My iPhone Screens, Explained

I recently posted a photo of my iPhone 4S home screen on Facebook and Twitter, and people started asking about why certain apps had a home there. Rather than try to explain it over social media, I decided I’d write a post about it. I also decided to up the ante a bit and offer up all of my iPhone screens in the process. By displaying everything I’ve got installed, you’ll get an idea of what apps I’ll be focusing on iOS-wise over the next few months. (Fear not, Android users. I’ll be offering up a similar post in the next few weeks once I’ve finalized my choices on the Samsung Galaxy Note3.)

This is a pretty lengthy post, so let’s get to the goods.

The Dock

OmniFocus: I’ve talked about my love for OmniFocus on many occasions, and despite the fact that many people think it is complicated, it embodies a lot of the qualities I like in a task management solution: It can be as simple as you want it to be or as powerful as you need it to be (Whether you want to dive deep or simply make it work for you, I’d suggest checking out Asian Efficiency’s posts about OmniFocus along with their OmniFocus Premium Posts product). OmniFocus is still my go-to personal task management app of choice, and for that reason alone it gets a place in the dock.

Drafts: The gateway app for any idea or task I capture digitally. I’ve written about Drafts here, here, and here, so you should give those posts a read and you’ll understand why I love it so much.

Dispatch: My email app of choice, even though it’s iOS only. I don’t want to spend too much time in email, and Dispatch gives me the ability to get those emails that need deferring to the right app (Evernote for ideas and OmniFocus or Asana for tasks). Its actionable qualities land it in my dock. Rest assured, I’ll be writing more about my usage (and love) for Dispatch more often in upcoming posts.

Fantastical: Even though I manage to use my calendar more sparingly than some, when I do need access to it I call on Fantastical. The natural language component is a big deal for me, and it’s had it far longer than the native iOS calendar app. I’ve been using Fantastical for a long time, and I’ve stuck with it as it has evolved into Fantastical 2.0. And I’m keeping it stuck in my dock where it belongs.

The Home Screen

Launch Center Pro: The gateway to a ton of my installed apps. I’ve written about LCP here, here, and here, so you should give those posts a read (when you’re done with the posts on Drafts) and you’ll understand why I love it so much. And now it’s even available for the iPad as a native app.

Sleep Cycle: My alarm clock, plain and simple. I like the fact that it keeps track of my sleep in a way that isn’t all that intrusive (re: I don’t have to wear anything) and it does the job well enough. I’ve been using Sleep Cycle for many months now and it was the app that pushed the Clock app to the third screen.

Calm: My new meditation app of choice. Calm is a fairly new player to the game, but it’s great for people who are either new to meditation or have had trouble with the ritual. (Note: This app has replaced Zazen Suite, which was on my home screen when I posted it a couple of weeks ago.)

focus@will: I find listening to music while I work to be helpful, and a recent article over at my old stomping grounds, The Next Web, indicates I’m not alone. The iOS app version of the web-based service focus@will gives me several musical options, even on the free plan. While I do get frustrated by having to log in consistently, it remains on the home screen, mainly because many other web-based apps force me to log in just as often.

Audible: I re-upped with Audible this year after taking a couple of years off, and I’m glad I did. I’m plowing through more books as a result, which was a goal of mine this year. Since I don’t do a ton of reading o my iPhone, Audible covers some of my bases in that department. (Note: Blinkist is also helping out in that department, and its iOS app may make its way to the home screen soon enough.)

Velocity: Michael Schechter introduced me to this app, and I’m very glad he did. It’s the only app I use to actually read lengthy material on my iPhone. I process much of my Instapaper queue in Velocity, having upped my reading speed to 300 words per minute. Much like with Full, I’ll have more to say about Velocity in the next couple of weeks.

YNAB: My budgeting and finance app of choice. YNAB (short for You Need A Budget) is the only budgeting app I’ve stuck with for any amount of time, and it’s the only one my wife and I agree that works for both of us. Even with the YNAB iOS app on my home screen there are momentary lapses of use, but the reason it stays on my home screen is that I it wasn’t there it’d be out of sight and, therefore, out of mind. And you don’t want your budgeting program out of mind.

