What’s on your iPad Home Screen?

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With the start of a new year, I thought I’d take another look at my iPad home screen page the same way I did with my iPhone, and make some decisions on what I “need” and what apps I have simply accumulated since purchasing my iPad Pro.  The majority of my most used apps live on the first page of my home screen, with my second page consisting of mostly folders and recent downloads that I have yet to decide if I want to keep or not.  Since there is only room for 26 app icons, I have improvised and added my 5 most used folders as well.  These folders are broken down into two sections–my favorite Productivity Apps, and brand based apps such as Apple, Google and Microsoft.

When breaking down the apps I have on my iPad, it is clear that there are two main driving forces for me that assist me in deciding what apps are used/downloaded to my home screen.  The first is that there are apps on my iPhone that I use everyday, and as a result I want to make sure that most of them are also present on my iPad.  This is especially useful with productivity apps that synch changes to the cloud, since I take my iPad to work with me most days.  The second, and perhaps not as prevalent, is that there are iPad specific apps, or apps that perform better because they were designed for the iPad interface/screen size as opposed to an iPhone.

The home  screen of an iPad can display 26 app–20 on in the first (4) rows and up to (6) in the dock.  I’ve already disclosed that many of my app choices mirror what I have installed on my iPhone, however there are some notable exceptions.  Unlike how I arrange my icons on my iPhone 7 Plus with the most used/accessible apps residing in the lower right portion of the home screen, with my iPad I never use it one-handed.  In addition, most of the time I have it propped up in front of me with a physical keyboard attached or as part of a case.  Interestingly enough though, perhaps due to the benefits of muscle memory, I chose a very familiar arrangement with my iPad.

Row 1


All Apple stock apps once again in Row 1.  I want/need them to be available because they are used often enough, however they are the farthest when reaching from a keyboard.  The exception here being Apple Notes, which I am finding to be much more useful to me than in the past.  This is an app that could potentially be moved down into a more prominent position in the near future.  On my iPhone I don’t use Apple Notes as often, so for now, it’s still in a folder.

Row 2


The most notable of my Row 2 apps is my Productivity folder.  Lots of apps here that I use often, like banking, to-do lists and alternate email apps.  However, none are compelling enough to display on their own.  Strangely, as I am writing this post I find myself rethinking my choices once again.  I suspect that my preference to have the camera and Apple Maps icons on the home page is likely do to my bias with how I use them on my iPhone.  I _never_ take pictures with my iPad with the exception of screen shots–and I don’t need the camera app for that.  In addition, I seriously can’t remember the last time I used Apple Maps on my iPad.



A quick look at my battery usage in the Settings apps indicates that I already have my most used apps on the home screen, so I will have to come up with a different hierarchy moving forward. Most likely I will promote an app from a folder to the home screen.

Row 3


Row 3 is where most of my folders reside–in reach, but out of the way.  These are my tech branded company apps–Apple, Google and Microsoft. In addition, is Facebook, the app I spend a lot of time in even though I keep trying to tell myself that I don’t, and Casts–my favorite podcast app.

Row 4


Row 4 is where a lot of my “work” gets done.  I have recently promoted OneDrive to sit alongside iCloud Drive.  Like most people these days, I find myself living more and more in the cloud.  iCloud Drive has been a great asset that provides me access to documents and photos on my desk top from home.  OneDrive has been increasingly valuable as I synch my growing library of work documents.  It’s helpful having access to all my office work for those occasional emergencies.  PDF Expert is also a heavily replied upon app that I use to synch PDF maps of all my sample locations from around the County that I am responsible for.  Lastly, Duet is an excellent screen sharing/mirroring app that extends my viewing workspace from my Mac.

The Dock


The dock is where my indispensable apps reside.  I use these apps the most, and as a result, cluster them together.  Outlook and Newton are my current go-to email apps.  I decided for me it was best to separate my work from my personal emails.  Calendars 5 has been my favorite calendar app for years now.  the folks at Readdle make some of my favorite apps, including PDF Expert from Row 4.  Lastly is Safari.  Still my preferred internet client, especially on the iPad.

There you have it.  This is my current set-up, subject to change and tweak over time as workflow changes and new apps are introduced or improved upon.  Would love to see screen shots in the comments section below of what your iPad home screen looks like, and what apps are most important to you.

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11 thoughts on “What’s on your iPad Home Screen?”

  1. BTW, here’s what’s on my iPad home screen. When baseball season is going on, there’s usually two more apps there:

    MLB’s “Beat the Streak”
    iScore Baseball (I score games that way)

    Here’s my iPad screen: http://imgur.com/a/VY7WX

      1. I actually love seeing what other people have. And then when I see the app store with 39 app updates, I get all irritated – UPDATE THAT STUFF, WOULD YA? Or people that have multiple thousand unread posts in their mail app. ARRRRRGH!

