On walkabout in life and technology

My iPhone Home Screen

I have noticed of late a trend in people or sites showing off their iPhone home screens, the first page on your iPhone with the dock, and explaining why they rearranged the applications and icons. Some have even moved the Phone.app off their home screens.

They are all doing it, so it must be cool.

My home screen on the iPhone is factory original. All the applications are exactly in the same place that Apple put them when the iPhone was first set up. Much cooler. Why? Two reasons.

So that others can use my phone.

My phone gets passed around all the time like a two-bit hooker. I am always giving it to people so they can read a tweet, look at a photo, interact with an app, play a game, or make a phone call.

Somehow, all my previous phones seemed to be private, mine and mine alone. Maybe because all they did was make calls (anyone remember when you could actually make calls on a mobile phone in New York?). Maybe because I was embarrassed to have such crappy devices. Maybe because there was rarely a need to.

But the iPhone with it’s lovely display is more than a phone. It’s a picture frame, a game console, a web browser, a GPS, and none of these things feel private. All my data, text and pictures are on it, and the whole internet is on it, it’s both the container and the medium of all things I wish to share.

So I leave the device home screen as expected, so when I hand it over, others can use it easily.

Spatial Awareness

As an old-school Mac, I remember when the finder would remember where and how the last time a folder was opened, and would always open it again in the same place in the same way. Since every item on the screen was always in it’s place, I did not have to hunt for anything on the computer. I always knew without looking where everything was. This knowing is called spatial awareness, and we humans are pretty good at it.

I expect the same on my iPhone. I know where everything is on my phone, without having to search for for it. I know the phone app is in the bottom left corner and SMS is the top left. The camera is top right, Instagram is one swipe to the right top right. It enables me to use muscle memory to navigate the phone quickly and efficiently.

It’s taken me a while to choose and place the third party apps on my phone, and every year I do seem to rearrange the them as new ones come and go. But the home screen remains pristine. That muscle memory is too ingrained. Which also means that when Apple does move things around, as they did for iOS 5, it drives me mad until I get used to the new default layout.

So if you want to see what my iPhone home screen looks like, because looking at these is cool, just nuke yours, and after it reboots, that’s it.