Home Screens: Brett Kelly

This week’s home screen features my friend Brett Kelly (Website)(Twitter). If you use Evernote and want to get better at it, Brett has written the Evernote book, Evernote Essentials, which has sold 45,000 copies and just received a really nice update. Brett’s an avid iPhone user and agreed to share his home screen. So Brett … let’s see it!

What are some of your favorite apps?

My most-used apps are:

  1. Drafts; I have this little jewel wired to do all sorts of things (add items to my grocery list, create new projects in my task manager, publish updates to Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few). Mine is primarily a text-based world and a non-trivial amount of the text I generate begins its life here.
  2. Tweetbot; though my Twitter use has waned a bit in recent months, I still lurk fairly often and, for my money, Tweetbot provides the best Twitter experience out there. It’s the perfect blend of delightful user experience and utility.
  3. Spotify; along with its OS X counterpart, there aren’t many times throughout the day when Spotify isn’t playing something from somewhere and my phone is usually the “somewhere.”
  4. Evernote; of course, we can’t forget my beloved Evernote. The vast majority of my data lives there and always having it with me has saved my bacon more times than I can count. On my iPhone, it’s mostly used for reference: I don’t do a ton of heavy addition or editing in Evernote (other than checking off todos periodically), but I tap the elephant kind of a lot.
  5. Spark; my relationship with email is very much of the “love/hate” variety. I write as little email on my iPhone as I can get by with, but I get a ton of email and Spark lets me do quick inbox triage when I’m out and about.

Honorable mentions include: Workflow, 1Password, Day One, Pinterest (for finding things to cook), and Fantastical.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

Facebook, I suppose. While I do sometimes use it for work-related things (monitoring a few groups to which I belong), the majority of my Facebook time is spent keeping tabs on friends and family. I probably use it more than I should, but as a guy who mostly works alone, I like having the ability to spy on those I love. That sounded creepy.

What app makes you most productive?

Drafts, hands down. A couple of months back, I set aside a few blocks of time to really dial it in and that investment has paid dividends. It’s position in the dock is quite intentional: it’s the easiest app for me to reach—I mostly hold my iPhone in my right hand—and I have several actions, a few of them custom, that help me capture, communicate, and create while I’m not at my Mac.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?

Launch Center Pro. I know how it works and I can appreciate its power, but other than a small handful of actions I regularly use, I hardly open it. To be honest, at this point, it mosty serves as a way for me to trigger Workflow workflows based on time or location. I suspect I’ll give it the “Drafts treatment” soon and spend an afternoon really thinking about how I can use it more effectively, but for now I mostly keep this particular Cadillac parked in the garage (which bums me out).

What is the app you are still missing?

Honestly, there isn’t much I wish my iPhone could do that it doesn’t do already. Now, I have plenty of thoughts about how things could work differently, but that’ll be for another time.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?

My iPhone comes out of my pocket dozens of times per day. My iPad, on the other hand, is gathering dust; my kids use it to play games and watch Netflix, but that’s about it. I’m all Mac and iPhone these days.

What Today View widgets are you using and why?

This is another area of iPhone functionality that’s mostly lost on me. Several utilities are sitting in the Today view, but I rarely use most of them. For me, the Today view tells me what’s on my calendar for the day and how to dress based on the weather.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?

Probably TouchID. Mine is an iPhone 6—equipped with the comparatively slower sensor—so it’s not as speedy as its 6S counterpart. That said, using it still feels like magic to me and it makes performing many tasks on my iPhone quick and pleasurable instead of a giant pain.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

First and foremost, I’d give Siri a lot of attention. Other than setting the occasional timer or reminder, it’s unreliable enough that I don’t use it. Plus, the fact that it can’t do what seem like simple tasks is a source of friction for me. For example, it’d be great if all of these were possible:

  • “Email my most recent photo to Jimmy.”
  • “Copy Billy’s phone number to the clipboard” (or “Send my work address to Susan”).
  • “Remind me to start the crock pot five minutes after I get home.”

Maybe I’m all wet, but those kinds of things seem eminently doable.

Second, I’d love to be able to customize Control Center more. I hardly ever use Airplane Mode, the calculator, or orientation lock, so the ability to replace those buttons with other things—like, say, a button that launched Drafts—would be excellent.

Finally, let me change the default mail client.

Do you have an Apple Watch? Show us your watch face tell us about it.

I do indeed. I use the Modular face because, in my opinion, it allows me to fit the most information on the screen while keeping the data that’s important to me—the time, date, and weather—visible at a glance.

The only third-party app I use with any regularity is Drafts; capturing quick notes for later is easy, especially when I’m driving or otherwise encumbered.

For the most part, my Apple Watch is a little thingie that notifies me of what appears on the phone that’s in my pocket. It’s handy for reading text messages, email notifications, and directions using the Maps app, but anything that requires the watch to talk extensively to the phone is a non-starter because of how stupid long it takes apps to launch and collect whatever data they need. It’s just faster to pull out my phone.

What’s your wallpaper and why?

On my lock screen I have a picture of my lady because she’s really pretty. My home screen wallpaper is one of the stock dark wallpaper (in the “Stills” collection). I’ve found that pictures of waterfalls or people on the Springboard makes this needlessly difficult to read, so I stick with the simple option.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Just that you’re awesome, David. Awesome.

And so are you Brett … so very awesome.