I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

My Homescreen

I can­’t remem­ber why, but a while ago I began tak­ing a screen­shot of my iPhone and iPad homescreens on the first of the month. I always find it inter­est­ing see­ing what apps people have on their devices and so I’ve decided to begin shar­ing my homescreen on the first of each month. If noth­ing else, it will be an inter­est­ing way of mon­it­or­ing how I use my devices and how the apps I use change over time (if at all).
This first post will be a bit more detailed than the ones which will appear over the next few months. I want to give a brief out­line of how and why I use the apps, and so in the future only new apps will receive this commentary.

iPhone

First thing to note is that my iPhone is cur­rently a 16GB iPhone 5c in white. It’s the first ‘tall screened’ iPhone I’ve owned, the second plastic one (I had a 3G) and the first non-black one I’ve owned. Even going back to my iPhone 4 days I’ve always kept the bot­tom row of my homescreen empty, I find it makes swip­ing between the screens easi­er as well giv­ing some space to the icons.
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In The Dock

I must be one of the few people who actu­ally uses my iPhone as a phone, hence the inclu­sion of the phone and mes­sages apps. The mes­sages app is prob­ably my most used app on the phone, espe­cially as my friends have gradu­ally got iPhones and begun using iMessage.
Safari takes up the second spot in my dock. Along with the phone and mes­sages apps, it’s one of my most used apps. When I got my first iPhone, the abil­ity to have the inter­net in my pock­et and eas­ily access­ible was the most excit­ing thing about the device and it still is.
Tweet­bot is my Twit­ter cli­ent of choice. I’ve been on Twit­ter since Janu­ary 2007, and have used it extens­ively ever since. When I got my first iPhone (the pre­vi­ously men­tioned 3G) a twit­ter app was the first 3rd party app I installed (I believe it was Twit­ter­rif­ic) and to this day remains on my most used ser­vices on my iPhone. I’ve flit­ted between a num­ber of dif­fer­ent cli­ents over the years, but when Tweet­bot came out I settled on it very quickly, it just fit with the way I used Twit­ter. Tweet­bot 3 is, as far as I’m con­cerned, the best ver­sion of the app both in util­ity and style.

