With over a million apps to choose from on each of the Apple and Android app stores, how do you decide what what gets to occupy that precious space on YOUR phone?

I find it fascinating how different people use theirs. If I bump into you out and about and want to look at your phone for a minute, I won’t make any calls don’t worry, it’s just my app-dictive personality. I don’t mind if that makes you cross the street to avoid me… But I thought I’d start by sharing mine with you.

Regular readers will know I live and die on my various devices, of which my phone is the most portable and ubiquitous. Running two businesses, keeping in touch, and generally managing my life – it all goes on here. I am frequently tweaking the layout of things, and downloading/playing with new apps.

Currently my homescreen looks like this. Here’s why.


I’ve showed you mine… Who will be next?

I am right-handed/ right-thumbed. So the main things I want to get at in a single click are in the column closest to my thumb on the right, camera at the top.

I have folders with various apps for business, social media and travel accessible on the homescreen too, things I need regularly grouped together a single click away, but otherwise out of sight. Visual counters let me know when there’s something there – like a million WhatsApps – but I have most of the audible alerts off, for sanity’s sake.

Personal email is in the Inbox app, bottom-right – I am test-driving Gmail’s latest baby but not 100% convinced on the mobile (the old Gmail app is still on my second page and I switch between them). Business email is tucked away in a folder where it belongs out of hours, but our work informal chat app Slack is on my homescreen where I want it.

WeatherPro and Zoneamos are for information of course. There are so many weather apps, I do switch them around a bit but I like WeatherPro for flexibility especially when travelling (have Aemet a swipe away for tracking local storms and so on when needed). Zoneamos is great for local info, everything from buses to fiestas – far more up to date than our tourist office website, and highly recommended.

Tunein Radio is for when I need a fix of UK media, usually a bit of Today in the over my first coffee. Streaming radio can be a battery suck but it’s good to have it a single tap away on dark winter mornings.

Duolingo – I have bumped that to my front page recently to nag myself to do at least a few minutes work on my Spanish daily. Even though I prefer to do the exercises -most of which involve typing – on anything but my phone when I can. I’m on a streak now, over a week of daily log-ins! The ‘Lingot’ haul is growing nicely – gamification rocks, at making me do stuff I know I should do and make time for. With the mobile app I can do a few minutes in odd little windows of time when they arise like waiting for an appointment or in the car.

What else is on there? Productivity tools of course, ‘weekly calendar’ syncs nicely with my Busycal on my mac and Google calendar, (for various reasons I have never liked the native Mac and iOS calendar apps but there are hundreds to choose from. FantastiCal is nice too if you want to experiment)

And my favourite task and project manager Omnifocus is there naturally – when I took this screenshot, I had an overdue alert saying ‘submit Costaconnected article’, represented by that red one!

However although it’s super-easy to quickly add a to-do to my Omnifocus inbox, post a tweet or write a note from these homescreen links, the super-power that beats them all is Drafts, next to my call button in the precious zone of my dock. Drafts rocks, for capturing anything, and is my go-to app when I am not sure where a thought or idea is going immediately.

One tap and Drafts opens to a new screen I can type or dictate into right in the moment, and then decide what to do with that thought, either on completion or later. It has so many built-in integrations, and with iOS8 you can add them so easily. For example, I can start typing or dictating a thought, decide it’s really a tweet and tap to send it from any linked Twitter account. Or I can decide it’s an embryonic article idea and pop it into a Dropbox folder instead, to work on when I am back by a proper keyboard. Or make it a to-do in Omnifocus, email to anyone… all from within Drafts.

I also manage my homescreen actively, for example when travelling in London I will probably pop Tripit and Uber out of the travel folder right on to the top, but they are of little use in-between trips.

So, that’s my homescreen. If you still have an empty Healthbook and default apps you never use sat in that valuable real estate I hope this has given you some thoughts, but if you are actively customising and using your homescreen in creative and individual ways I would love to hear from you about how and why – Do you want to show us yours? tweet me @Casslar or email info@costaconnected.com, and you could be featured right here,

Costa Connected, for Costa Blanca News, January 30th 2015   ©Maya Middlemiss,   Casslar Consulting SL

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