20 Must Have Apps for your iPhone Home Screen

The other day I was visiting at my parents house and chilling on the couch watching TV. I felt a phone vibrate from the seat cushion beside me. I reached down and picked up what was my mothers iPhone. (She leaves her phone everywhere.) It was a text message from my sister. Without asking, I entered in her passcode as she has the same password for everything. I replied back to my sister for her as she was just looking for my moms famous banana bread recipe. Then I went to the home screen on her device. I was just about to lock it again and continue watching the hockey game when I glanced over her home screen. Then, I registered what I had just seen. The default app layout that all iPhones ship with. Ugh. She has had this phone for well over a year and she hasn’t changed anything on that home screen. Are you kidding me?

I do supposed it’s possible that she uses the apps like Health, Clock, Stocks and Wallet more than all of the third-party apps that I then swiped around to find…but I am betting that’s not the case at all. It also made me think about how often I seen people with home screens filled with all the default apps. You would be totally surprised at how common it actually is. I called my mom over and explained it to her and she said “I had no idea the apps could be rearranged. How do you do that?” Wow. I guess I just figured it was a no-brainer. Obviously not.


You can definitely rearrange all those apps on your Apple iPhone or any smartphone for that matter. Simply tap on any icon and hold your finger in place until all the apps start jiggling around like jello. Once this happens, you can drag apps around to where you want them. You can move them from screen to screen and you can even drag one app into another app to create a folder. This does this automatically for you if you drag one over the other and hold it there. When you’re done shuffling your apps around, tap the home button on your iPhone and lock everything into place.

Okay now that we have that out of the way, I do highly recommend placing your most used and most important apps on your first home screen. The logic behind all of this is fairly simple as you will be able to access them without having to swipe around all your other app screens or search for them in the Spotlight. Yes, that’s a thing too. Spotlight is actually pretty awesome for quickly accessing an app. In a lot of cases, I use it to open any app that’s not on my first home screen, even if I know where that app is located on your iPhone. It’s just faster than drilling through all the pages of apps.

iPhone home screens are kinda like fingerprints in that no two should ever be the same. Not everyone uses their smartphone it the same way. That said, there are apps that should be on just about everyone’s main home screen and that is what we are sharing with you now.

Phone, Messages and Mail

Apple’s native phone and messages apps should definitely be on your home screen. Actually, they should probably even be in your dock. As for Mail, fee free to swap it out with your favourite email app. I use Gmail for everything now so I have replaced the default mail app.


Smartphones are smart. With the technology out there today, they can do almost anything. But organizing your schedule is still one of their most important functions. Make sure that calendar is on your first home screen so you can easily access your schedule and quickly add new events. If you don’t like Apple’s default calendar app, there are many others out there.


I am going to be honest, I never did feel that the Settings app was important enough to have on my home screen…until recently. The new Quick Actions menu in iOS 9.3 are awesome. Even if I didn’t use the Quick Actions features, I feel I now use it enough to warrant it’s placement.

Google Maps

This is probably my most favourite app. Why? It gets me from A to B without having to even think. It’s so slick. I highly recommend adding this to your home screen lineup if you haven’t already.

Google App

Now that we are on the topic of Google, why would you open your browser every time you wanted to perform a new search? The Google app makes searching quick and easy and it also brings Google Now features to your iPhone.

Safari or Chrome

I used to always use Safari, but the scales are tipping towards Chrome now. I just like it better. Everyone has their own preference though. Just make sure one of these is on your home screen. Better yet, get it in your dock.


Apple’s weather app or a third-party app to give the details of mother nature should be on your home screen as well. I check the weather all the time…maybe it’s because we live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


You spend so much time looking through all your selfies that putting the Photos app on your first home screen is likely a good idea. If it’s not selfies, it’s your baby, your pet, or that awesome meal you had the other night. It’s a very common app and it’s placement should reflect that.

WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, Skype

Pick one or two of your favourite messaging apps and put them front and centre for quick access.


It’s the most common social media app out there and if you don’t use Facebook, you’re definitely in the minority. You probably open your Facebook app upwards of 50 times per day and so don’t make yourself dig through your phone every time you want to use it.

Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr

Pick one or two of your favourite social networks and drop them on your home screen. A new one I love to use in Periscope.


I am big Spotify fan but there are other options out there such as Apple’s Music app. Whatever you use should be on that home screen of yours.

Tinder, Plenty of Fish, etc.

If you’re single, make sure your most used dating app is right there where you need when you first open up your phone. If you’re in a relationship, you have extra space to play with.

YouTube, Netflix, etc.

You watch videos all the time on your smartphone so make sure you pick the app you most often use and make it super easy to access.

News reader

There are a number of pretty cool news readers out there today. Apple’s News app is bad so replace it with one or two news apps of your choice. I generally get the rest of my news through my go-to social app, Hootsuite. 


Make sure Apple’s Reminders app or your favourite alternative is on your main home screen…unless you are one of those that actually uses Siri to set reminders.

The game you play most often

You don’t want to clutter up your main home screen with a bunch of games. Pick the one you play most and drop the rest in a “Games” folder on your second home screen. Feel free to switch out your favourite app from time to time as you get hooked on something new.


Last but certainly not least, drop your go-to notes app on your first screen for quick access. I use Evernote. 

Don’t include these apps on your main home screen…

App Store| Do you really spend enough time in there to warrant it’s position on your home screen?

Camera| You don’t have to wasite space when you can access the iPhone camera from the lock screen or any other screen using the Control Panel.

Clock| Same story as the camera. You can simply swipe up to open the Control Panel and then tap the alarm or stop watch from there.

Calculator| Unless your a mathematician, you don’t really need this on your very first app screen.

Contacts| Just go to your phone app. Your contact list is right there.

iTunes Store| I am not even going to explain this one.

If you’re looking to get some help with your phone, come by one of our four stores in Saskatoon. We’re your neighbourhood wireless experts. A SaskTel Authorized Dealer.

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