in iOS Tips

Why does an app make your home screen?

There are hundreds of thousands of apps in the app store. Some you may have, some you have downloaded, some you didn’t even consider. But even with those, there are hundreds of thousands of apps you will never hear of or see. You won’t even use them….
So what justifies a homescreen app? Why out of these alarmingly large numbers of apps, does one stick out over the other?

For myself, it comes down to one simple thing, usage.

I use lots of apps, I play lots of games, I change my workflow often, but when things change, so does my home screen.

I am retentive and order my apps alphabetically, inside and out of folders. I group them by category rather than by use. I even sometimes won’t use an app if the icon looks bad on my home screen. I know, I am sick!

The way I line up my home screen is even not worthy of the great iPhone 5 space. The image below is my latest home screen, showcasing how OCD I can be.


Just yesterday it was different. The mail apps were in different places, Facebook was added (for the Macdaily Facebook Page!), the Bible was pushed down to a folder, under applications. was recently added and has since replaced the need for me to drag down notification center and look at the terribly wrong weather built into iOS.

As you can see, I leave a line of space between the dock and my folders. I like the simple look and the neatness of it all. My wallpaper changes more often than my apps also. I am always looking for the next best wallpaper.

But the biggest kicker in all of this, I only allow for ONE home screen. I hate to scroll sideways to get to apps. It’s is inefficient in my mind. All of my apps fit into this configuration or something get’s deleted!

So what justifies a place on your home screen? Why does an app or a large number of folders occupy your home screen? Is there a method to your madness. I would love to hear what you don on your iDevices!

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  1. I have three screens, with single apps and one folder on the main screen, all folders on the second screen, and then my newest apps, as yet uncategorized, on the third screen. That third screen is the make-or-break wasteland. An app typically has one or two chances for me to move it where it’ll be used more often.
    I’m still not as ruthless as Matthew in terms of home-screen cleanliness.

    Also, it’d be cool if the icons could show you how seldom you use a particular app, i.e. the icon turns black-and-white if you haven’t used it in a month.

  2. Wow, only 1 home screen! That is tough. I get it though. It is easier to ensure you are downloading apps to try and then leaving them installed because they are on screen #5 even though you aren’t using it anymore. I am actually going through a semi-regular process of deleting unused apps just today.
    I have to say that by not using apps just because they have an ugly icon is kinda silly and cutting off your nose to spite your face. I certainly don’t understand this… (I hope you read sarcasm and self loathing just dripping and oozing from that last sentence or two.) Seriously though, it seems to me, and this is just an unmeasured observation, if a developer doesn’t spend the time to make a great logo, he hasn’t spent the time to make a great app.

    Any suggestions for a great iPhone homescreen resource that isn’t full of ads? Right now my homescreen is a black and white pic of the stage and crowd I took at Catalyst last year.

  3. I guess I am the slob of the group as I manage to keep my main screen loaded with my most used apps, my second screen is mostly organized and then after that it is a mess across 8 screens. The only major organizing I can say is done on screens 3-8 is that generally the further back you go the less often I use the app.
    Typically every few weeks or so, I start with the last screen and work my way forward deleting what I haven’t used. I to wish there was some software that showed you your app usage trends.

  4. Hope you don’t mind me commenting, as I’m an Android user (Galaxy Note II). I just happened to find this blog while checking out Standard Theme’s forum.
    I organize most of my apps into folders based on function as well, and I’m sure I’d do the same if I owned an iPhone.

    My folders are Browsers, E-Readers, Games, Graphics, Music, Network Utilities, System Utilities, Tools, and Video.

    The idea is to put apps in folders based on their function. For instance, my Browsers folder also contains a Reddit reader and Tapatalk app. Dividing my utility apps into Network, System, and Tools folders made a big difference in ease of access.

    @ Demian Seiler
    I’m surprised nobody has written an app for iOS yet that tracks app usage trends. Looks like somebody could make some money writing one, unless there’s something about iOS that prevents that from being a possibility.

    • Thanks for swinging by Ben. Honestly I want to get to my most used apps as fast as possible, and for me, if they are inside of a folder, they are forgotten.
      I think there is a limitation in iOS, for tracking usage etc.