        Anyway, I ADORE Inbox. Have loved it since Day 1.

        There’s a couple of things I like better about Inbox over the stock mail app. If Apple would add them, I’d probably go back.

        1) Threaded conversations are MUCH nicer.
        2) When you reply to a reply, it’s smart enough to know who you’re sending it to, and it’ll reply back to the person and not yourself (if you hit reply to the wrong message)
        3) Having your to-do mixed in with your email. I love that. Given I would always email myself with something to do anyway, having the “to-do” items mixed in fits me well
        4) Saving URL’s to inbox. Given a lot of them are transient of nature, I can drop them into inbox, it will group all the saved URL’s together, and I can read them later. I know there’s the “reading list”, but I internally view them as “items to do” sorta, so I like the feature.
        5) DEFERRED EMAIL! This is actually my #1 feature. The ability to say “show me this email at so and so date and time. I love that stuff. You can defer reminders, too (what they call to-do).

        There’s way more than these, but these are my favorite features.
        Here’s a couple of links showing #4 in action:


        1. That’s an interesting work flow you’ve got there. You’re definitely taking advantage of all it has to offer. I do most of what you mentioned via other app(s) like Newton or Spark–very good email clients that do more than advertised. Plus I still use Pocket to drop in my URL’s and tag them for later. Old dog new tricks perhaps :)

          1. I was using pocket for awhile until I realized I was mostly using it as temporary URL storage. If I want permanent bookmarks, my browser has those.

            The temp bookmarks I drop into Inbox with their save link feature.

  2. I’m badly agoraphobic and travel horribly. My homescreen is laid out to quickly access apps that might be useful while I’m out and something has gone wrong, with a few things that also need to be gotten in a hurry or not at all. It’s based on panic, not how often I use something.

    Top row: communications (Messages, FullContact for phone numbers), Calendars 5 (is this the right time? did I get the address wrong?), Settings (why is my device doing x? how do I make it stop?)

    2nd row: Camera+ (I want it easy to find in case the moment is fleeting), 2 multi-function apps that include a compass (directions say north, how the heck do I know which way is north?), Google Earth

    3rd Row: Where am I? What’s nearby? (Google Maps, PlacesAround, AroundMe, parking apps)

    4th Row: my car insurance company app (eek!), Bing (I have a question and I’d like to get at least one non-sponsored answer on the first page, thanks), Evernote (wait, let me write that down), App Store (OK, nothing else works, let’s see if there’s an app for that)

    5th Row: wolfram alpha (not that I expect an emergency calculus question, it’s also good for handling oddball questions in fairly normal English), Dashlane (I keep some important ID and financial info stored), and a simple calculator that accepts handwriting (by the time I’ve reached the point of the evening where I need to tip the tow truck driver or emergency cab ride home, I’ve lost the ability to do math and hunting around for the operators on a the app keyboard is not gonna work).

    The dock actually does have some of my most used apps, but even they are focused on “I’m going to be here awhile” – Chrome, Spark, iBooks, Documents (I have a crazy pile of gaming books on pdf stored, I’m a huge tabletop nerd), and whatever timewaster game I’m currently obsessed with.

    My actual most used apps are almost always living in the double-click-the-home-button array (can’t remember what that’s called). By its very nature, the most popular are near the front, the ones that come up less often farther back. My second page has all the apps in neat little folders, and the apps are fairly easy to find, but some less used apps aren’t easy to categorize and may take a moment to dig out. (The unkillable Apple apps that suck I put in a folder labeled “Meh.” and ignore.) But I won’t ever need them in a hurry, so a few seconds hunting is fine. (Except maybe SoundHound – if I hear a song I want to ID, I need to find it and give it a few seconds to sort itself out before the song ends, and the increasing features are extending the startup. Knock it off, no-one asked for that.)

    So that’s my homepage layout, designed not for maximum day-to-day workflow efficiency, but to handle disasters when my brain may be slightly distracted. Page 2 is good enough for most use, though I’d desperately love the ability to add a second icon for the same app so that I can have a immediate access home page for emergencies and use my second page for efficient operations, while potentially including the same app on both pages. How much system resources can a shortcut consume? (Of course, while I’m wishing I’d like Google to add a flag on its maps and routes for phobics – us agoraphobes and folks with a fear of heights or bridges would really really like if there was a warning for high ramps and overpasses, and a route option to avoid them. If it’s going up more than 20 feet and has a bend I don’t want to go, warn me well in advance.)

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