My weird phone setup, two years later

Almost two years ago I wrote about my minimal phone setup. Since then many things have changed but my phone setup has remained pretty much the same. There’s a few minor changes and a major one so let me go through my phone setup again. Maybe you'll find something useful you can incorporate in your setup.


The major change is the hardware I'm running. After more than 4 years of honourable service I retired my old iPhone 6s. Why? Because my battery was basically dead. I could have replaced the battery but my screen was cracked. So to change the battery I'd also have to replace the screen. And that wasn't worth it honestly. I was planning to change phone in 2020 anyway, upgrading every 5 years seems reasonable to me.

I still have this phone, just in case

Right now I'm on an 11 Pro Max. Reason why I went with the Pro is the camera. That's it. That's the only reason why I decided to get it over the 11. I take a lot of pictures when I'm hiking and the wide angle is awesome. Reason for the Max over the regular Pro is the battery. I genuinely love how long the battery lasts on this thing.

I bought the phone second hand from a guy that got it as a gift and saved quite a few bucks in the process. It didn't cost me a lot more than a full price 11. No cover, no screen protection. We'll see what happens.


In terms of setup, my phone feels a lot similar to my old 6s. I still rely a lot on the spotlight search to launch apps but I tweaked my notification preferences a bit. I'm trying to leverage the notification center more this way I don't need to unlock my phone if I need to reply to someone. For my lock screen I'm using one of the stock wallpapers which I quite like.

Dock and First Screen

Like in my old setup, I'm leaving the first screen empty. All the apps are in the second screen. This is to mitigate the temptation to tap on one of those icons. Two of the most used apps—Messages and Spotify—are in the dock and WhatsApp is there mostly to balance the color in the dock. I'd love to get rid of WhatsApp but it's a bit complicated to do right now for a variety of life related reasons.


The other minor difference is the way my apps are now organised. I used to have just one row of apps and a folder. I decided folders are not a good way to organise stuff. Folders, especially digital ones, are a gateway to clutter. You can simply hide stuff in there and have the impression to have a minimal phone. But that's just an illusion. So folders are out.

Five rows, twenty apps. Let me go through them row by row. Top two rows are apps I don't need to use on a daily—or even monthly—basis. I don't make or receive phone calls (all incoming phone calls are blocked on my phone), don't use my phone as an alarm clock. 1Blocker is a passive app so it's not something I use as a standalone app. Same deal for 1Password. Find My can't be delete or hidden so it just stays there. App Store and Settings are rarely used so they can both live on the second row.

Now, Mail is an interesting one. I only have my personal email on my phone, not my work one. That means I don't receive many emails on a daily basis. Maybe one or two a week. Usage of the app is quite low and that's the reason why it's in the second row.

Third row are apps I use somewhat often. First one is my home banking app. Sky Guide is just an awesome app overall and I keep it on my phone simply because I like it. I use Voice Memos to send voice messages to a few friends mostly because my spoken english is a disgrace and sending voice messages is a good way to get better at it. Almost all the books I own are currently on iBooks and reading on the 6.5" screen is not a terrible experience.

Fourth row we have the browser which I use quite often, Waking Up, my meditation app of choice, camera and photos. Pretty basic row.

Lastly, the fifth row, also called the white row. iA writer is my go to app to write anything. I'm currently using it as a daily journal and I use it to write everything that comes to mind. Kawara is an awesome new app made by overall interesting guy Jon-Kyle. Inner Garden is a weird and interesting digital experiment. It's a strange mix between a meditation app and a game. And finally Snapseed is what I use to edit my photos on the iPhone.

And that's it, that's my current phone setup. Could it be more minimal? Absolutely. But it works for me and that's all I care about.

As always if you have questions, comments or anything else send me an email and I'll be happy to reply.

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