I was chatting with a colleague about home screen layout and the thought process behind setting it up to ones liking. This notion gave rise to the creation of this new website. The problem with the iPhone home screen is that you only have the grid of icons, nothing else; no widgets, no option where to put the icons, nothing!

So.

The placement of individual app icons and the choice of wallpaper is the only options you have for customisation. This is why I've spent too many hours pondering the perfect layout and app selection for the first home screen. The fact that many apps nowadays allow the user to select among a set of icons made this job both easier and harder: Easier because I was able to find more matching icons, but harder since there simply are more choices.

Let's start from the beginning, here is a screenshot of my current home screen:

My current home screen

The wallpaper is from IconFactory (support them on their Patreon page, they are a bunch of really nice people) and it fits the icons really well because of the colours. The illustration is from their celebration of the 40th anniversary of the movie Alien.

Each line of icons is colour coordinated - the layout is way more complex than that, but lets keep things simple to get us started:

  • First and second row - Blue icons with white details.
  • Third row - Blue icons with black and white details.
  • Fourth row - White icons with multiple colours, gradients, rainbow-ish.
  • Fifth row - White icons with red or orange details.
  • Sixth row - Rainbow-like icons, multiple colours but in matching hues.
  • Dock - Pink icons with white-ish details.

Now follows the more fun part, why the icons are arranged as they are. Brace yourself, this might get very detailed.

  • Dock - Icons I love seeing, they all make me smile. Furthermore, these apps I use really often, which means I always want them close at hand. Apollo is the best reddit client for iOS, Firefox Focus is great for looking up things quickly, and Twitterrific is simply the best Twitter client out there.
  • Rightmost column - The apps I use most often apart from those in the dock. Easiest to reach since I'm right-handed. Pinner is the best app for Pinboard bookmark management, I use Signal to communicate with my wife and friends, Things keep me organised, as does Fantastical. For banking I use ICA Banken and for my general Internet browsing needs, I run Firefox.
  • First row - Netatmo and Carrot are both weather apps and deal with maps. Flightradar24 also deals with maps, hence they fit together.
  • Second row - Signal and Mattermost are used for communication/chat. In Mattermost I have a RSS channel, and since Reeder is an RSS reader, it's logical to put it next to Mattermost.
  • Third row - Airmail is also for communication (even though I read more emails than I send), therefore it fits well below Mattermost. Email often end up adding something to my todo list, so having Things next to Airmail fits perfectly.
  • Third and forth row - Scheduling tasks and events go hand in hand, why Things and Fantastical simply need to be near each other, but never on the same row due to very clashing icon colour schemes.
  • Forth and fifth row - Musik (Music in Swedish) and Storytel both pleases my ears with music and audiobooks, so they belong together. However, since they have different colour schemes, they cannot be on the same row. The same is true for Prompt and easyNag. With them, I managed my servers and Raspberry Pis, meaning they also should be close to one another, but not row-wise.
  • Fifth row - Both V for Wiki and Storytel allow for reading (Wikipedia and ebooks respectively), so they need to be next to one another.
  • Sixth row - Camera-focused apps (see what I did there?) - apart from Firefox, however Firefox fits in well because of the colour scheme of its icon. The photo apps go from right to left; capture (Camera+ 2), edit (Darkroom), and share (Instagram), which suits my hand better and also looks better. Reversing the order would make the row look worse.

The four remaining icons are all tools in one way or another, and they should therefore be close; Drafts, 1Password, PCalc, and Bilder (Pictures in Swedish).

Let us try to illustrate all these relations in one image:

Relations between apps on my home screen

Oh my, that's a proper mess, isn't it? But I guess that's the way my mind works. And by the way, I don't think that I have proper OCD, but this image points at the opposite.

Well done if you managed to follow my train of thought here, see you next time! By then I'll probably start reviewing the apps on my home screen, one at a time.

Or something else totally random.

Joline, peace out!

About the author
It's me!
Joline is a musician, songwriter, scientist (in biochemistry and biophysics), computer geek, social media manager, bowler, Transformers collector, wannabe prepper, and nerd. Also always honest and humble. Right.