Last week I ran into an article about 50 Essential iOS Apps. As it turned out, it wasn’t a list but a series, and some of the applications are anything but essential. I use many of Apple’s applications on iPhone and iPad, but have cultivated a growing list of essential non-Apple iOS apps.
Through the years I have tinkered with my iPhone’s app layout, putting the most-used applications on the home screen, and essential apps near the thumb for quick access.
Take a look.
Click or tap the image for a larger, pop up view.
See anything different? Messages, Safari, and Spark are the most used applications and they reside in the home row at the bottom. So does the Apple folder with the most used Apple apps clearly visible and one thumb-touch away.
Above the home row are four folders– Productivity, Tools, Apps, and Favorites– and their contents are clearly visible, too, and each app is just a thumb touch away. The rest of the applications on the home screen also are on the most used apps list, but in declining order.
That’s right. I don’t use the Phone app much. I like to tell people that my iPhone is special. It only dials out. The non-Apple apps are used frequently.
- Spark – I prefer this to Apple’s Mail, but keep Mail running on a Mac with SpamSieve to capture spam.
- PCalc – I don’t know of a better, faster, easier calculator and this one lives on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch.
- Things – I move between Things and 2Do but also use Apple’s Reminders and Notes apps.
- News Explorer – One of the best ever RSS apps; again, it runs on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV.
- Flipboard – I rummage through a dozen or so iOS news apps, but the most used are Flipboard and Apple’s own News apps.
- Waze – Apple’s Maps apps does not do as good a job on traffic as Google Maps, but Waze has useful driving features not found in either one.
- Fantastical – This is how Calendar should work.
- theScore – I’ve tried others, including ESPN’s (decent) but theScore handles favorite teams better.
- Wunderground – Best weather app for iOS. Radar is built-in.
More than half the essentials list have one thing in common. They have iPad and Mac counterparts.
The Favorites folder has essential apps a thumb tap away. 1Password, Pedometer, Cardiogram, Dropbox, Facebook and Instagram, Instapaper and Pocket, and I’m trying out Telegram. If the Russians and Chinese hate it then it must be a worthy messaging app.
The mix of Apple’s own apps and curated non-Apple selections works well, but the secret to easier app launching is the use of folders on the home screen. That is highly recommended, especially with a row of folders above the home favorites.
As to ProCamera vs. Apple’s own Camera app, I decided Camera didn’t need to be on the home screen because it is already a tap away on the lock screen.
And, I tinker even with the arrangement above, moving more frequently used apps to the home screen, and demoting others. Your mileage may vary, but this routine of easy accessibility combined with tweaks and adjustments works well.