Launch Center Pro

A Single Screen of iPhone Apps

After hearing how Katie Floyd of the MacPowerUsers consolidated down to a single page of apps on her iPhone, I decided that it made a lot of sense for me to do this as well. I was getting to the point where I had so many apps that I would often have to use the search (finder) feature in iOS (by swiping down from the center of the screen) in order to find and open the app I was wanting to use. I just had too many apps and too many screens of apps to keep track of. The other reason for me to go with this approach is that I switch off between my work provided iPhone during the work week and my personal iPhone during the weekends. Having a single screen of apps on both phones makes it much more consistent for me. Below is a screenshot of my current SINGLE iPhone screen:

My Current iPhone 6 Plus Home Screen

My Current iPhone 6 Plus Home Screen

Yes, I cheated. I have 4 folders of apps. But this ends up working out really well.

  • Productivity: This folder has any work or productivity related app. If I am working then most likely any app I need is going to be in here
  • Utilities: This folder has things like calculators, converters, Apple's Health app and shopping apps like the iTunes Store and App Store apps.
  • Leisure: This folder has apps that I use when I have time to use my iOS device for fun things like reading, playing piano, doing a FaceTime call, watching videos, meal planning (yes, I consider this fun and not a productivity thing).
  • Information: This contains weather apps, web site statistic apps that I check on a regular basis, my online class application (Canvas) and Slack. Any app whose sole purpose is to present me with information on a regular basis...status.

The secret ingredients to make all this are are two killer apps:

Launch Center Pro: I use Launch Center Pro as a way to quickly launch some of my more frequently used apps that didn't make the cut for the precious real estate of my single app screened iPhone. Launch Center Pro has some really amazing automation options built into it and just barely scratch the surface of what it can do with how I use it. But even with just my simple use cases, this app is worth its weight in gold. Go ahead, add up all the times you have wasted looking for an app. How much was that time and frustration worth to you?

Contact Center: Contact Center is made by the same people that make Launch Center Pro...Contrast. It has much of the same look, feel and functionality as Launch Center Pro, but it is focus on your contacts and streamlining the way you communicate with those contacts. My favorite 2 features of this app are: - The ability to collect all in one place all the people that I am able to call via FaceTime audio. FaceTime audio is far superior in sound quality than a regular cell phone call, so if I know I am going to talk with someone for a long time I would much rather go this route. Apple doesn't make it intuitive or easy to initiate a FaceTime audio call. This app makes it lightning fast and fool-proof! - Group texts. They can get you in a lot of trouble, but I do use them occasionally and when I do all I need to do is select the group I want and start typing. Finding an old thread within the messages app or typing in multiple addresses is now a thing of the past.

Contact Center is free, but is has an iAds banner at the bottom taking up a row of potential contacts and actions. I highly recommend making the one-time in-app-purchase and freeing up that bottom row. But since it is free you can try it out at no risk and give it a test drive.

I'm still adjusting to the single app-screen approach with my iPhones but I have to say I am really liking it. I have yet to find myself struggling to find an app. It is either an app that is on my home screen or is in Launch Center Pro, and if it isn't I generally don't bother looking for it and just use the finder to launch the app (you know, like I used to do AFTER I would flip through an embarassing number of app screens on my iPhone). It takes a little bit of time to move all your apps into this configuration but for me it was well worth the time and effort.

Best Holiday Sale Apps

This is a great time of year to pick up some apps for both iOS and the Mac at a great discount. Below are a few of my favorite apps that are currently on sale. Don't miss getting these excellent apps while they are discounted!!!

Day One (iOS & Mac): Day One is arguably the best Mac and iOS daily journaling software out there. I use it both as a personal journal at home and a profession journal at work (and keep them in separate databases of course). The Universal iOS app is on sale for $2.99 (normally $4.99) and the Mac App is on sale for $9.99 (normally $14.99). This is an incredibly powerful journaling app with all kinds of "goodies" like the ability to attach GPS tagged photos, location aware text inputs, Markdown formatting, tags and more.

Fantastical 2 (iOS & Mac): Fantastical is a great calendar app for both the Mac and iOS. What it brings to the table over the pre-loaded Apple calendar app is that it does a much better job of quick and painless creation of calendar events. With Fantastical you can just use "natural language" by either typing or using speech to text and Fantastical will take that bit of text and extract what it needs from it to create a new calendar event for you. Fantastical fro Mac is just $9.99 from the Mac App Store (normally $19.99) and Fantastical 2 for iPhone is $1.99 (normally $4.99) in the App Store.

1Password (iOS & Mac): Not much more to say about 1Password other than EVERYONE should own this software! We just have too many passwords we need to keep track of these days to NOT have some kind of secure software to manage it all for us. The Universal iOS app is on sale for $9.99 (normally $17.99) and the Mac Version is $34.99 (normally $49.99).

Launch Center Pro (iPhone): If you spend a lot of time in and out of your iPhone getting things done all day long then this app may be for you. Launch Center Pro is like having speed dialing for your most frequented apps and activities on your phone. You can do things like message a friend, email your boss, search Twitter, create a new OmniFocus item and much more with just a tap of a customized button within Launch Center Pro. This app can really save you a lot of time if you do things repeatedly. It's on sale for $2.99 (normally $4.99) and is an iPhone only app.

Tweetbot 3 (iPhone): Tweetbot is my favorite Twitter client for my iPhone, iPad and my Mac and the new Tweetbot 3 (for iPhone only) is on sale for $1.99 (normally $4.99). Tweetbot 3 is the latest a greatest version of Tweetbot and has been updated for iOS 7. If you have an older version of Tweetbot and like it then it well worth the upgrade price, especially while it's on sale!

PCalc (iOS): PCalc is the best iOS calculator out there if you need a very powerful and professional calculator on your iOS device. Being an engineer myself I grew up with an HP 48GX in my hand and I still use it at work. But now that I have an iOS device with me at all times I needed something with that power in iOS. PCalc is that calculator. It is on sale for $6.99 (normally $9.99).

12 Days of Gifts (iOS) The last app I recommend you pick up right away is the free Apple app called 12 Days of Gifts. Apple has been running this promotion for several years now, but this is the 1st year they have done this here in the U.S. The promotion starts on December 26th (the day after Christmas) and runs for 12 days. Each day Apple gives out a free item through the app (a song, app, iBook, movie, etc...). Pick this up soon and enjoy a free gift from Apple every day for 12 days after Christmas!

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