Jotana: While Asana continues to develop a revision to its mobile app, I’m using Jotana as a gateway to my Asana projects. I use Asana for my team-based actions (although Todoist can handle teams up to 6 – including the main user — on its freemium plan) and I’ve got no plans to leave it behind as they keep adding great features. Once they get the mobile app up to snuff, I’m sure it will replace this third-party app.

Todoist: I’ve been experimenting with Todoist lately, and that’s why it’s on the home screen. Todoist impresses me on several fronts, as it has a clean interface and is available on a wide variety of platforms. The Todoist iOS app is no exception in terms of interface and functionality, and if there’s one task management app that has me tempted more than any other to make a shift, it’s this one.

Untappd: The only check-in service I use, Untappd allows me to share what beer I’m drinking and where. I’ve obtained far more badges with this app than I ever did with Foursquare.

Neat: My scanning app of choice. In fact, I use the Neat app even more than my NeatDesk. I’m also using the NeatCloud service to make sure everything goes where it needs to go. Again, like YNAB, there are days where I neglect to scan receipts that need scanning. But if Neat wasn’t on my home screen I’d be doing a lot more scanning at home…and in larger batches to boot.

The Second Screen

The second screen is pretty much full of folders, except for the App Store, Settings, and 1Password. Now I’m not going to describe every app in these folders, but instead have highlighted all the apps that are in them and linked to each in the App Store or a prior post here at Productivityist. If you have any further questions about them, feel free to leave them in the comments.

  • Reviewing: TestFlight, HockeyApp, UDID, Printic, IFTTT, Rev Voice Recorder, Blends, Buy Me A Pie, Juice
  • Business: MailChimp, Gather, Golden Monkeys
  • Finance: PayPal, Ballpark, Square, Mileage Log+, Soulver
  • Communication: AwayFind, Phone, Messages, FaceTime, Skype, Doodle, Cobook, Evernote Hello, Mail, Find My Friends, Glassboard, Hop
  • Productivity: Dictation, Evernote, bloom, Due, Mindjet Maps, Timer, Reminders, 30/30,, Asana, LessMeeting, Scanner Pro, Google Drive, My Minutes, Lift, Say&Go
  • Photo/Video: Camera+, Capture, Air Video, Netflix, Skitch, Vine, Superhero Backup, Videos, Camera, Photos
  • Reading: Reader, Zite, Flipboard, iBooks, Fish, Safari, Uncrate, FeedWrangler, Instapaper, Newsstand1
  • Writing: Voice Memos, Dragon Microphone, Quotebook, Squarespace, Pop, Byword, Day One, Writing Kit
  • Health: Nike+ Running, 7 Minute Workout, Distiller(!), Zazen Suite

The Third Screen

The third screen is half-filled, and is made up entirely of folders. I’ve only included the highlights of each folder here, skipping the stock apps that would fall into the categories after which is folder is named.

  • Utilities: Droplr, Dropbox, PrintJinni, Pastebot, iDolly, TextExpander, Keynote Remote
  • Passbook: Eventbrite, Cineplex, Airbnb
  • Social: Tweetbot, Buffer, Facebook, Path, Google+, Riposte, Whisper, Quora, Tweet Keeper, LinkedIn
  • Audio: Garageband, Rdio, Downcast, Coffitivity, iRig Recorder
  • Travel: Tripit, Perfect Weather, SkyMotion, Google Maps, Maps, Uber
  • Not Using: This is where I keep any apps that I can’t uninstall. The usual suspects would be in here (Stocks for most; Weather, Notes, and Calendar for more folks like me). I’ve toyed with putting Mail in here, but have yet to pull the trigger.

The Fourth Screen

This screen acts as a “limited folder” in that I can only keep 16 apps on it without spilling over to another page. Since this screen houses all of the productivity apps I’m currently testing (as opposed to the folder on the second screen that houses the ones I have adopted), it keeps me from going beyond testing any more than 16 apps at any given time. Some of the apps in here right now include Gneo, DashPlus, Blinkist, and 24me.

So there you have it. My iPhone 4S screens, explained. If you have any questions about the apps I’ve got or have suggestions about others I should explore, let me know in the comments.

1 The only reason that many reading apps, if any, are on the iPhone is because I’m still using my original iPad, which doesn’t support all that much any longer.