You can tell a lot about a person by looking at how they set up their home screen and apps. This is mine as it currently stands on my iPhone 4:
My home screen is a little more sparse than others, but this allows me to quickly get on and off my phone without getting too distracted.
The Home Screen
- The wallpaper is courtesy of Bradley Casteneda, who has some real beautiful shots that fit perfectly with iOS 7.
- I have a three-icon dock. Four down there feels too crowded, and two feels like I’m sacrificing usability for the sake of minimalism. Three feels just right.
- I no longer keep Camera or Clock on the first page, they’re now tucked away in a folder for misfit apps. Because both are easily launched from Control Center, just a swipe away in any app, it was hard to justify them taking up space.
- My apps are arranged in alphabetical order on two planes: the first page and then the dock.
- I have no more than two pages of apps at a time. The second page isn’t anything special, just two folders: one for apps I use, and one for apps I don’t, but can’t get rid of.
My app selection is small, but it works for me.
- App Store: I’m constantly trying out new apps that have unique interfaces, or really great implementations of common ones. I also like to read the “What’s new” notes whenever one of my apps gets updated.
- Bible: YouVersion’s Bible isn’t the fastest of the Bible applications I’ve tried, but it is the best. Plus, the notes and highlights I make in the app sync to their web interface (bible.com) so I can read and study wherever I want.
- Messages: I’m in love with the new Messages interface for iOS 7. It’s fun, colorful, and beautiful. The only thing that could be improved would be the emojis. Fun tip: when in a message thread, swipe right-to-left to see the timestamps for each message.
- Newsstand: I use to absolutely loathe Newsstand. I didn’t ever download magazines, much less read them on my iPhone. However, after seeing how well designed The New York Times iOS 7 app was, I’ve really started to enjoy having high-quality news just a tap away for my daily lunch.
Students: The New York Times (among others), offers a huge discount to subscribers if you have a .edu email address. I’m currently on their $.99-for-four-weeks promotion, but I plan on sticking with them through the end of this year. Check out The NYT’s education discount page and remember to always ask about .edu discounts when shopping for software or subscriptions.
- Photos: The best camera is the one you have with you. My iPhone has captured so many precious memories of my life that I love having quick access to the most recent ones.
- Safari: Without a doubt, one of my favorite apps on iOS. When the iPhone was first released, Safari was the first browser to offer real, modern web browsing for mobile devices. It’s only gotten better with iOS 7, and will always have a place on my first page.
- Settings: Control Center does 80% of what I typically need Settings for, but I access the other 20% (wallpapers, email settings, check data usage) too often to not have them readily available.
- You Need A Budget (YNAB): This app has singlehandedly helped me get my finances under control and create a sustainable, responsible budget. The effect has been profound. I’m absolutely in love with this app, and am looking to do a full review once I’ve been using it a couple more months.
- Calendar: I live and die by my calendar. The basic rule of thumb is: if it’s not on there, I’m not going to it. One particularly useful part of both my fiancee and I having iPhones is that we can share a “wedding” calendar — so we’re both aware of important dates.
- Mail: I really don’t get that much personal email, but I do get a ton for school. However, to help keep it from overwhelming me, I set the app to only check for new messages every half-hour, and I removed the unread message count badge. Now I check my email when I have time, not when it tells me to.
- Vesper: This is where I collect my thoughts. It’s delightful, simple, and looks great to boot. If you have any appreciation of Field Notes or small caps in typography, go check it out.
That’s it. Each app has been specifically chosen because it’s the best at what it does for me. Have a cool home screen or app you really love? I’d love to hear about it.
—Thursday, 26 September 2013