Home Screens — John Gerard

This week, John Gerard (Twitter) (Instagram) is sharing his home screens. John is a photographer in the Mid-west who helps promote local business. He also teaches photography and post processing to photography clubs and individuals interested in learning to use Lightroom & Photoshop. So, John, show us your home screens.

What are some of your favorite apps?
Managing the household budget may not be exciting, but YNAB is one of my favorite apps. My wife and I have used YNAB for years and the developers have continued to improve features and functionality year after year. Entering purchases throughout the day is easy, and YNAB is location aware so it auto-fills the name of the store as the payee if you add the expense while you are still in the store.

I use Spark (by Readdle) across all my devices for email. I am certainly not an email power user, but I prefer the user interface in Spark over Apple Mail. Having a consistent email experience from one device to the next is important to me and one of the reasons I didn’t go with some of the other email apps. The speed of the swipe actions in Spark to archive, delete, pin, snooze, etc. allows me to run through my email quickly when I have a few minutes and then move on to other tasks.

Overcast is my preferred podcast app, and it may be my most used app. I have Overcast playing every time I get into the car or when I go for a walk. On weekends I have Overcast playing while I mow the lawn or tackle any of my household chores. Overcast’s Apple Watch app is great for rewinding or skipping ahead quickly without needing to pick up the phone.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?
I keep coming back to Alto’s Adventure. It’s easy to pick up, and it’s a fun way to pass the time while you’re standing in line or sitting in a waiting room. The nice thing about Alto’s Adventure is how quickly you can put it away when your attention is needed elsewhere. I never feel so invested in the game that I can’t just turn it off and start again later. However, if you are having a particularly good run, the pause button is right there so you can pick up where you left off should you feel compelled to reach the next benchmark.

What app makes you most productive?
Apple Reminders. Yes, yes, I know there are a thousand other choices for my task list, but Apple Reminders has improved so much that I find it has all the power I need to manage my various task lists. I used OmniFocus for years and, as great as it is, I found I just spent too much time fiddling with features I don’t need. Once Apple added recurring reminders and the ability to trigger reminders by location, I had all the features I wanted in an app that can be opened on my iPhone, iPad, iMac and Apple Watch. It takes less time to add a new task from the Apple Watch than it takes to read this sentence. When it’s easy, I use it, and when I use it, I stay on task.

What app do you know you’re underutilizing?
Without a doubt, Shortcuts. I’ve dabbled with the app and created a few of my own, so I know it won’t take me long to wrap my head around Shortcuts, but I just haven’t set aside the time to figure out where I could apply a shortcut and then create one to scratch that itch.

How many times a day do you use your iPhone/iPad?
My iPhone is always with me, but I still do the majority of my work on my iMac. Adobe has done a great job with Lightroom and Photoshop for iOS, but I still prefer the 27-inch iMac for image editing.

What Today View widgets are you using and why?
I have Siri Suggestions and the weather widgets on my home screen. Siri Suggestions does a good job of recommending the app I’m looking for. It’s not perfect, but it gets it right enough of the time to leave it on my home screen. For example, it always has my Sam’s Club app available when I walk into the store, and it knows I like to check the Stocks app in the morning and the evening. The one app I need to search for more often than I should is Photos. For some reason, Photos is only available as a recommend app about half the time I want to open it, but a quick flip to the next screen and it’s right where I can find it. Over on the “Widgets” screen I have the Top Stories, my Next Appointment and the battery indicators at the top of the screen for quick reference.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone/iPad?
The iPhone camera is pretty amazing. When I’m not using my pro gear, I love having a great camera in my pocket.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?
I would like Apple to make more iCloud storage available on the free tier. I’m not asking for unlimited storage, but it would be nice to have an iCloud storage plan that expanded based on the number Apple devices you purchase and the available memory on those devices.

Do you have an Apple Watch? Show us your watch face tell us about it.
I really like the Infograph watch face. It has room for all my favorite complications. Most of the complications are just handy for quick updates on stocks, weather, next appointment, etc. But I also like having the timer handy, especially when cooking dinner.

What’s your wallpaper and why?
My lock screen usually has a picture of one of our dogs. This time it’s Boomer, but Bandit gets his time on the lock screen as well. With my screen full of apps, I prefer to have a simple background so I use a grey to black gradient.

Thanks, John!