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Starting from zero on the iPhone home screen

TJ Luoma, @tjluoma
05.21.10
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This is what my iPhone looks like right now. No, it's not because iTunes went crazy and deleted all my apps. I'm trying to figure out which apps I actually use.

I've downloaded over 150 apps from the App Store. Of those 150, I have roughly 100 of them still in iTunes. I've tried grouping them using springboard pages, but I find it frustrating because I don't usually have 12 related apps. (I'm really looking forward to Folders in iPhone OS 4.)

Here's how I have been organizing my pages:

Page 1 and 2: anything app I use a lot or that may pop up a "badge" that I want to see.

Everything else: launch using search.

Here's the thing: I've gotten used to putting some apps on page 1 or 2 because I think I'm going to use them. The Phone app? I finally moved it off my Dock, but I left it on Page 1, even though I bet it's one of the apps that I actually use far less frequently than others.

Read on for more...

Update: A hat tip to Patrick Rhone's MinimalMac, where a version of this experiment appeared in January.

About the only thing I know I use a lot is the camera, because I'm trying to catch a quick picture of my kid doing something funny. Technically that doesn't even have to be on the front page because I have the home button programmed to launch the camera when I push it twice. (A feature I will miss in iPhone OS 4 when multitasking takes it over.)

I plugged my iPhone into my iMac and used iTunes to free up an empty page which I made the first page, and then put the camera on my Dock. Then I sync'd my iPhone. At which point iTunes deleted the blank page and moved the second page to the first page. Oops. So I moved the camera from the Dock to the only app on the first page and sync'd again.

Everything else that was on my Dock or pages 1 and 2 is now found on pages 2 and 3. Without using Search, I'm going to see which apps I need to "find" the most, and start filling in the blank spots from there. Eventually I'll move some apps to the Dock.

I know someone else in the iPhone user community did this some time ago, but I can't track it down at the moment (and my memory-impaired TUAW colleagues are no help either). If you know who it was, let us know if the comments. [It was Patrick Rhone, but he may not have been the first. -Ed.] There's also First & 20, which has profiled the start page of several members of the Mac community, including TUAW's own Dave Caolo.

How about you? How have you organized your iPhone pages?

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