I’ve been an iPhone user since I was able to get my hands on one, which wasn’t easy as a Canadian. I had to go to eBay and grab an iPhone second-hand. Then I had to jailbreak it. In essence, I made my first ever iPhone as personalized as possible … because I had no other choice!
Now that iPhones are widely available, I have plenty of choices. And those choices aren’t just related to apps or carriers. There are many ways you can personalize your iPhone from the inside out—and that’s how you can make the device a real pleasure for you to use every single day.
The Right Case
One thing you can do that requires virtually no knowledge of the iPhone’s innards is to get a case that says “you” and wrap it in that. To be honest, I’ve got one case that does that for me, and it doesn’t really seem like a case at all, which is actually one of the reasons I like it so much.
It’s made by WoodChuck, a company that makes far more than iPhone cases (and they do custom work). I have a Green Lantern case (pictured) for both my iPad and iPhone, and being able to look at the GL logo every day really resonates with me, and the case is top quality.
WoodChuck represents American-made products in an industry over-populated by overseas manufacturing. Their products are 100% sustainable and customizable, so beyond being incredibly personal, they’ve got a great company culture to match: these things are important to me. See if you can find a case that resonates that well with you.
I’ve got a myriad of devices, and I want to make sure I use each of them with intent. One of the ways that I’ve chosen to make my iPhone as personalized as possible is by using it for certain things and not using it for others.
For example, I don’t read on my iPhone. I don’t have any RSS reader applications installed on it, and I don’t have iBooks installed on it. That’s what my iPad is for. By removing the reading applications from my iPhone, I’ve freed up one particular area that I know it is not intended for. And that can really help me in terms of being more efficient and effective in my use of the ones that it is for.
So, take a look at what you have installed on your iPhone and decide if it’s really what needs to be on there. You may find there are some applications that you’re just not using because the device just isn’t designed for that purpose—at least not in the way that you use it.
Having a bunch of apps installed all over the place is one thing, but having an app that allows you to quickly access the apps you use most often (and keep your screens as clutter-free as possible in the process) is another. That’s when apps like Drafts and Launch Center Pro come into play.
I use Drafts as my ultimate inbox. Everything that I input into my iPhone goes through Drafts, be it tasks, tweets, or ideas for posts like this one. Then from within Drafts I can decide where those things should actually be. Tasks go to OmniFocus or Asana, tweets go to Tweetbot, and ideas for posts either go straight to Byword or sit in Evernote. But I always know where the starting point is: Drafts.
I’ve also personalized all of the destinations within that app. I use Launch Center Pro in many cases when I know where things are going to go immediately. I use a setup very similar to Michael Schechter’s—a setup that works very well for me. Using Launch Center Pro allows me to make choices with my iPhone that are designed and maintained by me. And using these apps also allow me to keep my screens and folders in far better shape, which is the shape I like to keep things in.
Screens and Folders
Any of you who have read about the iPhone since it came out have probably seen articles that show off users’ home screens. With the arrival of iOS 7, you can now put more apps in folders, finally bury Newsstand inside of a folder, and really decide how you want to map out your iPhone so that it works more cohesively for you. I’ve gone as far as to keep the bottom row on my home screen “app free” because of the amount of real estate I’ve got to work with now.
When it comes to screens and folders, the possibilities are endless. And that means personalization is just as endless. We can’t do much about changes to operating systems or updates to our favourite apps. But now, more than ever, we are able to make our iPhones uniquely ours. And we can do that from the inside out.
So what have you done—or are going to do—to make your iPhone as personalized as possible? Let me know in the comments below.