We’ve tackled essential gadgets, desks and all manner of opinions, but there’s no better place from which to glean
incriminating evidence insights than a person’s phone. Some of our home screens are haphazard — a random assortment of apps used once and folders filled with junk — and some are carefully calculated to minimize finger travel time and reorganized based on statistical analyses and double blind testing. Regardless, they all seem to tell a small story about their creator and a offer peek behind the curtain of what all of us can’t live without on a daily basis.
Below you’ll find a bit of our home screen logic, along with a few of our indispensable apps.
AJ Powell, Associate Staff Writer
My method of organization forms a U on my home screen. It’s where I have access to my most frequently used apps, but still affords a view of my background image (which is always some form of wood). I have a few little folders on my home screen also — one for work apps and one for my finance apps — which helps keep things tidy.
As for apps, Textra loads better than the stock Android messaging app, it’s fully customizable and has a built-in GIF tool that allows you to reply with snarky gifs faster than ever.
The way I see it, Robinhood leans more towards gambling than it does serious investing, but it’s an easy way to tune out for a bit and offers the possibility to make a bit of money.
I use Instagram so frequently that it’d be a lie if I left it off this list. Whether it’s to tune out, research what’s new in the world or just to see little windows into professional athletes’ lives, Instagram is a favorite for sure.
Andrew Connor, Assosciate Staff Writer
I don’t use my phone much and I don’t do apps, really, so I keep things simple on my home screen. Just the necessities.
If you needed proof I grew up with Windows 2000, well, here you go. And look, sometimes I forget to bring a magazine or book on the subway, okay?
I haven’t moved it to the home screen yet, but because I have a 16GB iPhone I’ve pretty much given up on having my own music files.
Andrew Haynes, Art Director
My folders are organized alphabetically in a 4×4 grid. Breathing space is key. The apps at the bottom are organized right to left in order of usage for optimal thumb reach. Who makes phone calls anymore?
The go-to social media platform. It looks great, and engagement with friends and brands is two taps away.
It keeps track of every random task I need to complete.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 Free
The first and last decent golf game made by EA Sports for the iPhone. I can play the front nine at Pebble Beach before I get to Grand Central.
Ben Bowers, Managing Editor and Co-Founder
My first screen is always a mixture of essential apps with a few others that I’m trying to get into or understand better. They’re loosely organized by icon color which I know borders on kindergarten logic, but I’ve found it actually helps me find things faster. The rest of my apps are regulated to folders on the second page.
Slack monopolizes much of my phone time these days, but it has given my poor, brutalized email inbox a much needed reprieve.
A fun and powerful creative tool for editing mobile photos, as well as shots uploaded from my other cameras.
The way Spotify allows me to explore music from every genre and decade changed the way I listened to music a few years back and has never gotten old.
Bradley Hasemeyer, Contributing Writer
My apps are organized fairly logically according to why I use them. There is a GP folder, for instance, with DropBox, Uber and WordPress, etc. I then have social, photo editing, etc. One thing I try to do is make sure I don’t have more than nine apps per folder because I’ll forget they are there if I have to swipe within the box. With three accounts connected to the stock Mail app, I oftentimes use it rather than my laptop.
I post on Instagram at least twice a day, and it’s my escape to see other brands and even what cool stuff is happening at GP.
I also find myself on Snapchat, checking out what’s happening around the world.
Caitlyn Girardi, Editorial Apprentice
I constantly rearrange my home screen. Yes, it’s in Italian. We waste so much time on our phones, so why not brush up on a language while you’re at it? I like as much blank space on the screen as possible, so I use multiple folders and demote most of Apple’s pre-installed apps to a folder called “Purgatory” that I hide one page over. Most-used items go on the right-hand side of the screen. My most important folder in the easiest-to-access spot right now is “Social,” which contains some of the apps and tracking tools I need to monitor our platforms on the go. “Utility” is on the bottom left so I can always see what day it is.
I use it to track the ever-unpredictable train schedule.
I buy and sell vintage clothing.
My favorite “social media” (photo-and-video-sharing?) platform right now.
Eric Adams, Contributing Writer
I divide my iPhone into two app pages: most-used stuff on the home screen, and everything else on the second page. I cluster some into category folders and keep the most-used apps out in the open. Then, believe it or not, I place my most-most-used apps so they’re within easy reach of my thumb while holding the phone in my left hand. (I have a big 6S Plus.) So Instagram has the premium spot, then messages, camera, Facebook, etc., radiating outward. I keep all the social media apps that I don’t actually use, but feel obligated to be conversant with, in one folder that I never open — so, Vine, Snapchat, Periscope, whatever.
