What’s on my homescreen? 2020 Edition

With the introduction of widgets in iOS 14 going viral, it seemed like the perfect time to give an update on my home screen, and for the first time in what seems like years, my home screen is drastically different.

As I mentioned in past posts, I’ve always considered my homescreen to be dashboard for my day, and thanks to iOS 14, I can actually do that.

homescreen2020At the very top, I have Fantastical displaying my calendar. I love that Fantastical’s widget shows both my calendar AND the weather. This widget stack
also includes my Today list in Things and Dark Sky for the weather.

The next widget is Fitness. This is not a stacked widget. I briefly toyed with combining the next stack, but I like seeing my activity stats all day everyday. As you can see from this screenshot, I still need to get today’s workout in. You’ll also notice I modified my exercise minutes to reflect my realistic goals.

The final widget stack used to live to the right of the Fitness widget, but as anyone who’s ever tried arranging a home screen knows, apps and widgets seem to have a mind of their own, and this one kept moving to the next line. After moving it a handful of times, I gave up and left it where it is now, below the Fitness widget. Maybe my phone knew I’d like it here more, because having all my apps under my thumb makes them much easier to access.

In this third widget is Streaks, which I use for tracking my sleep, mindfulness minutes, exercise, and stand hours. One could argue a few of these are redundant since they’re already included in Fitness, but unless Apple comes out with a 1×2 widget, anything less than 4 habits looks weird in this widget. Also in this stack is Waterminder. One of my favorite features of the Waterminder widget is that it will switch to the front with a warning if I haven’t logged water in a while.

As a side note, most of my water is tracked automatically throughout the day with my Hidrate Steel water bottle. Both Hidrate and Waterminder sync to Apple Health, so I mainly use Waterminder to manually log non-water beverages.

As far as apps go, I have:
– Waze, of course, for quick access to directions
– YNAB for managing my budget on the go
– Gyroscope for getting a more holistic view of my health and wellness. I mainly use this for tracking my mood over time
– Lose It for tracking my calories because apparently the connection between calories, exercise, and weight doesn’t come naturally to me
– Castro for my ever growing list of podcasts
– Pocket for reading on the go
– Spotify for music
– and last but not least, Travel Guide, which is an excellent companion app for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s basically a calendar and task list for the game.

My dock is the same as it usually is: Drafts, Messages, Safari, and Things, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

And that’s it for my home screen – just the single one.

iOS does add the ability to hide home screens, so I may play around with trying out some temporary home screens, (e.g. one for travel), but I’m not exactly traveling right now so I’ll leave that for another day.

All my other apps have been moved to the App Library, which has been another welcome change but in an unexpected way. I actually think the way Apple auto-categorizes apps is quite terrible, but interestingly enough, the fact that it’s so bad is a perk for me. Because I generally can’t find an app unless I swipe over to search, I find I’m much more willing to keep apps on my phone knowing it’s harder for me to get to them and waste time.

Until next time…

My Current Apple Watch Face

plush-design-studio-503363-unsplash.jpgIt’s been a little over 100 days since I upgraded my Apple Watch to the Series 4. Like many Series 4 watch owners, I was pretty excited when Apple announced new faces with even more complications, but it didn’t take long for me to realize more complications didn’t make creating the perfect watch face any easier.

Even months later, a number of complications haven’t been updated to support the new watch faces, some of the complications don’t work the way I had hoped, and there’s also the issue of 8 complications being visually overwhelming.

That being said, I think I’ve finally landed on a watch face that works for me, and I actually am using the ever cluttered Infograph face with all 8 complications. Even better, I’ve gotten out of the business of different watch faces for different activities on a regular basis. Goodbye separate faces for workouts, work, and weekends. Switching faces is strictly reserved for special occasions when I want to have a nicer looking face.

The main function my watch serves is to provide me with an overview of how my day is going with a quick glance. For those of you who’ve been following my home screen posts, my watch essentially replicates the top row of apps on my home screen.img_58f7e21be1c0-1


In the top left corner, I have the date (via Better Day). The top left is reserved for the calendar. I’d honestly prefer to have the calendar displayed on along the top dial, but Apple made an unfortunate decision to link the top center complication with what’s displayed on the dial and also lock the digital time complication to that same spot. Unless I suddenly start reading analog clocks as quickly as digital ones again, which is pretty unlikely, I’m stuck with giving up arguably the most prominent complication location to the digital time. In the bottom left I have the Activity complication, and on the bottom left is Dark Sky. Within the watch dial itself are the complications for Things, Workout, and Waterminder.

