I can’t remember why, but a while ago I began taking a screenshot of my iPhone and iPad homescreens on the first of the month. I always find it interesting seeing what apps people have on their devices and so I’ve decided to begin sharing my homescreen on the first of each month. If nothing else, it will be an interesting way of monitoring how I use my devices and how the apps I use change over time (if at all).
This first post will be a bit more detailed than the ones which will appear over the next few months. I want to give a brief outline of how and why I use the apps, and so in the future only new apps will receive this commentary.
First thing to note is that my iPhone is currently a 16GB iPhone 5c in white. It’s the first ‘tall screened’ iPhone I’ve owned, the second plastic one (I had a 3G) and the first non‐black one I’ve owned. Even going back to my iPhone 4 days I’ve always kept the bottom row of my homescreen empty, I find it makes swiping between the screens easier as well giving some space to the icons.
In The Dock
I must be one of the few people who actually uses my iPhone as a phone, hence the inclusion of the phone and messages apps. The messages app is probably my most used app on the phone, especially as my friends have gradually got iPhones and begun using iMessage.
Safari takes up the second spot in my dock. Along with the phone and messages apps, it’s one of my most used apps. When I got my first iPhone, the ability to have the internet in my pocket and easily accessible was the most exciting thing about the device and it still is.
Tweetbot is my Twitter client of choice. I’ve been on Twitter since January 2007, and have used it extensively ever since. When I got my first iPhone (the previously mentioned 3G) a twitter app was the first 3rd party app I installed (I believe it was Twitterrific) and to this day remains on my most used services on my iPhone. I’ve flitted between a number of different clients over the years, but when Tweetbot came out I settled on it very quickly, it just fit with the way I used Twitter. Tweetbot 3 is, as far as I’m concerned, the best version of the app both in utility and style.
My most used apps are towards the bottom of the screen so it seems prudent to start with those.
Things – When Things first came out I was a big fan, a few years ago I switched to OmniFocus for it’s cloud sync, in the last month I’ve made the switch back to Things. I find the app works the way I think, and whilst OmniFocus can be set up to behave like Things it seems silly to use it in such a way. The Today view is where I live on my iPhone and with the latest update most of my interaction with the app takes place through notification centre. The ability to control exactly what tasks appear there and not rely on forcing the app to show what I want when I want allows me to prioritise my days in a way that is manageable and realistic. Whilst the integration with Siri is great for getting random tasks into the inbox no matter where I am.
Day One – This is another app that I’ve used sporadically since I bought it. Back in August 2014 I began using the app to record 3 things I was thankful for from that day, I still try to do it, but over the last month I’ve begun to use the app as a more in‐depth journal as well. My iPhone is the most convenient way of using My Day One and the lowest barrier of entry, whilst I only use it once a day, it’s prominence on the bottom row helps keep it at the forefront of my mind and ensures I use it consistently.
BBC Sport – I use this app multiple times a day. It’s there because it’s the easiest way of keeping up with the multiple different sports I follow and provides push notifications for my football team Nottingham Forest.
Pinner – Most of my use of Pinner takes place through the share sheet extension, but I’m finding that the more bookmarks I add to it, the more I use the app itself as a point of reference. It’s the only Pinboard app I’ve used as I arrived at Pinboard around the launch of iOS 8. It’s a great app and I can completely understand why The Sweet Setup recently made it their Pinboard app of choice.
Instapaper, Reeder and Medium – Over the last month I’ve found myself using my iPhone to read on more and more. These three apps are at the forefront of that. I’ve used Instapaper for a long, long time and it was one of the first apps I bought when I joined the iPhone ranks. It’s one of the first apps I recommend to new iPhone users, originally I didn’t think much to the highlights feature, but it is now my favourite thing about the service. Reeder, along with Tweetbot, is how most of the articles in my Instapaper get added. I use it alongside my Fever installation and it is a pleasure to use to quickly get through a bunch of articles and filter off the ones I want to read. Medium is a fairly new addition, I don’t use the app as often as I could but it does provide me a good way to discover new writers and content.
Mail – I try not to check my email from my iPhone but as a self‐employed designer it’s very useful to have. I’m still annoyed by it’s lack of a share sheet, and I’m intrigued by Mailbox, so it may well get replaced soon.
Goodreads – I read a lot, in fact in the last month I’ve read an awful lot. I use Goodreads to track my reading, to find new books and authors based on the books I’ve already read.
Sleep Cycle – I use Sleep Cycle for my alarm and have done consistently since the middle of last year. It fascinates me to see my sleep graphs and in general it wakes me up at the right time so I don’t feel groggy and fall back to sleep again.
Instacast – I don’t listen to many podcasts but when I first started to listen to the few that I do, Instacast had just come out. I’ve stuck with it ever since, although I will admit to being impressed by Overcast, I don’t feel I listen to podcasts often enough to warrant spending more money on it.
Spotify – I recently switched from Rdio to Spotify for my music streaming needs. I prefer the design of Rdio, but it became unreliable on my Mac which forced the change. The recent redesigns of the Spotify apps has made the change more bearable and it’s radio stations are second to none.
Camera & Photos – I use the default camera app, although it’s mostly accessed through the lockscreen. I don’t filter my photos often, most of the snaps I take are just that, snaps. The iOS 8 extensions are great and I do find myself using them more, I just wish that VSCO Cam would add an extension to their app.
Maps – I’ve never really had a problem with Apple’s maps. I like the integration with Siri and so it remains on my homescreen for ease of access when out and about.
Fantastical – For a long time I used the built in calendar app, but with the arrival of iOS 8 I made the switch to Fantastical. I like it’s notification centre extension and it’s a lot easier to input events that I don’t understand why I didn’t switch sooner.
I have a positively ancient 16GB black iPad 2 which I got the day after it was released. I’ve used it a lot in that time, mostly for consumption, but in the last month that has begun to change and I’ve had to use it for work a lot more.
There are a lot of apps that appear on my iPhone, so I won’t go into detail with those, just the ones that are unique to my iPad.
Twitterrific – I only really use Twitterrific on my iPad because they haven’t updated Tweetbot for iPad yet, as soon as they do it will be replaced.
SimCity – I’ve slowly become quite addicted to this game since Christmas. I resisted downloading it for along time, but eventually caved and now find myself dipping into it regularly.
Numbers – I’ve begun using my iPad to do some of my business admin. It helps me to stay focused on the task at hand and I use Numbers to keep my finances spreadsheet up to date. Thanks to iCloud it remains in sync with my Mac.
Billings Pro – This is a recent addition to my iPad. For a long time I’ve used Billings on my Mac, but with the upgrade to Yosemite it began to crash and freeze up regularly. Just before Christmas I began looking around for an alternative and Billings Pro seems to be winning, if only for it’s familiarity and the fact I know it does exactly what I need it to. The iPad app is an added bonus that allows me to do some of the less interesting parts of being a self‐employed designer (like quotes and invoicing) in a more relaxed environment where I know I won’t be distracted.