My iPhone died earlier this week. It went quickly, and painlessly. One minute, it was plugged in on my nightstand, bleating the gentle alarm in the Bedtime application. The next, it was dead. The screen went dim, then dark. The phone would no longer take a charge.
This is my work phone, and I reported it to the appropriate people when I arrived in the office. Within a few hours, I had a brand new phone, this time an iPhone 7. My old phone, may it rest in peace, was an iPhone 6.
It is amazing to me how much stuff accumulates on my phones over time. It is equally amazing how long it takes to get a new phone configured just the way I like it. My late phone was backed up regularly, and I could have restored that backup to my new phone, but since the phone was new, I thought I’d take the opportunity to selectively install those apps that I use the most, and see if I could manage to leave everything else off the phone. This leads to the question: what apps must I have on my phone?
I try to keep a minimalist look to my phone. I dump nearly all the apps into a single folder that is off the main screen. When I want to use an app, I use the search feature to search for the app I’m looking for. If I wait to email someone, I swipe down, start typing “Mai…” and then tap on the Mail icon when it appears in the search results. I’ve done this for a long time now. I’m used to it, and it works for me. It means that my home screen is empty, except for the apps that go on the bar at the bottom.
For me, the things that I need instant access to are:
- My calendar
- My books
- My text messages
- My to-do list
I use Fantastical 2 for my calendar, Audible for audiobooks, the Apple Messages app for texts, and Todoist to manage my to-do list. There were a few other must-have apps include Dark Sky (for weather), WordPress (to keep an eye on things here), Evernote, LastPass, and… and… and it turned out that was it. There weren’t any other apps that I had to have.
I had momentary qualms about not putting Facebook back on my phone. But they lasted only a moment. If I want to look at Facebook, I can do it on my computer, I don’t need to pull out my phone to look at it. It was a little more difficult not to put Twitter on my new phone, but I managed to get over it pretty quickly.
There was a time when Facebook and Twitter were among the first apps I’d install on a new phone. I’m not sure if my refusal to install them this time around is a sign of growth, or a sign that I’ve just grown tired of the apps.