Ten years ago was the last time I reviewed my top ten phone apps, and so much has changed over the past decade. The most significant change for me was switching from Android to Apple. I dropped all Google products and software a while back and have zero regrets. I am anti-tracking and advertising in my face constantly. Taking a look back at some of the best apps of the day is a mixture of pride and shame to determine which stood the test of time.

We’ve come a long way, baby. Currently, I own the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Because geeks like to show off what they have and to document their tools, I’ll write about my home screens too. It’ll be fun to look back on the past and compare to the present.

Wallpaper- The wallpaper continues to be Black Sheep. I love to modify and customize my devices, but this wallpaper has been the only one to stick with me over the past ten years. Simple, minimal, black wool/felt appearance. Goes perfectly with all my devices.

Home screen apps-

Mail- I prefer the stock Apple applications where I can. One, they are baked into the operating system and works more smoothly. Two, to limit third-party software from accessing my personal info in emails, contacts etc.

Safari- With Apple’s new privacy initiatives built into their browser, this is a no-brainer for me. The fact that I can sync my browser reading on any device is another win.

Files- I have numerous data in the cloud that I need on-demand access to. Apple’s app, again, wins out thanks to iCloud sync to every device.

Reminders- Pre-installed, simple, free. Why pay $40 a year for a 3rd party to-do list app? Yes, they exist.

Feedbin- My current RSS feed aggregator. Brings the news I want to read from the sites I want to read from. No ads, no BS.

Tweetbot- As a charter member of TWTTR, now known as Twitter, it is a great tool for checking up on updates from brilliant people. I will rarely post anything nowadays. Tweetbot is a third-party app that hides advertising, whereas Twitter is laced with ads. This is my only social media outlet.

Medium- A web journal where writers go to publish their work and get paid. Readers pay a small annual fee to discover articles they want. I do both. Again, no advertising.

GoodLinks- Want to save an article and read it later? Send it here. I’m done with Instapaper and Pocket where they want to charge subscription fees. One time purchase, no ads.

Bear notes- Currently the best, most customizable note-taking app out there. One thing missing is note collaboration with someone else.

Notes- Apple Notes is good, very good but non-customizable and you can collaborate. Which is why it remains on the Home Screen.

Outlook- Not for me because, like Google, I don’t want Microsoft anything. No, this is for work communication and I hate the fact it is on my personal device.

Teams- Same as Outlook. To supervise and communicate with my team, this stays on the Home Screen.

Camera- Apple’s stock app is still one of the best there is. A close second, and not on the Home Screen, would be Halide.

Photos- Well organized, good for quick edits, sharing, syncs to all devices and a great workflow.

Lightroom- For more detailed photo processing, editing, and organization on the go. Syncs to all devices.

VSCO- I’ve enjoyed this photo filter, and sharing app for almost 10 years. Their photo community beats Flickr and Instagram easily. This app deserves its article. Coming soon.

On The Dock-

Settings- got to keep it close by for system changes

Maps- For navigating on those weekend road trips

Messages- Why use a 3rd party app?

Phone- For the occasional phone call. I consider the iPhone to be a camera with calling capabilities.

Everything else gets relegated to the next screen and in folders for easier organization. Apple Music and Podcasts app are well-used and running in the background. Photo apps, reading, writing, finance apps, utilities are all important but not used as much.

Like I said, numerous changes in the past ten years. It’s amazing to me what has lasted the test of time and what goes.

By comparison, here is the list from ten years ago:

Snapseed- Simply the best mobile photo editor out there.

Vignette- This camera app has so many shooting options and filters, it would take another blog post to list.

EyeEm- As soon as Facebook bought Instagram, I looked elsewhere. Social photography is excellent.

Google+ Again, the Anti-Facebook social experience.

Drive- Sync my documents between my computer and phone? Yes, please.

Any.DO- My to-do list goes with me and sends me timely reminders too

Currents- A great too to catch up on news, blogs for my tablet.

Pocket- Want to read it later? Right click and put it in your web pocket.

Google Now- Instant information no matter where I am at.

Spotify- web-based music and radio. I will never buy music again.

None of these are on my devices. I am constantly amazed at how well the Apple ecosystem works. Everything is cooked in and plays nice with all Apple devices. Makes me wish I had gone all-in a lot sooner.

The iPad home screen is a bit more organized thanks to the screen space. Widgets are added, the apps are almost all the same as the iPhone with a few exceptions like streaming media, games, video editing apps like iMovie and Vimeo.

The iPad Pro M1 home screen 11/2021

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