convenient way. I inject some sites like Daring Fireball and MacStories automatically via IFTTT, and use its sharing extension a lot.
The last rows are dedicated to Media apps. Music, Video, Reading.
Squarespace Blog: I’m trying to blog more again and since Squarespace is the platform I’ve chosen I’m stuck with their iOS apps. I say stuck because the apps are basic. They allow you to enter text and media, but that’s about it. No sharing extensions, no Files integration, no API’s. For longer form text I use Ulysses and copy-paste though. (Yes I know, the app is in the wrong row and is technically a productivy app, but those rows where filled aready ;-) )
iBooks: I buy my media on Apple’s platforms. It’s a lock in and I can never read these books in Kindle but since I’m all in on Apple hardware it doesn’t really bother me. Why iBooks? One word: layout. The way iBooks displays text is way nicer than the Kindle app. I also use its PDF syncing feature a lot, and I hope they soon expose those files via a Files integration too.
Swarm: another guilty pleasure. I love to track where I’ve been and often use the app (and the full Foursquare counterpart) to check places I’ve been or refer restaurants to friends who go on holiday.
Music : “Hey Siri, Play Metallica” while walking around with AirPods is magic. Although I do have a Spotify account for Alexa.
Podcasts: “Hey Siri, Play Connected” while walking around with AirPods is magic.
Youtube: doesn’t need an explanation
Camera: I never use this shortcut and always launch the app from the lockscreen. That is, until I’m on the homescreen and look for the Camera app. I’ve removed the app so many times from my homescreen and found myself looking for it, it’s now a permanent ficture on the homescreen.
The dock is filled with four folders. I love the way they replace the homescreen when you open them. It’s a nice mode-shift when going from homescreen to Wallet or Connected.
- Office: all other productivity apps
- Connected: smart home and activity apps
- Media: all other media apps
- Wallet: online banking, web shops, ...
Siri unlocks HomeKit. Activity and Health are tracked via the Watch. Alarms are managed via Siri, so is the timer (Seriously Apple, add support for multiple timers!). They do not need a place on my homecreen but I use them daily.