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  • Writer's pictureJohanna McFarland

How to Design Your iPhone Layout

Since iOS 14 came out I've been doing themed displays on my phone! It takes time to do... but I do it every few months and it's fun! It's like changing the decor in your home. I create designs based on the season that we're in or whatever I feel like. Since I started doing it I find that it's helped me be productive on my phone and my screentime has gone down significantly. Here's a step-by-step guide on how I design my iPhone layout!

If you don't know what I'm talking about... In Fall 2020 Apple came out with the iOS 14 update for iPhones. With this update, they introduced widgets! Customers quickly realized that they can use widgets to customize their phones' layout.

To get started, you'll need to make sure that you're phone has two apps. Shortcuts and Widgetsmith. You'll also need a place to get photos and backgrounds. I use Pinterest, but you can use Unsplash, Google, etc.

I start off by compiling some images from Pinterest and then I save them to my phone. When selecting photos I think about the theme/aesthetic that I want to go with... For inspiration, I think about the season that we're in or my favourite TV shows. After I've compiled around 15 images that go with the theme along with two background images (for locked screen and home screen), I think about the layout that I want.

I picked my layout as soon as the update came out and I haven't changed it since. This was VERY time-consuming. I decided that I wanted shortcuts on my 1st home screen. Shortcuts can be customized (more on that later) they also don't show notifications. You know that annoying little highlighted red number that sticks on an app, telling you that you have something to look at. I LOVE opening my phone and not seeing those stupid little numbers, it's been a real game-changer. My apps live on my 2nd home screen. I organized them into folders! Along with widgets, Apple launched the App library. The App library makes it so you don't have to have all your downloaded apps on your home screens. If you want you could put all of your apps in the App Library and have none on your home screens at all! I like to have some available.

Here's how to move your apps around and put them in your App Library: Click-and-hold an app on your phone - you'll get a prompt with three options "Remove App", "Share App", or "Edit Home Screen" - if you continue to hold you'll automatically activate edit mode and your apps will start to wiggle - from here you can move your apps wherever you want! If you select from the prompts and chose "Remove App" you'll have to choose from "Delete App" (this will delete the app from your phone) or "Remove from Home Screen" (this will remove the app from your home screen and add it to your App Library!).

To access the App Library simply scroll right from your home screens. It'll appear on the final scroll. Your iPhone will store your apps in folders based on pre-selected categories. Unfortunately, you can't edit these categories.

To recap; at this point, I have organized the apps that I want on the 2nd page of my home screen and I have stored the rest in the App Library. I organized them into folders; Food (Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, Hello Fresh, etc.), Play (Games, Netflix, Amazon Prime), Banking (Calculator, Apple Wallet, etc.), Social (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, etc.), Accounts (Lyft, Amazon, COVID Alert, etc.), Utilities (photo editors, Shazam, photo printer, etc.), Organize (calendar, notes, reminders, etc.), and Phone (iMessage, emails, etc.). I have up to 9 apps in each folder. I move things around as I get more apps, or stop using certain ones.... but I try to keep them organized so my phone time is as efficient as possible.

Next, I put some shortcuts on the 1st page of my home screen! The shortcuts I selected are for apps that I use the most, along with some actions.

Here's how to set-up a custom shortcut:

1. Open the Shortcut App 2. click the "+" in the top right corner 3. then click "Add Action" 4. select "Scripting" 5. then "Open App" 6. it'll allow you to choose the app you want to open 7. once selected hit the three dots in the top right corner 8. then "Add to Home Screen" 9. type in the name that you want to appear for your shortcut 10. then it'll bring you to a preview screen, here's where you can customize it! 11. Under the preview box, the icon and text show again and can be edited 12. Click on the icon and select "Choose Photo" 13. once the name and image are set click "Add" and you're done! It'll appear on your home screen where you can move it where you want. The shortcuts that you create will be on the home page when you enter the Shortcuts App. When you want to change the image, repeat steps 7 through 13 and delete the existing ones from your home screen. You can do the same steps but instead of choosing an app, you can select an action. They have some suggested ones like "set your alarm", open certain iMessage threads, etc. You can do others through "Scripting".

At this point, your apps are organized and you have shortcuts set-up! Now it's time to add some Widgets. To add the widgets that Apple created simply go into "edit home screen" mode (same instructions as above) then click the "+" in the top left corner. They have a library to select from like the weather app, clock, photos, etc. Or as I mentioned above you can use the Widgetsmith app. With this app, you can customize your widgets so they match your theme and aesthetic.

Here's how to set-up a custom widget:

1. Open the Widgetsmith App 2. select from add "small widget", "medium widget", and "large widget" 3. once selected the app will auto-generate a widget, but you'll want to customize it so click it open (click on it again to open the widget library) 4. select the widget that you want (time, date, photo, step count, health/activity, weather, battery, calendar, reminders, etc.) 5. you'll notice there are a few options for layouts of each widget 6. once selected click "Aesthetic/Theme" 7. they have some themes already created or you can "customize theme" to pick your own colours, fonts, etc. 8. once you've created the widgets that you want (be sure to name it!) exit the app 9. go into "edit mode" on your home screen 10. Click the "+" in the top left corner 11. scroll down and select "Widgetsmith" 12. add a "small", "medium", or "large" widget 13. the app will pull the latest widget that you created in that category, but if you made multiple simply click and hold the widget that you want to change 14. Click "edit widget" click again on the widget to open your library of that size widget! 15. then you can move it wherever you want!

Ok, now you have your apps organized, your custom shortcuts, and your custom widgets! Next, you'll want to change your background photo and the locked screen. To set these simply 1. select the photo from your "photo library" 2. click the bottom left icon 3. scroll down to "Use as Wallpaper" 4. adjust how you want it to appear 5. then click "Set" 6. click "Set Lock Screen" to have it as your background or "Set Home Screen" to have it as your background on your home screen pages or "Set Both" to have it on both!

Now you're done! 3 hours well spent, right?! Here are some of the ones that I created!!!!

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