Now, this watch face isn’t pretty, although it is the prettiest combination I’ve come up with. It is, however, exactly what I need my watch to be – quick access to see and do the most important things in my day – what’s going on and what I need to be focusing on. Complications on the outside of the dial are for quick status checks. Complications on the inside are for action items.

The only thing I wish I could add is Streaks, and I’ve toyed with replacing Waterminder with it as I’m also tracking hydration within Streaks, but being able to both quickly see and track what I’m drinking from Waterminder’s interface on my wrist seems to be the key to making sure I actually use the app, and as you can see by the fact that I hadn’t tracked anything by almost 9:30, I need all the reminding I can get.

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

What’s on my iPad Pro Homescreen (2017 Edition)?

I’ve officially had my 10.5″ iPad Pro for 100 days now. I love it and use it every day, but I have to admit finding the best way to organize my home screen is something I’m still struggling with.

iOS 11’s dock has made the home screen feel second-rate. To take full advantage of multitasking and drag and drop, any important apps really need to live in the dock, but not every app can live there unless you use folders.

Making things more frustrating, switching between landscape and portrait orientation completely changes the app layouts since portrait supports 4 apps across while landscape support 5. I spend a lot of time hunting for apps because they move around depending on how I’m holding my iPad.

I truly hope that Apple has a revamp of the home screen in store for future updates, as it really feels like a waste of space on the iPad at this point.

For now, here’s what my home screen looks like:


In the dock, you’ll find the apps I use most often for multitasking:
Gladys (a shelf app I’m trying)
– Files
– Safari
Google Docs
– Messages

On the home screen itself, I try to keep most things in folders, but a few that I use regularly, but not in conjunction with other apps have earned spots directly on the screen. Calendar is there only because I like to see the date.

Everything else lives in the following folders:
– Apple (obligatory Apple junk drawer)
– Communicate (social media apps)
– Reference (cloud storage apps and other repositories like Paprika)
– Media (any sort of video app)
– Play (games)
– Utilities (tools like Screens and other background utilities like content blockers)

Have you discovered any tips or tricks for organizing your iPad home screen? If so, I’d love to hear them.


What’s on my home screen? (2017 Edition)

I try to post an update on my home screen at least once a year, but admittedly it has remained fairly stable… at least up until now. This year, I actually have a few new apps to show you! So without further adieu, here’s my home screen for 2017.

The top row still serves as a gauge for my day, but this time around all of the apps are new. I’ve switched back to the stock calendar app (read more about why here). Carrot Weather has replaced Dark Sky, due to it’s superb Apple Watch complication. My Ulla obnoxiously blinking at me is still my biggest motivator to stay hydrated throughout the day, but because it lacks any sort of tracking capability, I use Waterminder to track what I’m drinking throughout the day. I like it because it includes other types of fluids (even soup). Streaks is in the last spot, and I use it to keep track of well… streaks… It’s nice to keep tabs on various habits I’m working on (mindfulness, daily exercise, steps taken, hydration, etc) over time. Streaks and Waterminder are both rare apps that are deemed important enough to break my no notification badges rule.

The next row is my row of folders which serves as a nice visual barrier on the screen. Following a tip from CGP Grey to relocate any lesser used apps to the second page of a folder, I keep only the essentials here and rely on search for getting to the others.

The third row, my Media row, has remained relatively unchanged over the years. These apps seem to be here to stay.

The last two rows are a collection of miscellaneous utilities and things I like to incorporate into my life. 1Password and Waze always get a spot on the home screen. Notes is primarily used for quick access to carry out menus. Given that I still haven’t officially started classes yet, I’m still working my way through some TV shows so Television Time is being used fairly heavily at the moment. To balance it out and serve as a reminder to meditate, I also have Meditation Studio on my homescreen.

My home row, like my media row, hasn’t changed at all. Messages, Airmail, Safari, and Omnifocus are definitely her to stay as well.

Stay tuned for an iPad Pro version coming soon.




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.


What’s on my home screen? (2016 Edition)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted my last home screen post, December of 2014 to be exact. I was surprised to see that many of the apps I used back then are still on my phone (14/20 are still there), which reaffirms my belief that innovation in the App Store has someone stagnated. Despite my interest in trying new apps, none seem to come close to the ones on my home screen and the top lists on sites like Homescreen.is and the App Store itself seem to point to other people agreeing as well.


