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It was a normal Monday night. I wanted to go to bed. In fact, I needed to go to bed. It’s rare that I stay up past 11 o’clock on a school night, but for some reason, I just couldn’t sleep. With Netflix playing softly in the background while I lethargically scrolled Twitter, I came across a tweet that made me stop in my tracks — a video from one Ross Bolen.
It’s that time of year again. pic.twitter.com/ZrfY2LHtCr
— Ross Bolen (@WRBolen) August 14, 2018
The video was to show his followers that he was once again re-downloading his ESPN Fantasy Football app. Or, as he spelled it, “fanasty,” but that’s neither here nor there. If anything, this was a minor blip on the radar in a sea of other issues.
You see, fantasy football aside, this tweet said much more about Ross than just that he plays fantasy football. Lost in the content was the abomination that was the home screen of his iPhone. It was littered with red bubbles, rogue folders, and apps that no one needs to use on a consistent basis (looking at you, App Store and iTunes Store). Simply put, I couldn’t stay silent on the topic. I had to speak up.
It was only after his confusion that I realized that not everyone prioritized cleanliness when using their iPhone. Thus, I took it upon myself to create some rules to help you navigate through the confusing world of organizing your apps. Let’s discuss.
Your dock must include the following: Messages, Phone, and Mail.
For some reason, iPhones come stock with Messages placed among the countless other apps that you don’t need — not on the dock. It’s an absolute disgrace considering most people use messages not only more than they use the Phone function, but more than any other app besides Instagram. Moving it to the dock is essential.
Of course, along with this come the Phone and Mail apps. I don’t care which mail app you use — Gmail, Outlook (we get it – you work in finance), or the stock Mail app — but it must exist somewhere on your home row. It’s just the responsible thing to do.
As for the phone that you only use in case of emergency? Well, yeah, you could probably make a case to put it elsewhere but it’s too much of a millennial stereotype to disregard it completely so please just keep it down there.
Keep your stock iPhone apps on one single screen.
We’re talking Calendar, Camera, Clock, Reminders, Weather, Safari, Wallet, Settings. All of them. Whether you delete the apps you never use or just folder them just in case, these can exist in their own Apple-centric world without cluttering the rest of the apps that you actually choose to download. Allowing them to comingle with everything else is downright irresponsible.
By keeping these separated on a different screen, you rarely need to look at them or even acknowledge that they exist despite the fact that you use them once (maybe twice) a week. Much like the first season of The Wire, they’re boring but necessary.
Keep your most popular apps on one single screen (not in folders).
Below is a screenshot of the apps I use most frequently. I’m not saying that the following apps are apps that you need to be using most frequently; these are simply mine.
I use Photos often for work. I use VSCO because #aesthetic is life, per The Sunday Scaries Podcast. I use Gmail in addition to my regular mail to separate my inboxes. Twitter because I’m scum. Slack because I’m a businessman. Spotify because I can’t function without my jazz playlists. Podcasts because I can’t be clicking into folders while driving. Pulse because I’m a stats guy. And finally, Calendar because I’m just a timely-ass dude.
There are two very distinctive things you need to take away from this juxtaposition. The first, there are only nine of these apps. Not enough to fill the entire screen. You can tell me that you regularly use a ton of apps, but that’s a lie. Just check your battery usage for me one time and tell me that you use more than ten apps on a daily basis — you don’t. Having this few amount of apps not only allows you to streamline your life, but it also allows you to create a space between your apps and the dock. Seeing that background image in all its glory adds years to your life, I promise.
Secondly, there are no folders on this screen. Because these apps are used so regularly, I shouldn’t have to go on a fucking scavenger hunt any time I want to use one. One click and I’m in. If you’re continually clicking into folders, you’re just wasting valuable time that you could otherwise use to scroll Twitter or ignore coworker emails.
Folder literally everything else on your third — and final — screen.
Your third screen is your junk drawer. Yeah, there will be apps you use on a somewhat regular basis, but nothing you can’t live without. I separate my unneeded apps into three folders — Travel (Uber, Waze, airline apps, Bird, Maps, Hotel Tonight), Money (banking apps, Venmo, Amazon Prime, Postmates), and Bored (Tumblr, games, Reddit, Vivino, television streaming, and so on).
All of these apps fall into the category of things that are nice to have but not essential in my everyday life. Sure, I may click into Reddit numerous times a day, but burying it into a folder stops me from being on it constantly. The rest? Well, they’re utilized once or twice a week if needed and therefore do not need to be cluttering my everyday life.
Once you’ve accomplished this, you’re finally on the road to cleanliness. You’re welcome. .
*Author’s Note: There are other rules that can just be considered minor suggestions. Namely, no red bubbles ANYWHERE that can’t be immediately remedied by reading a text or checking an email.