1. Dock what you need; use folders for everything else.
The dock is the center of every Apple product, and it's there to make your life easier. Use the dock to hold the applications you open most. I like to keep Mail, Messages, Music and Omnifocus (my favorite to-do list application) within reach of my thumbs at all times. Depending on how much you use a web browser, you may want to drop Safari or Chrome into your dock.
Something I've noticed: Folders are incredibly under-utilized by most iOS users. You can end up wasting a lot of time sliding back and forth looking for an app buried somewhere in the middle of page 5. I like to live by one simple rule: If an app is not in my dock, and I use it daily, it should be on my home screen outside of a folder. The apps I use weekly are in a folder on my front page.
So, what about everything else? I access the rest of my apps through search. The search in iOS is now so easy to access (just swipe down on the home page), there’s no reason to spend precious seconds swiping around for elusive apps. Simply slide down and start typing the app’s name. 9 times out of ten, it'll appear after you've typed the first few letters. And if you're running iOS 9, Siri may drop the app in front of you before you even begin typing.
Here’s a look at how Mikah and I organize our phones (tap for a closer look):
2. Make it your data hub.
The iPhone has become the central data hub for everything I do. Whether it’s class notes, work emails, sleep data, website analytics, passwords, or photos, I keep a copy of everything on my iPhone. If, after I've finished editing, I forget to send Mikah a link to our latest podcast files, I can easily send them from my phone. I can just as easily send off my WiFi password to a friend who's visiting me for the first time. Since iCloud and Dropbox can do most of the work for you, there's no reason to keep information off your mobile devices.
Your phone also has a wealth of data you may not expect; the iPhone keeps track of movement in both a “macro” and “micro” sense. Oh, and if you're creeped out by any of these next features, just know you can always disable them.
Every day, your iPhone tracks your steps and the flights of stairs you've climbed. If you have an Apple Watch, it'll also keeps tabs on your heart rate.
At this point, the information is fairly inconsequential. Eventually, however, there'll be enough information available that illness can be found long before more obvious signs show up.
Open your Home screen and tap the following:
Settings » Privacy » Location Services » System Services » Frequent Locations
You are now looking at a list of everywhere you've visited since you began using your phone. The beautiful part of this is your phone tries to guess where you want to go next based on previous locations. It'll even provide helpful traffic information.
So, while yes, it's a tiny bit creepy, I'm willing to trade a bit of creepiness for a good amount of helpfulness.
3. Take advantage of iOS-only apps.
- Omnifocus is a very powerful task management app that gives users the tools needed to increase productivity. It relies on the “Getting Things Done” method, which was developed by David Allen. It's also integrated across the Apple ecosystem, giving each device its own unique advantages.
- If you subscribe to RSS feeds, Reeder is a must have. RSS has, for the most part, gone the way of Netscape and AOL Instant Messenger, but it's still a very powerful way to keep up with your favorite writers and columnists. Reeder is far and away the best RSS-reading experience since the end of Google Reader (R.I.P.). Reeder allows users to quickly read the first few paragraphs of any article and load a given post’s full webpage seamlessly. It even synchronizes with all major RSS services.
- Overcast is quite possibly the most powerful podcast app ever built. It gives users total control over their listening experience with “voice boost” and “smart speed.” Voice boost adjusts the audio so all voices have about the same loudness (no one's too loud or too quiet). Smart speed automatically removes gaps in audio, speeding up the listening process without speeding up voices. It also has one of the best recommendation engines: It can mine a user's Twitter feed to find podcast suggestions.
And many more …
These three tips barely brush the surface of what's possible; they just happen to be some of my favorite. If you're curious to learn what else your phone is capable of, be sure to subscribe to our podcast. Mikah and I are always going on about new and better ways to make use of that powerful little computer in your pocket!