Making the Case for a Single Homescreen

IMG_6251I’ve been in the two home screen camp for as long as I’ve owned an iPhone. It just made sense to have a page for my most used apps and a page of folders for all the others. In the past two years however a few things have changed:

  • Switching to an iPhone 6 meant more room for icons per screen
  • I also cut back on the number of apps I use overall.

Fewer apps and more screen real estate made for two very empty looking screens, so I started wondering if maybe I could be one of the “crazy” people with only one screen of apps. Turns out I can.

Introducing my new and improved single home screen…

Row 1: The Dashboard

Row1In the top row you’ll notice my “dashboard” apps. Fantastical provides me the hard landscape of my commitments. Day One lets me journal about my day. Momentum tracks my habits, and Fitbit tracks my health and activity.

Row 2: The Folders


I initially put this row at the top, but realized moving them down creates a visual distinction between my “dashboard” row and my frequently used apps. One of the biggest game changers here was a tip from CGPGrey in episode 26 of Cortex, where he mentioned putting only the most important apps on the first page of a folder. This lets me keep apps on my phone without really having to see them on the home screen.

My Apple folder still contains all the stock apps, but I’ve been able to hide them all on subsequent pages leaving only the App Store, Phone, and Settings app.

The second folder contains all my “miscellaneous” apps. I’ve tried to arrange the apps in different pages based on their function loosely described below:

  • “Action” (e.g. Uber, Starbucks, Scanbot)
  • “Distractions” (e.g. games and less important services that I don’t want pulling at my attention)
  • “Utilities” (e.g apps that live in my Notification Center or provide other background functions like Workflow or 1Blocker)

Media contains apps like my TV show tracker, Instagram, Netflix and Youtube. CGPGrey’s tip also means I can keep apps with awesome interfaces like Tweetbot on my phone for when I need to access Twitter but keep them “hidden” to reduce the temptation of mindlessly browse feeds all day.

Remote is my last folder and contains the apps for remotely controlling various things in my life (Nest, Alexa, WeMo, etc.)

An added benefit of keeping my folders on the main home screen is that the rest of my apps listed below are now much easier to access when using my phone with one hand.

Row 3: The Content

row 3

This row is entirely based on content. Reeder for RSS Feeds (still the fastest way to go through my feeds and flag things to read later), Pocket for things I want to read later, Overcast for podcasts, and Spotify for music.

Row 4: The Reference Apps

row 4

The last row is reserved for apps I regularly refer back to: Dark Sky for weather, Notes for active lists and project notes, Waze for directions and “time to leave” reminders, and 1Password for managing passwords.

The Dock


My dock contains the most important apps: Messages for chatting with people, Airmail for email: Safari for looking up things, and Omnifocus for keeping my life on track.

Also worth noting, keeping Omnifocus in the last dock slot keeps it in the same location as the “Add to Inbox” icon inside the app removing the need to move my thumb when adding a new task to Omnifocus.


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