Home Screen


For no reason in particular, I’ve decided to post a short overview of the apps on my iPhone’s home screen. As you can see in the image, I also have six folders on my home screen; I’m not going to go into detail on those. I’m also not going to detail the other two pages, though I will volunteer that the second page contains less-frequently used apps and the third is all games (none of which do I play with any regularity at all).


Flashlight’s portrait clock

Flashlight – This is an oldie that I had long ago stopped using, but I’ve since rediscovered it as the best bedside clock I’ve found.


Occasions – By far the best birthday tracking app I’ve found. Bonus feature is that it allows curated syncing of contacts from Facebook (as opposed to the all-or-nothing version offered by the official app).

Reminders – I’m still not completely sold on Apple’s app, but its superior integration with both Siri and the Notification drop-down keep me using it for now. I also use Toodledo for tasks that I want to repeat based on completion date (it’s on my 2nd screen).

Music – For a long time, I relied on the Music app usually being accessible from the player controls in the multi-tasking panel, but this fell apart when Podcasts were split into their own app. Now, it’s much more likely that the wrong app is active. If I were a more regular user of something like Pandora, this would’ve already been a problem.

Podcasts – I’m pretty happy with this app after Apple’s last few updates. In fact, the only real problem I have is the issue described in the previous entry, along with the fact that the Music app is still the real default. This means that very often when I get in the car I have to manually restart the podcast that was playing earlier.




Camera+ – There are so many reasons to use this over the built-in camera that it deserves its own post. Simultaneous sharing to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr is probably the key feature for me, but others are nice as well.

Google Maps – I’m a big fan of Waze, and for a long time that held this spot. But I’ve concluded that Google Maps is just better. Sure, I miss the social aspect of Waze a bit — in particular, the possibility that someone marked an upcoming hazard with a description of what lane to avoid — but it wasn’t enough. I still reach to mark items occasionally, before remembering that I no longer can.


Phone – It is a phone, after all.

Photos – I do like showing off my pictures, though I’m much more likely to do so with my iPad.

Safari – I’ve toyed with using Google as my browser, but I appreciate the iCloud support in Safari. Plus, I know Javascript is faster in Safari than anything else on the iPhone, even if I may never notice the difference.

Week Cal – I’ve tried lots and lots of calendar apps and, for me, this is head and shoulders above any of them. This is another one that deserves its own post. A couple of my oft-used features are templates and copying events. Multi-select is also very nice.

NOOK – This spot changes to whichever reader has the book I’m currently reading. At the moment, I’m reading Magyk (Septimus Heap Series #1) which I think was free when I first installed the app. When I finish it, I’ll likely delete the app as I don’t think I have any other books exclusively there.

Gmail – Direct access to searching all my mail is the killer feature here. It also looks nice. That being said, the iPad app is much worse and I still use Apple’s app primarily there. I am on the waiting list for Mailbox (182,886 and falling!), so that may change. I used Sparrow for a while, but gave up on it for reasons I don’t recall.


Settings – Previously, my most often use of Settings was to adjust brightness. However, I’ve found with the iPhone 5 on iOS 6, the auto brightness works much better than it used to, so I rarely need to adjust it. On the other hand, my cellular connection seems to go wonky every so often, and I’ve found that turning LTE off and on (and/or Cellular Data) usually resolves the issue. Having just written this, though, I’ve decided to swap it to the 2nd page, replacing it with DataMan, which tracks my cellular data usage in real time.

That completes the first page, leaving the privileged four apps that get to be on every page. In the past, I favored apps that I wanted to be sure and notice notification bubbles. However, I’ve since changed my habits such that I’m almost always on the home screen (if not in an app), so that need no longer exists. Now, it’s just my most launched apps.

Messages – Probably my most frequent method of remote personal communication.

MoneyWell – Great for on-the-go tracking of spending, but requires the desktop version to actually work. If you are a fan of envelope-budgeting, this (the desktop version, that is) is the best implementation of it I’ve found on any platform.

Tweetbot – I’ve used lots of Twitter apps, and while there are some features I miss from some of them, Tweetbot tops them all in many ways. I’d say the killer feature for me is being able to Mute via regular expressions. My most-missed feature is being able to optionally post any update to Facebook (in addition to or instead of Twitter).

Foursquare – I’m not sure what to say here as you either get it or you don’t. I certainly preferred Gowalla before they broke it and then killed it, but either way, I’m a fan of the concept.

And there you have it!



  1. #1 by martymankins on February 11, 2013 - 3:08 pm

    I use Waze for traffic results. Does Google Maps offer something similar? I do use Google Maps for all other navigation.

    The Reminders integration with iCloud and all other Apple devices is why I use it. I would like to migrate to a more featured reminders app someday as long as it still works with iCloud.

    I still listen to Podcasts on my iPod 7th gen, but am slowly working my way to using this app on the iPhone and iPad. I like it so far.


    • #2 by Ren on February 12, 2013 - 10:32 am

      Google Maps does have traffic, which I’d rate as better than Apple’s but not as good as Waze’s, mostly because it just shows colors for severity of traffic but doesn’t show estimated speeds like Waze does.

      I don’t yet know if it does dynamic re-routing like Waze does. I’m open to switching back to Waze if they do another UI update. For now, I’m just happier using Google Maps.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: