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.


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.

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.


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.
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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