iOS Homescreen 2022

It’s been a few years since I talked about my home screen. A lot has changed since 2019 in both my working systems and in the iOS ecosystem.

As with all systems my home screen is always in flux, but there are a few major changes that have been very beneficial:

Disabled Badges

Badges are the red dots that let you know that you should open an app to see notifications. I have disabled all badges except Messages and Phone.

I had to do this in stages…

  1. Pruned my notifications so that only critical apps send me notifications.
  2. Moved everything to the App Library.
  3. Disabled all badges in the App Library.

I have also pretty much deleted all email and work messaging off my phone… trying to keep the notifications and messages that reach my pocket to be ones that bring joy and value.

Widgets Home Screen

One of the big two changes in the iOS ecosystem since my last post is the addition of Homescreen Widgets. I have since covered my whole home screen with widgets.1 The three main Widgets answer the biggest questions that prompt me to open my phone:

main home screen

  • What event is next? (Things)
  • What do I have left to do today? (Fantastical)
  • Have I done my habits? (Streaks)
  • What podcast was I just listening to… 😅 (Overcast)

There is only one Home Screen, and both of the bottom widgets are Widget Stacks: the left one is Streaks and Overcast.fm, and the right is two different Shortcut launchers…

The dock is mostly the same: Phone, Drafts, and Messages.

Shortcuts Launchers

I moved from using Launch Center Pro as my main access to the phone to using a Shortcuts menu. The shortcut just shows a menu of any Shortcuts that are found in a folder in Shortcuts, and represent the main things that I do on my phone.

main home screen

I have two launchers, one for HeadSpace-style “contextual computing” prompts, and the secondary ones for random scripts and automations like logging my weight.

I see a lot of people online using this technique as a launcher in their Dock. I like using this big Shortcut under my thumb because of the huge hit box… and you can’t customize the Dock, but you can customize Home Screens per Focus Mode. More on that…

Focus Modes

Because Focus Modes can switch to custom Home Screens per Focus Mode, I can use that large Launcher area as a “primary action” for whatever Focus Mode that I’m in.

I am still exploring Focus Modes. At the moment, I have two:

Morning

Morning starts automatically between my alarm going off at 6a and 8:30a when my “morning” ends and I start moving into a work mode.

main home screen

During the morning I’m trying to do my morning routine: quiet-time, workout, all before getting distracted by the needs of the day. My Morning Focus Mode merely highlights my habit trackers (Streaks and FitBod) and shows me Overcast’s medium widget for quickly getting into a podcast during a workout.

The main value is hiding the agenda for the day until after I’ve taken care of First Things First.

Deep

“Deep” is hold-all state for any Deep Work style activities. If I’m in a “Deep Work” state, I have chosen my desired task, it’s time to execute without distraction.

main home screen

Focus is weird on an iOS device. As an overall ecosystem, Deep mutes nearly every notification, pretty much only my wife gets through. This alone is a great feature. There are times that I am out and about with only my notebook and an iOS device, and here the Deep Home Screen just highlights:

  • Fantastical: how much time I have left in this focus block.
  • Timery: how much time I’ve spent, what is the intent I set when I set the timer.
  • White Noise via Dark Noise. If I’m just on my phone, there’s frequently distractions around. This helps.
  • The launcher changes to a Shortcut for Leaving Deep-Focus.

I really like the “primary action” changing… I shouldn’t be doing anything else but what I am focusing on the main task I have chosen. I like that I have to make choice to leave in order to “use my phone” again.

I can access it from my main Shortcuts Launcher, but it’s also triggered by other automation like my HeadSpace spaces. If I start a Focused Session by launching Deep, Hammerspoon runs a Shortcut on my mac that starts the Focus Mode, changing all my Mac and iOS devices:

setup = function()
  hs.urlevent.openURL("things:///show?id=anytime&[email protected]%20Learning,$High")
  hs.shortcuts.run("Deep Focus")
end

(from deep.lua)

What’s Next

This has stayed pretty stable for a few months. Now experiencing my phone without notifications, I will not go back. I love the “modal” Focus Modes that help me choose a state of being. I still love using Shortcuts to “Do a Thing” without “Opening an App”.

The goal is using my phone less and loving on my family more. I think that these strategies and designs help me do that.


  1. I also love that all my widgets now respect the Pure Dark theme… so they just disappear into my black wallpaper. 


Changelog
  • 2022-01-12 21:57:49 +0000

    Fix tags

  • 2022-01-12 21:42:19 +0000

    Homescreen 2022