What Apps Are On My iPhone?

Last week I wrote a long post about how I attempt to steward my time, attention and technology1. In that article I mentioned that I intentionally removed social applications from my iPhone and set up barriers that made doing things like surfing the web or browsing the internet a bit more difficult than just tapping on a icon. This was the same when I was looking on how to unblock a number on iphone, as there are so many different security features!

I also mentioned that I’d share what is on my iPhone, just in case anyone might be wondering. (Personally, I find these sorts of ‘inside looks’ at the way people do things differently fascinating.) Two points that aren’t in the app explanations, but are worth mentioning:

1. Tweeting via SMS

I sometimes Tweet from my phone, but I send the update via SMS. Remember that? As I said in the previous post, Twitter can be a huge time-waster for me, so this method allows me to contribute without having to drink from the firehose.


2. Capturing to-do’s for work

I often think of good ideas for projects for work or things I need to get done for work when I’m not near my computer. I use Basecamp exclusively for project management at The Iron Yard, but I don’t have the app on my phone. That creates a problem: how do I capture thoughts and to-do’s in a non-annoying way? Just send an email to myself via MMS. There are tons of other messages in my inbox that will be processed into action items and transferred to Basecamp, so I just add to that list.


I only have two pages of apps on my iPhone. The first page contains apps I use on a daily basis. The second page contains 4 folders containing apps in broad categories. Here’s a complete list of the apps with explanations:


Page 1

  • Settings – I tinker with settings a good bit, especially the Do Not Disturb, Notifications, Wifi and Personal Hotspot options.
  • 1Password – Gives me quick access to important information when I’m on the go.
  • Maps – For navigation. I’ve used both Apple and Google Maps and in my experience they aren’t much different. (I happen to think Apple Maps is prettier.)
  • Photos – For sharing and reviewing photos.
  • Calendar –  For checking my schedule or creating events on the go.
  • Things – I use things to organized everything in my personal life. I don’t keep a work to-do list or task management tool on my phone.
  • Notesy – Where I store notes (including my “what I want to look up on the internet” list), which sync with my computer via Drobpox and NVAlt2. Which is amazing.
  • YNAB – For logging purchases and tracking the family budget on the go.
  • ESV Bible – For Bible reading. (I’m reading through the entire Bible this year, which is time consuming. Reading on the go helps.)
  • Music – For my listening enjoyment.
  • Phone – For calls and such.
  • Messages – For messages and such.
  • HipChat – For keeping up with my team.
  • Camera – For photos and such.

You’ll notice there aren’t a whole lot of distractions here. If I want to ‘waste time’ on this page of apps specifically, I can either browse photos, read the Bible or listen to music.


Page 2 – Utilities Folder

  • App Store – For reviewing feature additions and bug fixes in app updates.
  • Find iPhone – So I know where my devices are.
  • AirPort Utility – I have to tinker with multiple AirPort devices both at home and in The Iron Yard’s student housing in Greenville.
  • Banking – Sometimes you need to check balances when you’re on the go.
  • WordPress – I hate writing on my phone, but sometimes—especially when traveling—it’s the best way to add good ideas to already-existing drafts.
  • Droplr – For accessing shared files.
  • Strava – For keeping track of mountain bike rides.
  • Bodyweight – The absolute best workout tool for people who travel often. You can workout anywhere and don’t need any equipment. Brilliant. And difficult, if you push yourself.

Page 2 – Audio Folder

  • SoundHound – For figuring out what song is playing.
  • Remote – For controlling music from my computer (we use AirPlay every day at home).
  • Podcasts – I only follow a few podcasts and primarily listen to them when I’m on the road.
  • FocusDaily – My wife and I listen to talks about marriage when we’re in the car together.


Page 2 – Business Folder

  • CardReader (from Full Contact) – For digitizing business cards.
  • Nutshell – What my team uses for lead and sales management.
  • Dropbox – For accessing files on the go.
  • Mail – For occasionally checking email on the go.
  • Grasshopper – What my team uses to manage incoming phone calls.
  • Instapaper – I hate reading on my phone as well, but as with WordPress, sometimes when traveling having access to important articles I want to read makes sense.

Page 3 – OEM Folder

This is a folder of apps that I never use. I rarely ever open this folder. Once in a while I might use the Voice Memos app, but it’s so rare that I don’t care that I’ve buried it in a folder. There are a few apps in there that I use often, but I access them through the “quick menu” by swiping up from the bottom of the phone’s screen.

Apps I access through the iOS “quick settings” menu:

  • Clock
  • Calculator

I don’t use any of these apps:

  • iTunes Store
  • Game Center
  • News Stand
  • Passbook
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Weather
  • iBooks
  • Tips (iOS 8—I’m on the beta)
  • Clock (I access the Clock through the “quick settings” menu)
  • Stocks
  • Videos
  • Voice Memos (I use this so rarely it stays buried)
  • FaceTime
  • Contacts
  • Health (iOS 8—I’m on the beta)
  • Compass
  • Calculator (I access the Calculator through the “quick settings” menu)

1. You can read the full article here.2. Check out Brett Terpstra’s NVAlt and Michael Schechter’s guide on how to sync with your computer

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Practicing the art of bringing guns to a knife fight.

2 thoughts on “What Apps Are On My iPhone?”

  1. Thanks for sharing! I love that your first page where you might “waste” your time, as you said, allows you outlets to three really good things: God, family, and music. I have hidden my photos app in an abyss and should bring it back to the forefront.

    The MMS to inbox to basecamp is intriguing, I would be interested in how you transfer todos from your inbox to basecamp. Great post!

    1. Hey Tim,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts—it’s always fascinating to see what people think about your own little world that’s rarely accessible to others. I like the way you distilled the first page of apps into top categories…that was much more concise than the way I put it.

      For the MMS to inbox to Basecamp, I have an email about that coming up soon. Email insanity, my friend. Email insanity!

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