I’ve always viewed the home screen as a dashboard of sorts. Across the top row, you’ll find Fantastical, Dark Sky, Omnifocus, and the Fitbit app. Together these apps paint a pretty good picture of my day: where do I need to be, how’s the weather, what do I need to do, and general activity stats (sleep, heart rate, weight, etc). (I also use Fitbit for tracking how much water I drink.)

The next row is for reference: Day One for journaling, Momentum for habit tracking, Mint for finances, and Notes for capturing bits and pieces I want to remember (carryout menus and what we usually order, date ideas, restaurants to try, etc.)

My third row is for media: Reeder and Pocket for RSS and anything else I want to read or watch later, Overcast for my ever-growing podcast obsession, and Spotify, which for the first time ever has moved out of my dock. I’ll explain why in a future post. (Hint: Workflow is involved.)

The next two rows are kind of my miscellaneous frequently used utilities: Waze, Phone (although I rarely use my iPhone as a phone), 1Password, the App Store and Settings.

Last but not least, the dock, which also features an Andrea-home-screen first – only three icons: Messages, Airmail primarily for triaging mail that I later process at my Mac, and Safari.

For those of you wondering, no I didn’t clean this up for the screenshot, and no I’m not one of those people who turn off all notifications. Anything that happens to have a badge on the home screen is incredibly important though and deserving of pretty rapid attention so it doesn’t stay with a badge for long.

What’s on My iPhone 6 (December 2014 Edition)

It’s been over a year since I posted my first “What’s on my iPhone?” post, and that means I’m due for an update.

I still use the same general organization – frequently used apps on the first page with the last row empty, folders on the second. Moving to an iPhone 6 also gave me an additional row for apps on each screen.

I’m actually shocked to say that many of my “frequently used” apps from last year have lost their spots on my home screen. Calendar, Yahoo Weather, Things, and Fitbit have all been retired for other alternatives. Clock, Calculator, Camera+, and Light have all been replaced by swiping up to reveal the Control Center introduced with iOS 7. My dock however has remained the same.

Onto my new (and improved) home screen.

As you can see, Calendar has been replaced with Fantastical. Although I prefer how Apple’s Calendar icon shows the date, I prefer Fantastical’s quick entry and Today widget. Yahoo Weather has been replaced by the default Weather app (having stock apps replace third party apps doesn’t happen too often). Things has been replaced by Omnifocus (No surprise there.), and Fitbit has been replaced by Jawbone (after switching from the recalled Fitbit Force to the Jawbone Up24). The apps in this row are are the main apps I check throughout the day to know how my day’s going.

The next row of apps is entirely new. Day One, a journal app, is a recent addition (I recently switched from Momento.) Habit List tracks my daily routines. Waterlogged tracks my water intake, and Mint tracks my spending. In a general sense, these are my “tracking” apps that keep me on track.

The next row of apps is media-related. Keeping their places on the home screen are Reeder and Pocket. Downcast, my podcast app of choice, and iTV Shows, for tracking my favorite shows earn the 3rd and 4th spots.

The third row of apps is sort of a grab bag of miscellaneous apps that includes the only game on my phone, Threes, an app I can’t live without, 1Password, my favorite GPS app, Waze, and a folder of remote apps (Nest, Smart Glass for the Xbox One, Wemo, and Screens, a VNC client.

The final row includes the phone app, the App Store, and Settings.


On the second page you’ll find a similar collection of folders before.

The Apple folder still exists but includes more apps now that Apple keeps forcing me to keep more of their apps on my phone. This is really just a folder to hide all their apps I don’t use.

The Files app contains a few different apps now, and truthfully Files isn’t much of a representative name anymore, but I haven’t found a better name. This folder holds Google Drive and Paprika (my absolutely favorite recipe manager), Blackboard Mobile Learn (for my classes). The other three apps, Scanbot (which I got for free), Momento, and Diptic, are likely on their way off my phone because I just don’t use them.

The health folder primarily contains guided meditation apps I’m trying out to help me fall asleep. If you have any suggestions, feel free to pass them along.

Media is a combination of my former Watch and Read folders and now contains Fliks for managing my Netflix DVD queue (Netflix if your listening, I’m still angry you removed that from your own app.), HBO Go, IMDb, Kindle, Netflix, SwagbucksTV for earning quick Swagbucks, SportsCenter for updates on my favorite teams, and WatchABC for streaming to my new Chromecast.

The next three folders could realistically be combined in some form, but I haven’t worked it out yet. My $ folder contains all my financial apps, and Save contains apps like Checkout51 and Ibotta. Shop contains Starbucks, Amazon, and cPro for Craigslist.

