I’m fascinated by what apps people use on a daily basis. Part of that’s FOMO on my part. Part of it’s an anthropological interest on how mobile device use is changing over time.
Inspired by @mgsiegler, I’ve been sharing my homescreen(s) on social media for a while — usually once every year or so. I’ve decided to do this on a quarterly basis this year, just to get an idea of how my personal use of my iPhone (probably my most important and most-used piece of technology in my life) is changing.
In general, I organize my apps into two screens: a homescreen without any folders that I use 90% of the time, and a “catch-all” second screen where everything’s grouped into folders. I rarely open these apps outside of particular contexts. For example, I use the Hertz app when I’m renting a car, or Jimmy John’s when I’m picking up food for the kids, or Maps when I’m driving (but only through CarPlay). The rest of them are there just in case.
What’s changed? 7 apps have been dropped from the homescreen — and 7 new contenders have emerged.
Those that are out:
Watch. I want to be an Apple Watch wearer, but I can’t seem to charge my battery often enough to wear it regularly. Or maybe it doesn’t offer enough utility. Whatever the case, it’s gone.
Mendeley. I use Mendeley exclusively as a repo for the papers I read on my phone. Relegated to screen two.
Feedly. I should get back into reading via Feedly, but there are better ways to discover the content I need these days. Dropped from phone.
New York Times. I just never read it, unless the content was linked on Twitter. Relegated to screen two. MLB At Bat. The Mariners are out of it. Bryce Harper is an overpaid OF. Until next year. Dropped from phone.
LifeCycle. I’m so pained by this one. The iOS 13 Beta didn’t play nicely with always-on location services, and my beautiful lifelog stopped working. I haven’t been motivated to revert back to iOS 12 to pick up the functionality, but as soon as iOS 13 plays nice with persistent geo services, I’ll be back. Dropped from phone.
Strava. I don’t work out enough to warrant having Strava on my homescreen. And the constant reminder that I don’t work out enough was not motivating. Relegated to screen two.
Those that are in:
ExpressVPN. I increasingly use VPNs. Express VPN is super nice.
OneNote. I use this exclusively because of its integration with my Outlook. I’d much rather use Notes, despite its lack of native Windows support.
Pocket. I have been consistently storing content in Pocket for more than 5 years now. I’m trying now to use it for ArXiv papers, etc.
WolframAlpha. Being the father of a 7 year-old means you get asked a lot of questions. Wolfram has always had my back.
Magic. I’ve been on a quest for a virtual assistant that doesn’t break the bank for ages now. Magic follows in a long line of Fin, TaskRabbit, FancyHands, and several other services that got too expensive/unreliable for me. I’m pleased with the experience so far. PowerBI. I run a business inside of Azure. And business is good.
Search. This is my “shortcut-of-awesome” that aggregates several Siri shortcuts that I’ve written using Cognitive Services APIs (Bing Search, Text Analytics, OCR, etc.). It searches the Web, scholarly sites, Twitter, local stuff, videos and images, and much much more — output is deposited into iOS Notes pages that I catalog.