The Rest

My most used apps are towards the bot­tom of the screen so it seems prudent to start with those.
Things – When Things first came out I was a big fan, a few years ago I switched to Omni­Fo­c­us for it’s cloud sync, in the last month I’ve made the switch back to Things. I find the app works the way I think, and whilst Omni­Fo­c­us can be set up to behave like Things it seems silly to use it in such a way. The Today view is where I live on my iPhone and with the latest update most of my inter­ac­tion with the app takes place through noti­fic­a­tion centre. The abil­ity to con­trol exactly what tasks appear there and not rely on for­cing the app to show what I want when I want allows me to pri­or­it­ise my days in a way that is man­age­able and real­ist­ic. Whilst the integ­ra­tion with Siri is great for get­ting ran­dom tasks into the inbox no mat­ter where I am.
Day One – This is anoth­er app that I’ve used sporad­ic­ally since I bought it. Back in August 2014 I began using the app to record 3 things I was thank­ful for from that day, I still try to do it, but over the last month I’ve begun to use the app as a more in-depth journ­al as well. My iPhone is the most con­veni­ent way of using My Day One and the low­est bar­ri­er of entry, whilst I only use it once a day, it’s prom­in­ence on the bot­tom row helps keep it at the fore­front of my mind and ensures I use it consistently.
BBC Sport – I use this app mul­tiple times a day. It’s there because it’s the easi­est way of keep­ing up with the mul­tiple dif­fer­ent sports I fol­low and provides push noti­fic­a­tions for my foot­ball team Not­ting­ham Forest.
Pin­ner – Most of my use of Pin­ner takes place through the share sheet exten­sion, but I’m find­ing that the more book­marks I add to it, the more I use the app itself as a point of ref­er­ence. It’s the only Pin­board app I’ve used as I arrived at Pin­board around the launch of iOS 8. It’s a great app and I can com­pletely under­stand why The Sweet Setup recently made it their Pin­board app of choice.
Instapa­per, Reed­er and Medi­um – Over the last month I’ve found myself using my iPhone to read on more and more. These three apps are at the fore­front of that. I’ve used Instapa­per for a long, long time and it was one of the first apps I bought when I joined the iPhone ranks. It’s one of the first apps I recom­mend to new iPhone users, ori­gin­ally I did­n’t think much to the high­lights fea­ture, but it is now my favour­ite thing about the ser­vice. Reed­er, along with Tweet­bot, is how most of the art­icles in my Instapa­per get added. I use it along­side my Fever install­a­tion and it is a pleas­ure to use to quickly get through a bunch of art­icles and fil­ter off the ones I want to read. Medi­um is a fairly new addi­tion, I don’t use the app as often as I could but it does provide me a good way to dis­cov­er new writers and content.
Mail – I try not to check my email from my iPhone but as a self-employed design­er it’s very use­ful to have. I’m still annoyed by it’s lack of a share sheet, and I’m intrigued by Mail­box, so it may well get replaced soon.
Goodreads – I read a lot, in fact in the last month I’ve read an awful lot. I use Goodreads to track my read­ing, to find new books and authors based on the books I’ve already read.
Sleep Cycle – I use Sleep Cycle for my alarm and have done con­sist­ently since the middle of last year. It fas­cin­ates me to see my sleep graphs and in gen­er­al it wakes me up at the right time so I don’t feel groggy and fall back to sleep again.
Instacast – I don’t listen to many pod­casts but when I first star­ted to listen to the few that I do, Instacast had just come out. I’ve stuck with it ever since, although I will admit to being impressed by Over­cast, I don’t feel I listen to pod­casts often enough to war­rant spend­ing more money on it.
Spo­ti­fy – I recently switched from Rdio to Spo­ti­fy for my music stream­ing needs. I prefer the design of Rdio, but it became unre­li­able on my Mac which forced the change. The recent redesigns of the Spo­ti­fy apps has made the change more bear­able and it’s radio sta­tions are second to none.
Cam­era & Pho­tos – I use the default cam­era app, although it’s mostly accessed through the lockscreen. I don’t fil­ter my pho­tos often, most of the snaps I take are just that, snaps. The iOS 8 exten­sions are great and I do find myself using them more, I just wish that VSCO Cam would add an exten­sion to their app.
Maps – I’ve nev­er really had a prob­lem with Apple’s maps. I like the integ­ra­tion with Siri and so it remains on my homescreen for ease of access when out and about.
Fant­ast­ic­al – For a long time I used the built in cal­en­dar app, but with the arrival of iOS 8 I made the switch to Fant­ast­ic­al. I like it’s noti­fic­a­tion centre exten­sion and it’s a lot easi­er to input events that I don’t under­stand why I did­n’t switch sooner.

iPad

I have a pos­it­ively ancient 16GB black iPad 2 which I got the day after it was released. I’ve used it a lot in that time, mostly for con­sump­tion, but in the last month that has begun to change and I’ve had to use it for work a lot more.
There are a lot of apps that appear on my iPhone, so I won’t go into detail with those, just the ones that are unique to my iPad.
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Twit­ter­rif­ic – I only really use Twit­ter­rif­ic on my iPad because they haven’t updated Tweet­bot for iPad yet, as soon as they do it will be replaced.
Sim­City – I’ve slowly become quite addicted to this game since Christ­mas. I res­isted down­load­ing it for along time, but even­tu­ally caved and now find myself dip­ping into it regularly.
Num­bers – I’ve begun using my iPad to do some of my busi­ness admin. It helps me to stay focused on the task at hand and I use Num­bers to keep my fin­ances spread­sheet up to date. Thanks to iCloud it remains in sync with my Mac.
Billings Pro – This is a recent addi­tion to my iPad. For a long time I’ve used Billings on my Mac, but with the upgrade to Yosemite it began to crash and freeze up reg­u­larly. Just before Christ­mas I began look­ing around for an altern­at­ive and Billings Pro seems to be win­ning, if only for it’s famili­ar­ity and the fact I know it does exactly what I need it to. The iPad app is an added bonus that allows me to do some of the less inter­est­ing parts of being a self-employed design­er (like quotes and invoicing) in a more relaxed envir­on­ment where I know I won’t be distracted.

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