Current iPhone home screen

Apropos of nothing, here’s my current iPhone home screen.

Stock Apple apps

There are a bunch of apps—Messages, Calendar, Camera, Safari, Photos, Weather, Mail—for which I’ve never found alternatives I like better.

Camera is the one I’ve experimented with the most, but you can’t beat the speed and ease of access of the Camera app. Sometimes I’ll take a photo and edit it in another app, like Snapseed.

Incidentally, I always keep the camera app in the top right, as that’s where the lens is.

There are a fair few apps organised in folders on the second screen, so I like to keep them updated. Having the App Store app on the home screen is a good visual prompt.


Still really love it. I’m nervous about its future, but for now I’m happy that my friends are still using it.


My Wikipedia app of choice and used at least once a day.


Where I keep my text files and notes, synced with nvALT on my Mac. I use a system somewhat similar to Tyler Reinhard’s semantic notes to keep them organised and easy to use. (Maybe I’ll write that up someday.)


RSS is still my main source of information and it’s the bedrock for many other services I use. Reeder, for iOS and OS X, is the best-looking and easiest-to-use app I’ve found. And believe me, I’ve tried lots.


I’ve never been a huge user, but (along with lots of other people) I’m getting back into it.




I read Instapaper more on my iPad than iPhone, but unlike the iBooks and Kindle apps, it’s opened often enough to warrant a home screen position.


I use it less than I used to, but Tumblr is still terrific fun and some great writers use it for their blogs.


Like Articles, I probably use this once a day to look up films and people. Side note: if you find yourself asking which film starred actor A and actor B, or which actor was in film X and film Y, try Double Feature.


Drafts is my starting point for most things I write on my iPhone. I’m using it to start writing this piece—I’ll send it to Byword where I’ll finish it up on my Mac or iPad before publishing. Other bits of text get pushed to Mail, Simplenote, OmniFocus, Pastebot, etc as required.


I track my listening habits using, so I use their music player instead of the stock Apple app.


I’m getting back in to podcasts using Huffduffer. I’ve tried the alternatives—which are pretty good—but the Podcasts app is fine for my needs.

My Minutes

I’m currently trying this out as a way to spend more time doing the things I want (or have) to spend more time on. These are things that don’t fit too well in OmniFocus. You specify a ‘thing’, the time you want to spend doing it, and the days you want to track it. So far it is keeping me motivated but I’m aware I’ve started and given up things like this in the past.


The best Twitter client by far.


This app tells me what I should be doing instead of checking everything else. All the work and personal projects I want to complete are broken down into discrete actions and saved in OmniFocus.


I use Spotify as a music audition service. I star albums when I hear about them, listen to them a few times, then buy them on iTunes if I like them. It’s more like Instapaper for music than it is an iTunes replacement.

What’s not here?

All the rest of my apps are organised in folders on the second screen. For some, muscle memory gets me to them without thinking; for others, I search using iOS Spotlight.

Where’s your phone? Well, obviously it doesn’t need to be on the home screen to receive calls, and I open all the other apps on this screen more times a day than I call someone. I’ll usually search for a contact using Spotlight before calling them. So no need for it to be easily accessible.

Zite is probably my other most-used app—I find it surfaces articles and links of interest that I’m less likely to see in RSS or social networks.

Author: Matthew Culnane

Sometime social and UX person working in education. Interested in food, books, music, others. Working out how it all works.