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 Clock, Calculator, Camera+, and Light have all been replaced by swiping up to reveal the Control Center introduced with iOS 7.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 Yahoo Weather has been replaced by the default Weather app (having stock apps replace third party apps doesn’t happen too often). Things has been replaced by Omnifocus (No surprise there.), and Fitbit has been replaced by Jawbone (after switching from the recalled Fitbit Force to the Jawbone Up24).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.

IMG_3705

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.


iPhoneHome

  • 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.

iPhoneFolders

  • 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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How I’m using ReadKit to Keep Track of Blogs and Videos

ReadKitOne of my more recent posts was about how I keep up with all the things I follow on the internet. My system has evolved little by little over the years, but the general concept has stayed pretty consistent. I subscribe to RSS feeds using an RSS reader and save the articles I want to read for later. Of course I’ve also managed to find some great little apps over the years to help me with this like Reeder, Feedly, and Pocket. If you missed how I’m using them, check out the article I linked above.

Today I’m going to introduce you to the newest app I’ve learned to love.

It’s no secret, I’m a diehard Reeder app user. It was one of the first apps I got for my iPhone. It was the first app I downloaded to my iPad, and I was part of the Mac version’s beta program. Reeder’s earned coveted spots in my dock on my MacBook Pro and my iPad, and if the 4 spots on my iPhone weren’t already claimed, it’d be there too. I really can’t say enough about this app. It’s simple. It looks great, and it has a ton of features. It just works, and I love it.

BUT….

The day Google Reader died, I think Reeder died a bit too. I moved to Feedly well in advance of the day Google Reader was going away, but Reeder wasn’t updated to support Feedly. Reeder got removed from my dock and put away to make room for Feedly’s iOS app and their web version on my Mac.

Reeder for iPhone was eventually updated to support Feedly, and it’s happily made it’s way back onto my home screen, but the iPad and Mac OS X apps were put on hold. The developer said that those apps weren’t as easy to update and that he’d focus on creating new versions instead. The iPad and Mac OS X versions have since been removed from the App Store, and I was left without Reeder.

As it stands now, I don’t do anything RSS related on my iPad. I haven’t found an app I like enough to replace Reeder for the time being, but I don’t use my iPad to manage incoming content anyway.

On my Mac, I was semi-happily using Feedly’s cloud interface {read:patiently waiting for Reeder}. Then, in came an article about ReadKit. It integrated both Pocket and Feedly into one app, and I’m all for having fewer windows open on my computer, so I bought it for $4.99. It does also support other RSS services and things like Instapaper by the way if you don’t happen to use Feedly or Pocket.

Now for my first impressions. I wasn’t too sure what to do with it at first. I liked the idea of one app for Pocket and Feedly, but I struggled with the interface a bit. I’m still not a huge fan of Feedly’s interface, but I do enjoy Pocket’s apps so that one was a bit harder to give up. I also have to comment that the icon is not the best. In fact, I hate it sitting in my dock, and I’m going to find a new one after I’m done with this post. As simple and clean as the app itself looks, I think it deserves a better looking icon. The biggest draw to ReadKit is having all of my content in one place. My only complaint is that there isn’t any way to save my items from Feedly to Pocket without dragging the article to the Unread section in Pocket. You can’t right click and select “Save to Pocket.” There’s not button or hotkey. You can only drag and drop. I believe they are working on adding some new features so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will be one of them.

I bought ReadKit on a whim, as I do with most things. I honestly just hoped it would keep me content until Reeder’s updated, but now I’m not sure I’ll want to go back. ReadKit has really changed how I collect, manage, read, and watch content from various sites on the internet.

The one feature that keeps me using it is the smart folders which I completely blew off at first, but they have changed everything. So here’s how I use ReadKit.

My RSS subscriptions from Feedly get pulled into a smart folder called “Incoming.” That’s where I make my first sweep. If I wanna read something, I drag it to Pocket’s Unread list in the sidebar and wait for the number to go up to make sure it worked because I’m paranoid like that. {ReadKit developers…. I’m anxiously waiting for that button/hotkey…}

Anything I save to Pocket gets added to a smart folder called “Read Later.” I skim the “Read Later” folder and  favorite anything that I need to view on the computer, includes a video, or I might want to pin.

