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What’s On My Phone, ft. the iOS 14 App Library

I’ve always been glued to my phone.

Obviously, it’s not the best habit. Countless people have written countless pieces of content about how it distracts you from your goals, makes you depressed, more compulsive… the list goes on.

When I got the battery replaced those weeks ago, I wandered around the shopping mall for two hours without my phone. Now, I know it was only two hours, but the phone also serves as my watch, odometer, book reader, music player, on top of the actual phone functions.

I wish I could say that those two hours were revolutionary, and that it gave me better focus and clarity in my quest for productivity. Instead, I found myself just glad to be reunited with it at the end (and with a way better battery life!).

I’ve recently finished Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, which I thoroughly enjoyed. There are lots of experiments to try, and since a fair bit of it revolves around making your phone work for you instead of the other way around, I thought it was a good time for me to update my mental model.

This is my previous set-up:

As you can see, the second page consists of apps already classified into categories – something that the App Library actually does automatically.

Here is the new set-up:

I’ve removed a row of apps from the home screen — apps that were creating noise, like Mail, and apps that I really don’t use that often, like the actual phone app.

I’m also using the Almost All White wallpaper by Hideaki Nakatani, just to hide the background color of the dock. The apps on the dock are ones that I use on a daily basis, and is part of my nightly recap, so it made sense in my head to make a distinction from the other apps.

There are a few things that pain me about the App Library, thought:

  • The lack of customizing what gets shown as a ‘big’ icon in each folder: If something is already on the home screen, maybe it shouldn’t be featured in the folder so that the user can have better access to other apps in their phone eco-system
  • Lumping Productivity and Finance as a category: That folder is by far my largest, with 13 apps. I would very much like to de-couple these into their own folders
  • This might just be a me just-not-being-able-to-find-things thing, but when I add new apps, it doesn’t show up — either in the Recently Added folder or its corresponding category — I would have to search for the app, and launch it for it to appear

Other than that, I’m hoping that this will at least curb some of the distractions that my phone causes me. I’ll deep dive into Make Time since it deserves its own post at some point!

(Also — I’ve been replaying 80 Days by Inkle Studios and it’s still as captivating as my first (dozen) plays in 2014. Still solid!)

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