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My iOS Home Screen Review

Towards the end of episode 95 of Analog(ue) Casey and Myke give each other’s iOS home screens a review. In that spirit, I thought it would be fun to go through the icons on my home screen giving an explanation for each one.

Home Screen

iOS Stock Clock

Honestly, I’m not entirely certain why this is still here. Prior to getting my beloved Pebble Time my phone was my alarm clock so this app was critical to my daily life. For the last year and a half, however, I’ve only used it a handful of times when I’ve forgotten to charge my watch. Todo: Replace this prime spot with something else.

Weather Underground {URL}

This is my go-to weather app. It launches with a radar view which is 80% of the time exactly what I’m looking for. (Read: How long before it starts raining./How long until the rain stops.) I also appreciate the hourly estimates for temperature and precipitation from time to time.

iOS Stock Photos

My family’s deeply embedded in the iOS ecosystem. If I want to see shared photos of my cute Rosemary and her equally cute cousins, this is the only place.

iOS Stock Camera

“Myke is right,” though I do at times launch the camera with a swipe from the home screen, I usually find it quicker to unlock my phone and tap the icon. Additionally, that top corner has been where the camera has been sitting since my iPhone 4S. There’s a some history there.


I don’t use a mobile browser often, so Safari is fine by me. When I do need a mobile browser, however, it’s usually look up something quickly, so I don’t want to have to dig around on my phone to find it.


Practical and aspirational. This is the app that most supports — for now — my Pebble Time. I used to bike, walk, and hike frequently, but now this is a reminder of what I need to be doing again. Todo: Get your dang bike fixed and start cycling again!

Financials (Wallet, USAA, Mint)

Nothing interesting here. I need infrequent, but quick, access to my Kroger Plus Card, banking information, and budget information.


My music application of choice. I stopped purchasing music almost three years ago and haven’t looked back since.

Overcast {URL}

Voice Boost allowed me for the first time to pleasurably listen to podcasts in the car. Smart Speed ensures I get maximum podcast for my limited listening time. (Professional, husband, dad, student, chaplain, etc. plus a very short commute mean limited podcasting time.) Plus, I enjoy listening to Marco Ament’s podcasts and feel some loyalty to his app in a strange way.

1Password {URL}

I used Lastpass for a very long time, but their apps were horrible. Cross platform support with Windows and Linux kept me on Lastpass, but when I switched to an all Apple ecosystem when I moved to LifeWay I dove straight into 1Password. Every single part of the 1Password experience is miles better than Lastpass.

Instapaper {URL}

I can’t even remember when I started using Instapaper. I store all the longer reads I eventually want to get to here. Lately, I’m also using it as a temporary bookmark queue. This is my go-to app for waiting rooms and brief moments of quiet time.

Unread {URL}

If I’m not on Twitter, I’m checking my RSS feeds. I use Feedly Pro as my backend and love the dead simple UX of Unread.


My wife’s a Snapchat addict, so I’m in the app to see funny pictures of her and Rosemary.

Microsoft OneNote

I dumped Evernote a few months back when it stopped working for me. I migrated to OneNote and haven’t looked back since. Synch works every single time and the app doesn’t get in my way. Very happy with my decision to give OneNote a try.

Simplenote {URL}

Sometimes I just want text. No images. No white background. Just light text on a black window like I’m at the terminal. Simplenote is where I keep my virtual prayer book (collections of prayers, etc. I use daily). It’s also where I store ideas for and sometimes write first drafts of blog posts.


This is for work. No matter where I’m at, I can communicate with my team and know what’s going on.

Day One {URL}

I’ve been journaling in Day One for a few years. I like that it’s simple. Mostly, I add pictures with little captions and save my Tweets here. As I have time, I write little entries. I love that I can go back now and see quick little glimpses of the past.

Wunderlist {URL}

I live or die by my task list. My school assignments and due dates are here. Everything I need to do for work (with due dates) is here. Shared grocery list with my wife? Wunderlist. Honey-do list? Wunderlist. Ideas for dates, ideas for presents? Wunderlist. Everything is in Wunderlist for me.

Daily Prayer {URL}

Sadly, this app is more aspirational than used. I’ve been trying to establish a daily practice of morning prayer with limited success. This app ensures I can do morning prayer even if I forgot my prayer book.


I love my Pebble Time! I am also incredibly sad to see it go away. Until my watch dies or — please, please, please — Fitbit releases a successor, I’ll keep using my Pebble for all of my notifications and alarms. This is the app that keeps my little smartwatch workflow running.


Tweetbot {URL}

I’m addicted to Twitter. This app feeds my addiction, but is also the best Twitter experience possible. I was a years-long user of the default Twitter app, but finally gave Tweetbot a try a few months back. I have no idea why I waited so long! Do yourself a favor, do not use the default client. There is no reason to live that way!

iOS Stock Mail

Yes, I know there are better options. I used Microsoft Outlook for a while, but it never really meshed with my workflow. At LifeWay I honestly do very little real work via e-mail. Everything is done person-to-person via a video chat or over Slack. Other than the extremely occasional emergency e-mail, I only use e-mail on my mobile devices to grab notifications and make sure I’m not missing anything critical. I might try Airmail someday, but I don’t see a reason to buy something I’ll hardly ever use.

iOS Stock Calendar

See above. I use Fantastical on my Macintoshes and rarely have a need to do any calendar management from my phone these days. Calendar is there to give me a quick glance of the day when I’m brushing my teeth in the morning and is ready for quick access when planning things with my wife.

iOS Stock Messages

This is the main function of the phone, right?

What’s Missing


Friends don’t let friend install Facebook on their phones. It drains battery even when you aren’t using it and more and more pushes you to install other Facebook apps to get anything done. Further, Facebook as a social platform is full of garbage. Stick with Twitter and keep your sanity. Personally, I cross-post to Facebook via Buffer and only log in to check messages once a day from a desktop.

iOS Stock Phone

I hate talking on the phone. Seriously, unless you’re my wife or my mom, don’t call me. Call == emergency. Send me a Slack, a text, an e-mail, anything before you try and give me a ring.