Background and Layout

I set my background to a pure black. Because the iPhone X has an OLED screen, setting the background to black not only preserves screen and battery life (as the pixels aren’t lit up), but also looks incredible. Its a clean background, and helps you focus exactly ont he content you need.

I mostly use my iPhone using only my right hand. Because of this, I wanted to layout my apps in a way where the ones I use the most are the easiest to reach.

The dock includes the apps that I want always accessible, no matter what page I am on. On the home screen, I have apps that I use most frequently throughout the day. I mostly use Facebook Messenger, then Snapchat, then Apollo. Hence, they are ordered based on reachbility. From there, the apps are organzed based on how often I use them, with the ones I use most often being positioned to the bottom right of the screen to be reached by my thumb.

The second and third pages aren’t organized by reachability, but rather by category. From the top left to bottom right on the second page, I put apps that I use much less frequently (but still often). I grouped the apps based on social media, messaging, media and news, payment, and videos/TV.

The third pages is a temporary holder for productivity apps that I’d be using if I was in school (and not summer). However, because I currently have no use for them, I put them on the third page. I also have a folder of apps that I rarely use but is still convinent to have (such as LastPass, Uber).

I have another post on some of the apps that I use here.


One of the things I use the most on my iPhone is the dashboard with widgets. Because a lot of the apps I use support it and add shortcuts, its been a really great place to scroll through a consolidated list of things I’d want to look at.


As you can see, the first widget I have is iOS 12’s new ‘Screen Time’ feature. I put this at the top to keep track of how much I am using my phone, and hopefully deter me from picking it up more (which clearly isn’t working).

The next thing I have is the TED widget, which features recent popular TED talks. I really enjoy this because if I scroll and see something that I like, I can add it to a ‘Watch later” list and not worry about it anymore, instead of having to hunt for it in the app when I want to watch it.

Next I have Google Calendar. Because its summer, I don’t really have anything planned so this widget is underutilized. However, when school picks up again, the calendar will be jampacked and will help me navigate my day.

After, I have Weather, which helps me with how to dress. Given how inconsistant California is with its weather recently, its a handy app to have.

Then I have Flipboard. I love this app for my news because it curates stories that it thinks I would be interested in. It goes beyond just news, and can extend into articles about technology, design, and anything else I’d be interested in.

The next two widgets, Wunderlist and Dropbox, are also underutilized due to me not being in school currently. However, if I was, these two widgets would be at the top, because they help me organize my due dates and files, easily accessible to change from my phone.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is the payment system that I never knew I needed. However, its support and robust implementation has made it extremely easy to use it at any place that supports it. In fact, it has become my primary way of paying for anything. Anytime I am out anywhere, I become disappointed when I have to pull out a physical card instead of just pointing my phone at the reader.


Do Not Disturb

The Do Not Disturb got a huge upgrade in iOS 12, featuring Bedtime, and more options for scheduled times.


By enabling this, I found myself using my phone a lot less right before bed, helping me be less distracted and getting more sleep.

Even when in Do Not Distrub, I allow calls that are from my Favorite contacts, or calls that are repeated from the same person (implying that it may be important). I also enable Do Not Disturb while driving, because CarPlay somehow allows notifications while you’re driving.

Text Size

I decrease my dynamic text size to as small as possible, mainly so that I can fit as much information as possible on one page without scrolling. I found the scaling to be reasonable, but that may be because I also decrease text and scaling on my Mac as well.

Software Updates

Finally in iOS 12, you can enable automatic updates, so that the iPhone will automatically update to the newest software when it comes out. This saves me a lot of headache, because without this feature I often found myself trying to find time to update the software, which is really inconvinent. With this, the iPhone will take care of it when theres a long period of inactivity.


Siri Voice Response

Another setting that I changed was Siri’s voice response. With this setting, if Siri is accidently enabled when the phone is in Silent mode, then Siri won’t talk. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in class and Siri has automatically triggered saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand what you said” (especially now that the trigger button is holding down the power button). This way, Siri will be quiet when you want her to be quiet.


3D Touch

3D is the most useful feature that I don’t use enough. However, I rarely feel the need to force touch anything on my phone, so I end up not using it unless I’m using the text selector or highlighter. Regardless, a feature I found really helpful is to decrease the 3D touch sensitivity so that its much easier to 3D touch anything without having to put as much pressure (which is important when you’re carrying your phone with only one hand).



CarPlay is finally a step in the right direction with how phones should interact with car interfaces. I’ve seen way too many car manufacturers try to implement their own media center to no avail, either creating really slow and unwieldy user interfaces or ones that just don’t work at all. CarPlay is the bridge between my phone data and what my car should read, so that car manufacturers don’t even need to invest in their own system.


By enabling CarPlay, I literally can plug in my phone and have everything I need at my fingertips. I’ve become so used to this that I find it a hassle setting up any Bluetooth with a car that doesn’t support CarPlay.

Screen Time

This section in Settings focuses more on iPhone analytics, but is extremely helpful to track how you’re using your phone.


iOS breaks down your usage into different categories, and tracks how much time you spend using each app. In addition, it shows how many notifications you recieve.


Also along the lines of analytics, iOS tracks the battery usage in a much better way in iOS 12.


This gives you a better idea of how quickly your iPhone runs through battery, and which apps specifically are draining battery (with their ‘Background Activity’.