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.
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.
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.
Row 2: UPDATED
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 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 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 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.