2019 iOS Homescreen

Another year has rushed past, and with it, another iPhone update and some changes to my phone since last year’s setup. My use of a single screen of apps continues, with a few major and minor changes alongside.

2019 iPhone Screen

I’ve posted these for the past few years, so if you want to see what apps I was using in 2017, here you go.

Some things change

3 app dock—I moved my Twitter app out of my dock in order to spend less time on Twitter. I figured if I wanted to to launch it I could easily search for it, but perhaps by having it out of reach I wouldn’t launch the app out of habit or boredom. This worked pretty well.

Fantastical—Last year I said “This is definitely the app I am most interested in replacing.” I replaced it with iOS Calendar not too long after writing this post because of the cleaner look, date view icon, and a better visualization of my next meeting on my phone and watch. I also really hate how Fantastical uses space on the iPad. I still hope that someday Apple opens up the ability to change icons based on events or time, but until they do, I’ll have a hard time moving away from the default calendar.

Bear—I moved completely off of Bear in favor of iAWriter, largely due to Working Copy, which is an excellent Git client for iOS devices, and means I can use iAWriter’s file function to open up posts like this one that live in my personal blog’s Drafts folder.

Google Maps—I moved back to Apple Maps. In general Apple Maps got a lot better, and works better on my watch. Also, in Japan, Apple Maps often shows results from TabeLog, which tends to have much better local recommendations.

Tweetbot—I replaced this with the weird beta Twitter app twttr. It’s hidden in a folder now to encourage me to not use it as often, and that is working pretty well.

Fiery FeedsReeder 4 came out and it’s amazing. I moved to Reeder 4 on all of my devices, and I love it. The read later feature has also replaced Safari’s read later for me in all instances. I don’t use Bionic reading, but it’s a neat feature regardless. I continue to use Feedbin to back my RSS.

Some things stay the same

Overcast — Overcast is great. This year it just got better, from CarPlay, to the watch, to my phone. I am really excited for Marco to update for more Airplay 2 features as he mentioned in a recent episode of ATP. There are other podcast apps out there, but for smart-speed, playlists, and everything else, there is only Overcast.

Spark—I kept using Spark this year, especially as they updated for a great black-screened-OLED-friendly dark mode, and rethought their entire interface in 2.5. This is a great email app on all my devices, and has fantastic keyboard support for iPadOS.

Apple Music—I’ve barely opened Spotify all year. Apple Music keeps getting better, and it seems like more of my friends have moved over to it as well.

Things—This app is how I keep track of all my work and personal tasks. It’s incredible. Keyboard shortcuts are available on iOS and Mac, and in general this app is a great example of how a cross-platform app should function.

Apple Photos—This app got a lot better in iOS 13, and I really enjoy it. Not much else to say.

Slack—I work at Slack still, and it’s still a great app.

Single folder—65 extra apps live in this folder. They range from rarely-used travel apps for work, to translation apps, to video and banking apps. I don’t love all of the apps in this folder, but I regularly go through them to make sure they’re still needed.

The best of the rest

A few of the apps that live inside my large catch-all folder and are opened via search.

Working Copy—This app is amazing. In addition to functioning as a great Git tool, it also has syntax and code-highlighting for tons of languages. I don’t work in Working Copy all the time, but when I’m iPad-only, I use it quite a bit for work and my personal projects.

Google Fi—I moved to Google Fi last year from AT&T largely due to the free and easy international roaming. It’s great.

Tsurukame—This is my daily second job. I spend around two hours a day in this app and reading in order to become fully literate in Japanese. As I write this, I’m at level 39, and have over 1300 Kanji above Guru level. Learning Japanese is super hard, but worth it.

Plex—Lots of video sources live here. It’s a great app, and I wish other video streaming services would learn from Plex’s great example.

1Password—All my passwords live here, and are super long and complex. Similar to Things, I don’t think I could work the same way without 1Password.


Last year I suggested my list of apps might not shift much, but five of my major home screen apps changed due to updates and simplicity. I’m happy this year with the apps that I use and due to my requirements of quality Apple Watch, Mac, and iPadOS cross-platform functionality the bar is really high for other apps to knock these off of my phone. I’m very excited about iOS 14, especially with news that it might be more stable than the particularly rough iOS 13 release. Perhaps Apple will give more features to devs that unlock unimagined new functionality. We’ll find out in 6 months.