Mike Becky

iPad Pro Home Screen

I’ve already published my review of the new iPad Pro, but I thought I should also share my current home screen and widgets. The interesting thing for me is that the way I interact with my iPad hasn’t really changed at all since I’ve upgraded from the iPad Air 2. I had dabbled with the newer settings in iPadOS to allow for more icons on my home screens and pinning widgets there as well, but it never took. I thought it had something to do with the smaller, 9.7-inch screen of the iPad Air 2, but that isn’t the case.

iPad home screens just look a bit too cluttered with these settings enabled. I’ve tried limiting the number of icons to a smaller number of lines, I’ve tried many different numbers of widgets, and in every combination you can think of. But I can’t find a way to configure it to my liking and always end up reverting to the tried and true standard sized icons without the pinned widget section.

I’ve even been browsing through r/iOSsetups, hoping that someone has been able to find a solution to this. But alas, I wasn’t able to find any nice looking iPad home screens there either. I suspect I’ll revisit these options in the future, but for now, I’ll keep it as is.

iPad Pro Home Screen

Here’s a rundown of each of the apps on my home screen:

  • Messages: My preferred means of communication with close friends and family.
  • Fantastical: The best calendar app.
  • Xserve: A shortcut for launching directly into a VNC session with my home server within Screens — using the app’s URL scheme.
  • Simplenote: This is where all of my work-related notes live — mostly lists of what I’ve accomplished each week to share with the team in our weekly updates.
  • YouTube: This is slowly becoming my favorite online streaming service. It regularly sits at the top of my list in Screen Time with more time spent in it than any other app on my device.
  • Pandora: When I need a change of pace with music, I reach for Pandora. On regular rotation are my “90s Alternative”, “Ska Radio”, “90s Country”, and “Soft Rock Radio” stations.
  • Instagram: My shortcut for launching the Instagram website within the Shortcuts app. Because they still haven’t released an update to their app with iPad support.
  • Define: A simple shortcut that asks for input and then searches Terminology for the given term.
  • Day One: This has become a much more important app for me now that my wife and I have Josh in our lives. I started using it more frequently around the end of April last year and I’m excited to start seeing some interesting entries in “On This Day” soon.
  • 1Password: You can’t find a better password manager than 1Password. Trust me, I’ve tried.
  • Bear: This is for my personal notes. Lately I’ve been using the app to curate a list of movies and TV shows I’d like to see and creating a prioritized list of projects/purchases for around the house.
  • Photos: The iPad Pro’s display is fantastic and I love looking at photos that my family and I share with each other.
  • Balance: This is a shortcut I put together that displays a menu listing all of the finance-related apps and websites I interact with. I choose from the list and it either opens the app or shows the web page. It helps to cut down on the home screen clutter.
  • Infuse: The app I use to playback movies and TV shows in our Plex library. I like its simple, focused design when compared to the actual Plex app.
  • Prism: In addition to movies and TV shows, my wife and I also house our music library within Plex. But again, the Plex app itself doesn’t offer a particularly great interface for music playback. So we use Prism, which is an excellent little app that’s simplicity harkens back to the early days of the Music app on iOS.
  • Tweetbot: No ads, no algorithmic timeline, no funky new features. Just a simple, clean Twitter client.
  • Unread: My favorite RSS reading app, made even better with its recent update simplifying the process of sharing to Instapaper and other read later services.
  • Reeder: I don’t use this for reading RSS feeds. It’s primarily my Instapaper client — I like that it gives me the option to see my saved articles by domain. But I also maintain an on-iPad RSS account that I use for subscribing to all of the feeds on #OpenWeb. The app makes it easy to test new feeds for the site and export the lot in an OPML file, which is offered on #OpenWeb’s Sources page.
  • Things: The first task management app that actually clicked for me. And I’ve stuck with it ever since.
  • Ulysses: I’ve never used a more delightful writing application. It’s such a joy to use that I would consider it to be on my short list of best apps ever.
  • Safari: For browsing the web.
  • Mail: I’ve used almost every email app on the platform — certainly every major contender. But every single one of them has something that doesn’t quite work the way that I want it to. Now that they’ve fixed the bottom toolbar in iOS 13.4, this is the least offensive option.
  • Apollo: An excellent Reddit client.
  • Edit: I love this app. Having a scratchpad that I can use to jot down ephemeral notes or lists while I work on projects and tasks is surprisingly handy.
  • Calzy: I think this app has the best interface of all the calculator apps on iPad. It doesn’t display all of those advanced functions that I never use and only serve to clutter the interface. Instead, it keeps it simple and displays a history of your calculations along the right.
  • Overcast: The best podcast client at least partially because its the only good one that also offers an iPad app.

iPad Pro Widget View

As for the widgets I have enabled on my iPad, Hello Weather is at the top of the list. It has become my favorite weather app for iPad and iPhone because it has the best widget in this category by far. And that has become my preferred way to check the weather. More often than not, I just want to get a quick glance to see what the temperature is. If I want hourly data, I can expand the widget, and if I want to go even further I can tap to launch the full app.

Shortcuts is fairly obvious, it gives me quick access to some of my more frequently used shortcuts. And then I have Deliveries to track items I order, the WordPress app’s “This Week” widget, and Batteries.

The WordPress widget is a new addition for me — just within the last week or two. Previously I was using a nifty shortcut I put together to launch the WordPress app directly into Initial Charge’s stats, but this is even better. The vast majority of the time, I was only looking to see the number of views I had for the day and this widget gives me quick access to that information. And when I want to go a bit deeper, I can see a full week of stats in the expanded view.