Social contains all my social media apps: Alien Blue for Reddit, ESPN’s Fantasy Football app, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, Paper by Facebook (this app lets me keep Messages and Facebook in one app rather than two), Tweetbot, and Yammer (for work notifications).

And last but not least, my Utilities folder which holds more miscellaneous apps: Deliveries (for tracking packages), Drafts, DUO Mobile (2-factor authentication), #Homescreen for posting to homescreen.is, IFTTT, Launch Center Pro, QRReader (on it’s way off my phone), Swype (a third party keyboard that makes up for how badly I type on my phone) and TextExpander.

I’m always curious about how people organize their home screens, and to my surprise I find a lot of people end up with similar set ups to mine – mainly the first page of actual apps with a second page of folders. Leaving an empty row at the bottom of the page is also common.

So how do you organize your home screen?

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What’s on my iPhone?

I’ve got a bit of a tech theme going on here lately, so why not continue it with a post about what’s on my iPhone?  And why not on the day Apple announced the newest iPhone models?

It takes about 5 seconds of knowing me to know I’m an Apple girl. I’ve been using Macs since I was 2, and while there were a couple years that I used PCs, in high school, I went back to Mac and never looked back.

I’m now on my 3rd iPhone, so I’ve tried my fair share of apps over the years. I had originally planned to go over all the apps on my phone, but despite being pretty strict about what apps stay on my phone, I still have over 90 apps – much too many to review each and every one, so I figure I’ll give you an overview of how I organize the apps on my phone, and then I’ll go over some of my most used apps.

Let’s start with the home screen. These are apps I like to have quick access to or be able to glance at quickly.


  • Across the top row you’ll find Calendar, Weather, Things, and Fitbit. These are all apps I like to check in the morning when I’m getting ready.
  • Next is Clock, Calculator, Phone, and 1Password. These are all tool/utility type apps I like to have quick access to.
  • The next two rows don’t exactly have a specific category. They are just apps I use frequently or like to have on my home screen. So here, you have Pocket and Reeder. Camera+, Light, and Waze.
  • And of course you’ll find the App Store and Settings.
  • In my dock, I try to keep apps I use most frequently or need quick access to in the car like Spotify.

Now onto the rest of the apps. I only have one page of apps aside from my home screen. Any more than one page, and I start freaking out. I also like to keep them all in folders mostly organized by activity.


  • First up we have the Apple folder for all those apps Apple insists on putting on the phone and won’t let you remove.
  • The next folder is Files. This is where I keep all my cloud storage apps.
  • I’m not really into playing games on my phone much any more, but I do have a folder where I keep a few should I for some reason actually have nothing to do.
  • I keep any fitness apps in the Health folder.
  • Misc. is my folder for anything that doesn’t really fit in the other folders. When this folder starts getting full, it’s usually time to consider adding a folder or getting rid of some apps.
  • Any apps related to books or audiobooks are stored in my Read folder.
  • The $ folder has any shopping, bank, or credit card related apps.
  • Social is of course for social networking apps.
  • And last but not least Watch holds my video related apps like Netflix.

So which apps are my favorites? {By the way, I’m limiting this to non-Apple apps. If you use an iPhone you already know Apple’s apps.}

  • Spotify without a doubt gets used the most. I use it to listen to music in the car. I also use it stream music to my stereo when I’m at home.
  • Mailbox has revolutionized the way I deal with email. It’s also finally given me a way to take a break from work emails when I’m out of the office.
  • I’ve bragged about Things in the past. I’ve used this app for years on my phone, iPad, and Mac, and I don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. It’s my favorite task management app, and I’ve tried quite a bunch.
  • 1Password is by far the best password management app I’ve ever used. In fact, I love it soo much, it was first piece of software I ever paid for on my Mac. When the latest iPhone version was released, I even stayed up late to get it when it came out. {Not even embarrassed about it…}
  • I’ve posted about how Pocket has changed the way I read content on the internet. Spotify
  • Reeder is by far my favorite RSS reader for iOS, and I’ve tried quite a few.
  • My go-to navigation app is Waze. In fact, my car has a nav system built in and I still use this one. I also love trying to figure out who around me is using Waze when one of the little Wazer icons pass mine.
  • Health-wise, my favorite app is the recently released Blogilates app. It’s well worth the $.99/month to get the calendar. Every day you get a list of video workouts and you can check them off as you go. Super simple.
  • and last but not least, I’m a big reader, so I use GoodReads to update my reading progress and keep track of what I’m reading.

Well that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed my quick tour of my iPhone.

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