Anything that gets favorited in Pocket, or starred, whatever you want to call it, gets added to a smart folder called “Follow Up.” Most articles don’t make it to “Follow Up” so this is usually a pretty small folder, but I’ve broken it down a bit further based on type of content.

If it’s something I’m going to want to add to Pinterest, I add the tag, “pin”, to the article which moves it out of “Follow Up” and into a “Pin It” folder. Similarly, I can add the tag “video”, which will move the article to a Video folder. I can easily batch all my “pin-worthy” finds at once, and if I’m in the mood to binge on YouTube videos, I can do that too.

Now, I do the majority of my processing and reading on my Mac using ReadKit so that’s where this system really shines, but I can also mark articles as favorites and add tags from the mobile Pocket apps, so I can really use this system anywhere, it’s just more efficient using ReadKit.

After combining all my reading into ReadKit, it became really apparent that I had ironed out all the kinks in my system for everything except for YouTube. I could read all in one place, but videos were another story. I had some blog articles that contained non-YouTube videos saved in Pocket. I also had my Watch Later playlist and my overflow “Watch Later 2” list in YouTube. I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was in one place?”

Now I’ve tried using an ifttt recipe in the past that added any video I marked as “Watch Later” on YouTube to Pocket. Sounds great right? WRONG. If I watched a video in Pocket, it still stayed in my Watch Later playlist. Eventually my Watch Later list was going to fill up making that recipe useless unless I also went to YouTube and removed it. That meant I had to remove it from 2 places… No good.

In the end I just saved all the videos from my YouTube playlists to Pocket. They of course got favorited with a video tag so they now appear in my Video smart folder in ReadKit, and since they aren’t in YouTube playlists that have a 200 video limit, they can all go in ONE list not two or three.

I actually really liked this set up. In fact, I loved it so much, I recently decided to add my YouTube subscriptions directly to Feedly. Now, when someone I subscribe to uploads a new video, it shows up in my Incoming folder, and I don’t have to log into YouTube and scan my subscriptions page for new videos I missed.

I’m really loving how I have settled into this system. It’s really helping me manage the information overload. In fact, I have less than 10 things to read later, and I’ve whittled my videos down to 204.

If you like to follow blogs, videos, or really anything on the internet, check out Feedly, Pocket, Reeder, and ReadKit. They are all fantastic apps. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my OCD mind, and how I sort of keep track of everything.

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Keeping Up with the Internet

I have a confession to make. I’m an information junkie. {I even took a personality quiz from a local newspaper that said it!} I love reading about new products, fun ideas, and just about anything else you can think of. I subscribe to over 145 RSS feeds, at least 38 YouTube channels, and of course whatever else I happen to stumble upon during the day. Media overload is a normal thing for me, so I have to have some elaborate organization to keep up with everything. Now I had been planning to do this post since I started by blog, so with the recent death of Google Reader, now seemed like as good a time as anyto explain how I manage {or at least try to manage} all of those the things I read and watch on the internet.

Another confession: When I heard of the news that Google Reader was going away, I have to admit I started freaking out. I may or may not have tweeted some complaints to Google and signed some petitions pleading for Google to get rid of it. We all know how that turned out though, and that brings me to Feedly. After trying several options, Feedly seemed to fit my current workflow the best. If you’ve been floundering around since Google Reader died, I highly recommend Feedly. Basically, any RSS feed I follow got migrated to Feedly with their seamless transition from Google, and that’s basically where it all starts.

A view of Feedly in my browser.

So a ton of people posts to blogs I follow, those posts go into Feedly. From within Feedly, I can quickly skim through everything that was posted, and that’s where I choose to read the article immediately {only if it’s short or super interesting}, save it for later, or just ignore it. For now, I’m using the web-version of Feedly on my computer while I wait for my “go to” RSS Reader app, Reeder, to update both it’s Mac and iPad apps. Reeder for the iPhone has been updated to support Feedly though. {If you don’t want to use Reeder, Feedly does have it’s own iOS app that is also pretty nice.} Oh, by the way, Reeder for iPhone is currently free right now, so  if you’re interested in trying it, now’s a great time to do it!