I’m leaping into Instagram all the time — so much that I often do that brainless twitch of re-opening the app the second I close it, just from muscle memory.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris $9
It helps me plan for photography based on moon/sun positions and other lighting considerations.
For when I’m trying to find specific aircraft I want to photograph in flight.
Hayden Coplen, Contributing Writer
Essentials on page one, everything else on page two. Space is good. Not impulsively clicking on Instagram is good. Seeing this zen photo of a coffee farm in India is good.
I’ve been using Pocket consistently for the past four years. I’m a longform hoarder, and this app lets you save links offline from Twitter/FB/the internet that you may not have time to read in the moment.
One of the freshest platforms for internet humor, from friends and celebs alike (follow John Mayer if you don’t believe me).
Sonos Controller Free
I love that I can place music from my hard drive, Spotify, Soundcloud (and any other platform) into one queue and beam it to every speaker in my house.
Henry Phillips, Manager of Photography
Pokémon GO Free
Some say it’s a fad but I’m in it for the long haul.
John Zientek, Associate Staff Writer
I keep my home screen app layout close to stock because it gives me a little solace in this crazy world. When the sociopolitical forecast is dismal and the cascade of global events is asphyxiating, I know whenever I open my home screen, the perfectly ordinary layout will remain constant.
Google Maps Free
Though the best way to learn a city is through experience and trial-and-error navigation, when you need to get somewhere fast, Google Maps is the way to go.
When on the subway, in the park or waiting at the DMV, I can shop for vintage Navajo jewelry, Dries Van Noten jackets and hard-to-find records.
Matthew Ankeny, Senior Editor
I hate clutter, but I also hate extraneous taps. So the first page of my iPhone has all my most frequently used apps — the ones I want to only press a single button to open. All the rest are in four folders on the second page, which I never open. Instead, I use the search function to find those less-frequently-used apps. Organization is by use frequency and thumb position, so the ones on the right column definitely get the most love (I typically hold my phone in my right hand).
The New Yorker Free
I’m able to read without a web connection, the layout is clean, and the writing is the best in the world.
Google Maps Free
The star “Save” function is my lifeline to culture. Before traveling to a new city (or neighborhood in NYC), I research places I’m interested in, then star them on the map. Once I’m on the ground, I can see what’s nearby. It’s revolutionized my exploring, and I almost always can find a place nearby that I’m excited to explore.
It took a while to figure out how it would work on my terms, but now Snapchat works for me. I follow a limited number of close, clever friends, and a few people with “aspirational” lifestyles. The news aspect continues to getting better (and worse, in some ways — looking at you Daily Mail), and the endless opportunities for coy irony are extremely addicting.
Matt Neundorf, Contributing Writer
I like to keep my home screen clean and uncluttered, so folders are a must. An extra tap or swipe to get to the app I want is a small price to pay.
If I’m staring into my phone, I’m on Instagram. Easily the best social platform.
Google Maps Free
I spend a lot of my day in traffic getting around Toronto. Sneaking through back routes is always a plus.
Michael Finn, Editorial Intern
The clock and calendars stay at the top, most-used apps stay at the bottom. Everything else is dropped thoughtlessly in between. I prefer to have everything on one page, so folders are key. As you might’ve guessed from the “Antisocial” folder, I’m one of those people who’s deleted and reactivated their Facebook profile several times. The “Words” folder houses all my reading material. “Roam” holds apps for getting around town and for satisfying late-night munchies. “Juegos” are the only two games I play: Duolingo and Hitman GO. “Useless Shit” is where I banish all the apps I never use but can’t delete (classic Apple move) and the flexing bicep emoji is for health and fitness apps that might as well be put into the “Useless Shit” folder.
Podcasts are a new thing for me, and I really wish I’d discovered them sooner. They allow me to learn constantly, and provide me with great conversation fodder. Overcast is the best way to listen to them.
Google Maps Free
I’ve been living in NYC for three months. Half the time I have no f***ing idea where I am or where I’m going. If it weren’t for Google Maps, I honestly believe that by now I would’ve gotten lost, given up, set up camp in an abandoned subway tunnel and made friends with a bunch of rats.
Silvana Volio de la Fuente, Design Intern
I keep my phone screen really neat and most of my apps are on the second page (I like to have all green apps on the bottom, too). I like to be able to see the background image when I open my phone. Also, I can’t stand red notifications on my screen.
By far my most-used social media app.
How I stay in touch with friends and family.
Lately it’s been really helpful to find places or get information on places before getting there.
Tucker Bowe, Associate Staff Writer
I can’t stand extra steps; that’s why my iPhone isn’t password protected and my home screen has zero folders. The simpler, the better.