Cleaning House: Don't Let Your Homesreen Become a Junkyard

With a personal library of around 3000 apps, I have certainly downloaded my fair share. In the early days of iOS, I felt the need to keep every app I ever downloaded on my device. I guess I lacked confidence in the platform to remember which apps I've purchased and I feared I would be charged again should I delete and have to re-download for one reason or another. I also had a fear of forgetting which apps I have previously owned and therefore not remembering what I have paid for and what I haven't paid for. Thankfully, recent builds of iOS have addressed the latter issue by using a cloud icon making you aware that you have a purchased copy of the app ready to download from the cloud when you need it. The former issue has been addressed by Apple's demonstrated history of reliably maintaining your complete digital library of apps with a purchase history made available to you that resides in the App Store on your device. 


So with Apple taking these concerns away, there is no longer any reason for me to keep apps I no longer use stored locally on my device. I made the decision some time ago to make it a monthly task of cleaning house on my iPhone and iPad by following a few simple guidelines. How do you decide what stays and what goes? It will be different for everyone depending on your needs but I figured I would share with you my decision making process.  

When I first started following this regimen, I figured I would start with a clean slate and start with a fresh restore of my devices. This will be a no-go for some of you I'm sure. But for me, it helped me truly think about what apps were must-have installs. So after my restore was complete, I started by only installing apps as I needed to use them. After a few days, I had my core set of applications that I would use on a regular basis. I was instantly surprised at how few apps I actually needed to have installed. Now that I have what I need, I am pretty picky about what additional apps get installed. I don't like clutter and believe me when I say it can be easy to clutter up your device with a bunch of apps you don't need. So before installing any new or previously purchased apps, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I installing this application?
  • Does this app duplicate functionality already present in one of my installed apps? If so, does it improve upon my current experience? If so, a swap may be in order.
  • Can the app I install do the job of more than 1 of my existing apps? If so, I vote for eliminating the number of apps you have installed and going with the one that combines functionality of multiple apps. 
  • Will installing this application save me time or bring me joy?

Finally, let's talk about how to keep your interface clean and usable. Use folders to keep your device streamlined and uncluttered. Label your folders as categories and put each app that you don't use on a daily basis inside these folders. Keep your home screen limited to those apps you use multiple times daily and therefore not in folders to give you the quickest access possible to these functions. 

I hope these these tips help you further enjoy your mobile computing experience. iOS prides itself on being easy to use. So why let things get complicated, distracting and unorganized? Clean House!