Reeder

Reeder for iPhone

Now back in the day, I starred anything I wanted to save for later in Google Reader. The downside to that is not everything I wanted to save for later was from an RSS feed which led me to Pocket. I can save anything from the web, including articles from Feedly directly to Pocket. Both Feedly and Reeder offer the ability to add items directly to Pocket quickly. There’s also a browser plug-in for those non-RSS items I want to catch up on. Then, when I have the time, I can catch up on those articles on my iPhone, iPad, or computer either through the Pocket app for Mac or the web. {When I’m on the computer, I prefer the Mac app, but it does lack some of the features of the web version like bulk update so occasionally, I do use the web version.}

Pocket App for Mac

I do have some feeds where I always read every post like the Skimm which posts a “skimm’d” down version of current events for us, “non-newsy” people. For those, I save myself a step and set up an IFTTT {If This Then That} recipe to automatically send those posts to Pocket so that I don’t have to add them to Pocket each day. If you haven’t checked out IFTTT, I also recommend it. You can set it up to do just about anything from sending you a text that it will rain the next day to tweeting Happy New Year for you. It’ll even turn your lights on or off based on events like when the sun sets if you have certain electronic gizmos.

By this point, everything I want to read or check out later is in Pocket. I’ve successfully filtered down my thousands of articles into a more manageable hundreds, but that’s still pretty chaotic. Right now, I probably have about 330 articles to catch up on. Further organization methods vary depending on my mood, but in general, I try to take care of the quick items like pictures or short blog posts first. If there’s something worth saving, for instance, a really good cleaning tip I’m going to want to return to later, I usually pin that onto a relevant Pinterest board. {I know, not the best way to archive information should the author delete content.} Since I typically catch up on things stored in Pocket while on my iPad or iPhone, I usually star {mark as a “favorite”} any particularly long articles, things better suited for viewing on a computer, or videos so that I know those are ones I should catch up on when I’m at a computer.

Now that I’ve covered my RSS feeds, I still have to do something with all those Youtube videos. Since watching videos at work is usually frowned upon, I save watching them for later. Thankfully, YouTube has a handy “Watch Later” playlist for that. On any normal day, that’s where I’d put these videos, but right now I have over 210 videos to watch, and apparently, YouTube has a 200 video limit on your Watch Later playlist which I have reached more than a few times. Now if these were silly 30-second cat videos, this wouldn’t be an issue, but videos seem to be getting longer and longer. {I have one that’s almost an hour long!} I usually try to watch the quickest videos first just to keep the number down, so who knows when I’ll actually get to that hour long video. It seems like more and more people are making longer and longer videos. {Note to all the YouTubers out there – Make shorter videos so we have time to watch them all!} For now though, I have a second playlist, “Watch Later 2.” {How original!} Anything under 9 minutes {because my shortest videos are about 7 minutes right now} goes into that playlist, and I’ve been whittling down that playlist little by little {at least until the next Web Finds}. I plan to keep increasing that time limit up little by little as I watch the shorter videos at least until I get my original Watch Later playlists gets out of the zone where I risk hitting the dreaded 200 video limit. Oh and if any of you are curious as to how I watch these {being the App hoarder I am – I like to try apps until I find the best one…}, I either connect my laptop to my TV and just watch them through the web {42″ of planners, cat videos, and Jenna Marbles…}. If I don’t feel like doing that, I watch them on my iPad or iPhone using my favorite Youtube app, Jasmine.

Jasmine for iOS on my iPad

Jasmine for iOS on my iPad

So that’s my super-OCD method of keeping track of what I read and watch on the internet. {Actual books, movies, and TV shows are a whole other ball game.} If you have any tips on managing RSS feeds or YouTube videos, if you happen to love any of the apps or products I mentioned, or if you just happen to get something out of this post, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. If any of you happen to have tips on how you keep your RSS feeds organized, I’d love to hear that too. That’s one part of this process I’m not happy about. I just can’t seem to find a good way to categorize them.

And again, all apps mentioned in this post are currently free. I wasn’t asked to mention these products, I just genuinely enjoy using them, and wanted to pass them on to my readers.

Until next time,

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