A purposeful phone layout

February 2, 2021 - Reading time: 5 minutes

Since returning back to an iPhone at the end of December 2020, I had to reacquaint myself with iOS. The last time I used an iPhone was a second hand 5c in 2016. A lot has changed in four years plus. I'm not complaining though because my transition from Android to iOS was much smoother than expected. It feels like a lot of features on Android have been copied by the fruit themed company. One feature in particular caught my eye - widgets. I always found the ability to use my own launcher, icon set and KWGT widgets was liberating as well as useful. I had managed to create the ideal layout to get the most from my phone and to reduce my phone addiction. Could the same be true for iOS in 2021? I hoped so.

I found myself using my phone for an average of 6 hours a day and around 165 unlocks in the same amount of time. With my Android phone, the battery could easily handle what I threw at it during the day. Over an eighteen month period, I managed to create the habits to use my phone less and less. I now average between 30 minutes to 2 hours during a 24 hour period. It has taken a lot of effort and self-reflection to understand why I was using my phone so much. A part from the app availability and vibrant colours, I realised I had a lot of clutter on my screen. It wasn't until I bought a Blloc Zero 18 phone that I noticed how much the colour choice and app accessibility impacts our phone use. The Ratio user interface on the Blloc phone was unique and interesting (now known as Ratio). However, the hardware was poor in most areas, especially in performance and camera quality. 

The impression of the Blloc Phone and Ratio did change my ideology of how a phone should be used. I developed a task first approach, which centres the phone around completing tasks and not for pacifying needs. I now aim for the least amount of apps on my phone, including the absence of games. Also, the only notifications enabled on my phone belong to the following apps: Phone, iMessage and Signal messenger. All other app notifications have been disabled. Another benefit of switching to an iPhone was actually a flaw in the choice of battery capacity of the phone. I inherited an iPhone 8 with 88% battery capacity so the amount of daily use allowed had to be limited if I was to go the whole day without getting to zero percent. The fruit themed company chose, in my opinion, the worst capacity battery for the phone (I don't think they have improved since 2018). 

Having said all that. I set out to find a layout on my iPhone that helped me focus on my tasks and hid the clutter. Below is what I came out with.

Along the dock, I chose communication and note taking to be the main focus as I use these apps more frequently. On the main page, I have a calendar with upcoming events for home and work. Below that, I have a collection of reminders. The shopping and home reminders are shared with my other half where we can add to them when needed. I mainly use Personal and School (work) to help me keep on top of things.

On the second page, I have a clock widget to send me straight to the time tools as work in particular is quite time sensitive. To the right, I have a folder with all my apps inside. Hiding them makes me use an app intentionally by having to search for it or by pulling down to type the application's name. I listen to a lot of music and podcasts so Spotify is easily accessible. The Sign In App is a tool used to sign in at work (very handy at the moment with social distancing and avoiding the clock in queue). Bitwarden is where I keep all my passwords and sensitive information (Open Source too). Below all this, I have a screen time widget to monitor my phone use. I find the widget super handy but I have noticed it doesn't reliably update without me tapping on the widget.

So far, I find the current layout really purposeful for my current needs. I am using my phone less since making the switch. In time I will adjust the layout to suit my needs but for now I am happy with it.

## This post is part of #100daystooffload challenge - visit https://100daystooffload.com/ for more information ##


I am a tech enthusiast working in the education sector. I have a particular interest in minimalism. I enjoy using FOSS applications and operating systems everyday but I like to be as OS/software agnostic as possible, which means I dabble in proprietary options too.