Yes, I bought an iPhone 8+ and here's my homescreen


What is going on here?

I set this up according to several principles. The most important 2 are

  1. Minimize distraction. The only thing that shows me a badge on this screen is Photos, when someone (family) reacts to a photo I’ve shared. Very low frequency.
  2. Nothing social or email on the homescreen… they both are on the second page, in a folder, to add friction to checking. But when I need to pass time, the Twitters and Reddits of the world are their waiting for me.

Everything else on the phone is on page two, sorted into topical folders. I access those items 90% through search (I’m a LaunchBar user on my Mac, so this is 2nd nature to me).

Top row: things I touch the least, since it’s farthest from my thumbs (can you tell I’m a UX designer?) Though, I’m surprised how frequently I find myself in Settings—I wish Control Center would allow you to toggle Bluetooth devices on and off individually.

2nd row: Map-related things. Yes, I use Apple Maps 99% of the time because it doesn’t steer me wrong, and I strongly prefer its UI to all other map apps. I also have Google Maps, Navigon (100% on-board maps, can be used without cell service — also RIP) and (OpenStreetMap powered, has trails in addition to roads) tucked into the 2nd page.

The next 3 apps are weather, and I am tempted to start a blog dedicated to weather app reviews as its entire focus. There are a lot of bad wx apps, and there are nicely designed apps with poor data. I find myself in between. I an an NWS Skywarn spotter, and have a semi-serious weather station in my backyard, so I’m in these frequently on stormy days.

3rd row is somewhat random: I don’t use Apple Notes and Reminders a lot but they are my notes and reminders shared between my and my wife. Photos is here… but the camera is not, although I use that frequently. I pull that up from the lock screen or control center.

4th row: Info town. DevonThink—mostly for collection on iOS, though, if I am out and about, it can be really nice to have access to the numerous things I keep in there. I primarily use DT on the Mac. V for Wikipedia—I’m frequently on Wikipedia looking random things up, and having an native iOS interface makes it a really great experience. I have DDG set as my default search engine in all my browsers across platforms, but I make a lot of “throw away” searches I don’t want clogging my browser history, so I use the DuckDuckGo app to quickly look things up that I probably won’t need in the future. And Drafts 4. I don’t use much of the automation here, but I should probably swap in Drafts 5? I’m hesitant—4 did what I needed it to, and I feel bad using the free version 5 even though I have no need for the pro-level stuff.

5th row… I think these are self-explanatory. I look forward to the day I can switch to Apple Music, but right now I think the public playlists and ability to get sharing links is superior in Spotify. Both UIs are sub-par IMO. And Overcast because I care about podcasts, and use SmartSpeed + 1.25x speed for everything (faster if I can take it). Dark (not black) Mode in use.

Dock: I think everyone here recognizes these. I’m so happy Things 3 blew up, because now there’s a big community now flooding in around those of use who’ve used it for years. I’m no longer jealous of the Omni community. (Messages, 1Password, Safari also pictured—I have a family plan for 1P that I use with my wife and our parents.)

Since you’re wondering:


  • Apple Mail for my personal account and business account. — I hate that it doesn’t have a proper share sheet, but is still the safest, most stable mail app on the platform.
  • Spark for my newsletters, mailing lists, and “I have to use an email account to sign up” Gmail account. — love that every message can have an “archive” AND “trash” button, most apps don’t offer that. Love the custom slides you can assign. Not in love with the UI visual design, and it’s not great at guessing what to notify me of.


  • Apple Calendar is on the homescreen because I love that the icon tells me the date and day. I have Fantasical tucked away for occasional use. I use it a little more on my iPad.

Background image:

  • Portland Head Light, Portland, Maine. (My wife and I consider ourselves future Mainers) You can find it on Same image under my apps. Same image on my iPad. Pro Tip: A heavily vignetted image like this looks amazing as your screen turns on, as it appears to grow out of the center.

If you have questions… @me.


I really appreciate item #2, and I may give that a try. Also, thanks for the recommendation. I’m looking forward to trying it out!

I would like to second your comment regarding the plethora of well designed weather apps that use pretty bad data! Most weather app reviews I have read are solely focused on design and features; the only data source that ever seems to be mentioned is dark sky / which I have found is often quite bad for longer range forecasts in many areas (although great for local precip alerts).

Also very interested in your use of a separated email app for junk or unimportant mail!

Trails and a separate app for unimportant mail?? Genius.

@briandigital interesting how you have your phone set up. How do you like things 3? I’m just starting trying it out. That’s a really cool photo you have on your phone. You seem like a weather buff. Do all of these weather apps get there information from the same place? I use dark sky and the iOS weather app. But the radar app you use looks pretty cool.

Can you point me to this big community? I’ve been looking for a Discourse or forum site for Things 3 users. I’m not talking about twitter or facebook. I’ve been looking. I’m not fond of reddit but it looks like it’s the only one.

(Sorry took several months off from the forum accidentally)

I like Things 3 a lot. Used 2 & 1 for years, and pretty much every gripe I had was addressed in a more attractive app. I have like 2 qualms left, which I can call to mind instantly.

I am a weather buff, yes. The 3 pictured weather apps all get their data from different places, which is why they’re there (and as an update to this, I just switched to Carrot Weather and hid away Dark Sky and Weather Underground because Carrot combines their data and notifications into a single app with a far superior watch app, but it’s expensive.)

Dark Sky is excellent with telling you what’s going to happen in the next hour or two, but is weak on traditional forecasting, and has weak descriptions of weather. Also it intentionally hides current conditions like pressure and other things behind a tap. They’re actually beautiful under there and it’s a shame. The radar display is beautiful, but practically useless.

WU is better at forecasting, shows me all the weather data I want, gets data from my backyard station, and all that is grand, but it’s a damn ugly app, and it’s much worse if you don’t have a paid account (free to weather station owners who supply data), because the ad banners are terrible. Good radar display for average folks, and you can see all the weather station readings near you on the map which is cool.

RadarScope is a subscription app for radar data ONLY. It gets raw data directly from radars and does the processing on your phone for better results and performance. It’s the choice of actual meteorologists (you’ll see its screenshots on Twitter all the time if you follow any pro mets). I don’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t as into weather as I am.

So now I’m just Carrot and RadarScope (though I’ve not deleted the others. They go into the folder with other 5 or so different weather-related apps)

(Sorry took several months off from the forum accidentally)

I follow the community on Reddit, but I was speaking more broadly, that I see bloggers and hear podcasters speaking about the app frequently. There was a time when you could only hear about OmniFocus; and that’s simply not my pot of tea.