iPad Home Screen

iPad Home Screen

Since iPadOS 15, I’ve been struggling to find an iPad Home Screen layout that I actually like. I still haven’t found one, but this is the least offensive I’ve been able to come up with.

The biggest problem for me is that Apple decided to crunch the vertical spacing between icons when you don’t have a widget present. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t find a good use for widgets on my Home Screen. I’m just too accustomed to having them hidden in the Today View (or whatever it’s called now).

Hopefully Apple will give us a bit more control over the layout of our app icons in iPadOS 16. But until then, I guess I’ll just try to focus on the apps that are on my Home Screen instead of how they are organized.

The Apps

Messages — My friends and family still predominantly use iMessage and text messages work just fine for those who don’t.

Battery Widget — The only reason I have a widget on my Home Screen is because it’s the only way to get sane spacing on my app icons. The battery widget is one of the least obtrusive available and provides me with reasonably useful information (but I’d still rather keep it hidden in the Today View).

Fantastical — The best calendar app by far.

Automattic — A shortcut that displays a list of work-related apps and launches the one I select. I could use a folder for it, but I like having a nice clean icon without any notification badges.

Code Editor — It’s no longer available unfortunately. There doesn’t seem to be another app on the platform that offers the same functionality with even close to the same polish.

Plex — I maintain a large Plex library with all of the DVDs, Blu-rays, and iTunes content we own. Almost everything we watch as a family lives in Plex.

Screens — A great VNC client for managing my home server and for helping with some family tech support.

Broadcasts — I’ve been getting into radio a bit lately — it’s distributed and most stations are regionally owned, two things I absolutely love. Broadcasts let’s me setup collections and have quick access to the streams for my favorite local stations.

Odysee — I’ve been trying to reduce my usage of YouTube lately. To help with that effort, I’ve been trying to go to Odysee first in those instances when I just want to watch some random videos. Since the Odysee app doesn’t support the iPad, this is just the web app saved to my Home Screen.

Kiwix — A nifty little app that can be used for accessing archived websites offline. I have Wikipedia and Wikitionary saved locally, so this primarily fills the role of my dictionary app.

Day One — I started journaling more seriously before my son was born and I continue to this day. There’s less writing in each of my entries now, but a lot more photos.

1Password — My favorite password manager.

Pixelfed — An open source, federated photo sharing service. I manage my own instance and you can follow me on your favorite ActivityPub-compatible service (including other Pixelfed instances) — @mike@libertynode.cam.

Photos — Apple doesn’t let you set another app as the system photo library, so here we are.

Balance — Like Automattic, a shortcut that let’s me launch all of my finance-related apps.

⌘ Folder — This folder houses all of the other apps I have installed on my iPad.

Files — For managing files, obviously.

Prism — I maintain a music library in Plex and use Prism for playback. It reminds me a lot of the iPod app from the early days of the iPhone.

Unread – The best RSS app, which I have synced with FreshRSS.

Mastodon — It’s missing some features when compared to apps like Metatext, but the official client is rock solid and there’s been steady development since it launched — including the addition of iPad support.

Wallabag — A read it later service that I self-host. This is the web app that I simply saved to my Home Screen from Safari.

Spark — I recently tested just about every email app available on the platform. None of them are perfect, but Spark comes the closest.

Safari — I wish there was a healthier browser market on iOS, but Apple really hinders what third-party developers are able to do. Until they correct the error of their ways, we’re stuck with Safari.

Things — The first to do list app that really clicked for me.

Ulysses — Where I write everything that’s published on Initial Charge.

SimplenoteI’m likely biased, but I appreciate the simple nature of this app for note taking.

Calcbot — You need a calculator app and Calcbot is a great option with a lot of character.

Pocket Casts — It was acquired by my employer last year and I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s so nice to have a well-designed podcast app that also supports video podcasts.