iOS Apps

I’ve not indulged in a tech/gadget post for a while, so forgive me (or don’t!).

The ever changing merry go round

I’ve mentioned before my strive for ‘better’. It’s a constant part of my life and, considering that I spend a lot of my life using my iPhone, that means I’m always on the look out for better ways to get things done.

Here’s my current home screen:

My iOS Apps

There is some notion to the arrangement of my iOS apps, although it’s the one thing I tweak quite often; ideally I’d be happy if there were an ‘auto-arrange by usage’ option as that’s how I try and group things on my home screen. That said, I do put some apps there to force usage, current example being Downcast. I’ve not really been a big podcast listener in the past, but I’m trying to nurture my growing love for spoken word radio, hence it’s current position on the home screen.

For the most often used iOS apps – email, tasks, calendars and various writing tools – there is a general theme for the apps I use most frequently, they work and sync across all of my tech (iPhone, iPad and MacBooks). Some are backed by Google technology (mail and calendars) but given I use my phone for both personal and work use, my system is deliberately built around those dual uses.

Read on for the full list…

My iOS Apps (homescreen)

  • Phone – I don’t use my phone for making all that many phone calls, hence why I’ve moved it out of the dock.
  • Often folder – contains apps I don’t use every day but I want to be close at hand.
  • Photo folder – this one has chopped and changed. I only really use Camera+ and the Photos app, occasionally PicStitch too, but as it’s a folder, I don’t mind having the other apps in there.
  • Clock – since they added the ability to use MP3s for alarm sounds I’ve been using this for my alarm clock. I’ve tried loads of apps but no longer have the display on all night as a clock so the default app is all I need.
  • LIFX – I backed this Kickstarter project. This app controls a WIFI LED bulb in a large uplighter I have in my living room. It’s very lazy but high on geek score!
  • Yahoo Weather – I’ve tried others but all I really need is a forecast for the days ahead. There are apps that give me that on the home screen but this is just so damn pretty it’s hard to relegate it.
  • Yahoo News Digest – a new app, it updates twice a day and pulls in news stories from round the world. I’m enjoying it as it prompts me to read news. Like the Weather app, this is very pretty to look at and use as well. Well done Yahoo!
  • Messenger – I’m trying to move away from Facebook but the Messenger functionality is useful for group messaging and ‘non-urgent’ messages.
  • Downcast (app) – as mentioned, a nice podcast app with better functionality than the built-in app. It syncs to iCloud so no matter what device I use, I don’t have to manage playlists/played podcasts/subscriptions more than once.
  • Safari – For the internets innit!
  • Drafts (app)- I’ve still to make my peace with this app. It SHOULD be ideal for me as it can push notes to Day One (in my Often folder), Evernote, email and more. It remains on my homescreen to remind me to use it and persevere with it but it’s time may be limited.
  • Byword (app) – My writing tool of choice (I’m writing this post using it). It syncs files to a Dropbox folder so no matter which device I pick up, I can access drafts of posts wherever I am. It’s also helping me get into Markdown (which WordPress now supports) and is adding a little richness to the formatting of my posts too, not a bad thing I think.
  • Spotify (app)- I can’t remember the last time I fired up iTunes or listened to music natively on my iPhone Music app. I’m still not sure if that’s a bad or a good thing. Another app the syncs across my devices as well.
  • RunKeeper (app) – I run occasionally. This tracks those runs.
  • Evernote (app) – It took me a long time to ‘get’ Evernote but now that I have it’s indispensable. It is my notebook, clipbook and general dumping ground for information and lists and ideas. Syncs across all my devices.
  • Yelp (app) – I am an Elite Yelper. I write reviews for the places I visit. I use it to find places to eat or drink or visit. It’s fab, you should try it!!
  • Foursquare (app) – Writing this post has been interesting and this is an example. Why do I use this app? Habit? I would say it’s to track where I’ve been but… why? Not sure this is offering me any value.
  • MyFitnessPal (app) – I log all the food I eat here. Regardless of whether it’s good or bad. I’m building the habit to make me more aware of what I eat. So far it’s working.
  • Instagram (app) – Because photos. I’m very visual and like sharing things I see. I don’t use it often enough, but it pushes the photos to my Flickr account so if nothing else I’ve got a record of the photos somewhere.
  • Twitterific – Because Twitter. I prefer Twitterific as it looks better than Tweetbot and has a ‘muffle’ feature to hide all those hashtagged posts I don’t want to see, or users I want to gag for a while.
  • Messages – for … messages. Most people I know are on iPhones so the bulk are free through iMessage.
  • Todoist (app) – Another app that excels across multiple platforms. It meets my sweet spot of usage for this type of app (more later).
  • CloudMagic (app) – This app allows me to monitor my own personal email account, and my work email in a better app than the default Mail app (if only because of some nice design touches that help me see, instantly, which account an email is in).
  • Fantastical (app) – I’d be lost without my calendar and Fantastical allows me to see all the calendars I want (my own, a shared one, and 6 others), and adding new entries is a dream thanks to their natural language processing. I use their OSX app as well for a simple drop-down calendar.

So that’s what I have on my homescreen today. Some of the iOS app choices may warrant a little more discussion but I’ll save those for other posts.

Sidenote: Whilst writing this post I happened across a screenshot of my iPhone 4 (one fewer row of apps) and the excluding the default iOS apps, the only app that I still use is Instagram. Interesting.

What iOS apps do you have on your homescreen?


  1. lyled4d said:

    That, sir, has one piece of bloody genius which I’d forgotten – that you can take stuff out of the dock. (I know, I know, “Doh!”)

    Thanks for the reminder – I’ve just moved some stuff around 🙂

    March 10, 2014
  2. You are most welcome! It always amazes me that more people don’t do that.

    March 10, 2014
  3. Ian Dick said:

    Nice post, I’ll maybe do a similar one when I get chance. I’ve been capturing screenshots once a month to see how much my app’s change over time. Not much is the honest answer over the last 6 months.

    Like you, I struggle with Foursquare as I don’t get the value. I’ve often thought that it adds another layer to the quanitified self ‘stuff’ that I do. Fitbit, RunKeeper, Withings etc but I can’t get into the habit of checking in. Yelp is something I do need to get into more – reviews on it and the App store are something I want to do more off. Added to Todoist list!

    March 10, 2014

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