iPhone Feng Shui

Published November 20, 2008

At first glance, it seems like such a silly, pointless exercise. What does it really matter how the icons on my iPhone’s screen are arranged, when I can access them all pretty easily? Sure, there’s the obvious issue of switching between pages. But other than that, what does it matter where I put them?

But over the past year-plus, I’ve realized that I spend most of my time with my iPhone in my right hand, and I navigate with my thumb. So there’s a definite arc of space through the middle of the screen that’s easier to access — roughly a diagonal line from upper-right to bottom-left. Those are the icons that I don’t have to extend or retract my thumb joints very far to reach.

Then I started thinking about where apps should go on the screen. Would it make sense to put the contacts app next to the calendar, or next to the phone? Should I group my own downloaded apps together, or spread them out next to similar built-in apps? I realized that there was a lot of sense in the original arrangement of the icons out of the box: the top row for apps that store info on the phone, the second row for Internet utilities, and the third row for utilities. (I decided not to change the bottom “dock” row, because the I use all four of the major marquee functions on my phone.)

And so, after days of fiddling, I finally came to a satisfactory arrangement for my apps... for now, anyway.

My iPhone home screen, before and after.

Finally, for those who might care, a list of my five favorite iPhone apps:

  1. MobileFiles: Who needs a memory card slot when I can access my iDisk files on the Internet?
  2. OmniFocus: A bit pricey, but worth every dollar for the way it's helped me track my tasks.
  3. NetNewsWire: The easiest syncing process for RSS feeds I've found.
  4. Tiny Violin: For any time someone ticks me off from complaining too much!
  5. Remote: Because controlling my Apple TV from the phone is just cool.