Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘iOS 4’

Home Screens and Linen

iPad Home Screen with Linen Wallpaper

I’m quite finicky about my home screen organization. I often sit down for an hour (or more) with one of my iOS devices, alongside paper and pen, to further perfect my home screen layout strategy. It’s silly, I’m sure, but I care very deeply about optimizing my home screen layout in an effort to place each icon in just the right location. I want the apps I use most to be quickly accessible and I prefer layouts that maintain contrast between adjacent icons.

iOS 11’s newly designed Dock, as well as the drag and drop feature, has proved difficult for me to wrap my head around from a home screen layout perspective. I’ve had the beta installed for a month and I still haven’t honed in on a layout that I’m comfortable with.

The Dock, being able to hold more icons in iOS 11, has me wanting to place every app I can within it, but without adding a folder or two, I can’t use it to access all of the apps I use regularly. Placing apps in a folder feels like I’m introducing too much friction between me and my applications.

But iOS 11’s drag and drop feature being the only means of opening multiple apps side-by-side gives everything in the Dock a huge advantage compared to the apps on my home screen. Swiping up for the dock and dragging an application in for multitasking is leaps and bounds easier than having to revert back to the home screen to find the app you want to multitask with. Not to mention the jarring context change in doing so.

At this moment, I still haven’t figured out a great organizational strategy for my app icons. The setup I’m currently working with is heavily based upon my previous strategy — three rows with five icons each and my Dock filled with my most used apps. It’s serviceable and the additional five icons that I’ve placed in the Dock certainly has me feeling more productive.

But I feel like there’s something better out there. Something that would allow me quick access to all of the apps I use most without adding too much friction when multitasking. Something that won’t make some apps feel like second-class citizens because they’ve been relegated to the home screen or hidden within a folder. Perhaps this just isn’t possible without Apple making more changes at the system level. I’m not sure what those changes could be, but until that time I guess I’ll have to settle for the setup I’m using now.

As a bit of an aside, I first mentioned my iOS 11 home screen woes when I linked to Stephen Hackett’s collection of macOS wallpapers. I was hoping that I could come up with a system for my app icons that would allow me to use a busier home screen wallpaper — like one from Stephen’s collection. I had been using simple gradient wallpapers to prevent the text below each icon from clashing with the background.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, I haven’t been able to do that. I’m currently using the default wallpaper from El Capitan on my lock screen, but I put something neat together for my home screen that adds just enough visual interest without clashing with the app icon names — Apple’s linen texture.

Linen Wallpapers

Apple Linen

The linen texture was first introduced in iOS 4 and eventually found its way to the Mac with OS X Lion. Apple may have overused the texture during its peak and it often appeared in odd locations, but I’ve always been fond of it. And I felt that it was the perfect backdrop for my application icons.

If you’re feeling a little nostalgic, the wallpaper is available in several resolutions to best fit the device you’re using it on.

For iPhone:

For iPad:

For Mac:

If you’re using the macOS version, make sure to go into the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane and set it to “Tile”, otherwise you’ll have a stretched mess for a background.

Update 11/3/17: Added an iPhone X variant to the collection.

Update 6/20/19: Added iPhone XR, XS Max, and 11-inch iPad Pro.

Update 9/29/19: Added 10.2-inch iPad Pro.

Update 2/20/21: Added iPhone 12 models and iPad Air (4th-generation).

iOS 4 Launches Today

Apple has finally released iOS 4 for the iPhone and iPod touch. A unified email inbox, multitasking, and folders are some of the landmark features. For those of you who, like me, have been using iOS 4 for a few weeks, there isn’t much new with the OS itself.

For us the big news is that apps are finally being updated for iOS 4, Pandora being the most likely candidate for the title of “killer app.” I’ve been using Pandora for years and have always enjoyed listening to it on my iPhone. I don’t know how many times I’ve plugged my iPhone into a pair of speakers and launched Pandora when we had some friends over. But, the problems start when we needed to look up a word for Scrabble, reply to an SMS message, or Look up some info about whatever random topic we’re discussing, all of a sudden the music stops and all of your friends start wondering why.

Pandora can now run in the background. And, it integrates beautifully into the OS as well. The button on your headphones now works as it should and the controls that pop up on the lock screen do too.

iOS 4 may make iPhone users look like they’re all jazzed about a feature that other smartphones have had for years. Well, Apple may not have been the first, but they’re the first to do it right.

iOS 4 ➝

Apple has changed the name of iPhone OS to “iOS” and has announced that iOS 4 will be available through iTunes for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and iPod touch on June 21. Apple will also give developers access to the gold master of iOS 4 today in order to test their applications for compatibility.

My iPhone 3GS is registered as a developer device and I’m sure I’ll have access to iOS 4 shortly. I’ve been using Beta 4 for a few weeks and have been very happy with it. All of the features are fantastic, specifically the unified email inbox — it’ll change your life.

Update 6/8/10: I upgraded my iPhone 3GS to iOS 4 last night. It runs just fine and I can assure you that you don’t need your iPhone’s UDID to be registered in order to upgrade. The only catch is that you will need to have iTunes 9.2 beta installed to sync with your computer.

iTunes 9.2 seems to work just fine, I haven’t had any issues with it at all. And iTunes 9.2 is fast, really fast.