My iPhone home screen

I just spent over 3 hours mucking around with my iPhone home screen. While it’s fun sometimes, it’s also a waste of what otherwise could’ve been a fairly productive morning.

Why do I care so much what’s on my home screen?

I realised that I’ve changed it way too many times since I started using the iPhone, and I’ve never been truly satisfied with my choices. I think that’s precisely the problem. Choices. I just have too many of them.

There are just way too many apps and way too many options. Most of the apps I have installed are “just in case” and I honestly haven’t used them other than the 2 minutes I played around with them after downloading. Many others are “to check” that were free and I thought might be interesting. This is rubbish. It’s a dumb thing to do.

The real problem is the mental space this apparently small issue occupies. Every time I unlocked my iPhone I got just a little bit anxious about that app that I haven’t used in a while but I should because it’s right there in front of me.

Lame. I know. But I couldn’t help it. Maybe a little OCD trying to get out?

So today I decided to do some iPhone-cleaning. I realised I had 198 apps out of which I probably use about 25 on a regular basis, and that’s counting photography apps (which I’m addicted to) and games. A few other apps in the “just in case” category are ok to keep around, like IMDb, Wikipanion, WhatTheFont, and a few travel related ones. Most of the other ones are a waste of space.

So what did I do?

  1. Deleted all apps that I didn’t immediately remember what they did.
  2. Synced the iPhone and removed all apps.
  3. Used the iPhone naked for a full day, noticing which apps I missed.
  4. Installed the ones I missed the previous day. I added only 9.
  5. Used the iPhone with only the built in plus the 9 for a day. No dramas.
  6. I then installed the “just in case” I couldn’t part with and ended up at 99.

I believe 99 apps is still way too many, but it’s half of what I had before. Also, 20 are photo related, 18 are games, and 2 are baby apps that my daughter likes, and these don’t really count.

Today, my homescreen has only my primary apps with no folders. I like keeping these just one tap away as I use them often.

My second and third screens have folders.

I'm also not going out looking to see what apps are out there anymore. I have what I need mostly. The only 2 apps I'm not sure about are Feeds and Simplenote. More on that later.