This article can be seen as a reply to a thought shared by Carl Barenbrug on his current 2021 phone setup. I always find it interesting to see how other people organise their digital companion and I also would like to share some things about mine.

My current phone is with me since the beginning of 2020 when I upgraded from an iPhone 6s to a 11 Pro Max. In the meantime, Apple has released two new models of their phones, yet I am still content with the one I have. As Carl mentioned, for sure the 12 (and 13) have a much more aesthetic design, but mine does its job so why spend that much money.

2021 has been a truly variable year so the metaphor of a roller coaster, once again, fits pretty well. Through all of this process, though, minimalism has stayed by my side and helped me handle a lot of things better. This is why I also keep my mobile setup as minimal as possible.

I have been and I am still using my phone a lot during the day, which sometimes gets too much, à la opening Instagram every ten minutes to unintentionally scroll through my timeline.

To eliminate that behaviour, I simply delete Instagram and other addictive apps from my phone from time to time, only keeping the ones for communication and daily tasks. These include the following:

  • Agora

  • Bolt

  • Books

  • Bring!

  • Calculator

  • Calendar

  • Camera

  • Clock

  • Contacts

  • Craft

  • DB Navigator

  • FaceTime

  • Files

  • Find my

  • Health

  • Home

  • Instagram

  • Keynote

  • Lightroom

  • Lime

  • Maps

  • Medium

  • Messages

  • Music

  • mymind (will write about this in the future)

  • Notes

  • Notion

  • Outbank

  • Pages

  • Phone

  • Photos

  • Pinterest

  • Punkt

  • Safari

  • Savee

  • Settings

  • Shazam

  • Shortcuts

  • Snapchat

  • TED

  • Telegram

  • Tempo

    (Sadly discontinued → decided not to check mails on my phone anymore)
  • Timetable

  • Tweek

  • Unfold

  • Weather

  • WhatsApp

While listing all these apps, I was a bit surprised by the amount of them I have on my phone, so I deleted a few.

On my current home screen you can only find four applications, namely Tweek, Messages, Safari and Apple Music. This way, I don't get distracted when opening my phone so that I can focus on my actual intention.

Swiping left leads me to the App Library introduced in iOS 14, which holds all of the apps and would only distract me again, so I currently try to train myself to open any other app via the search (by swiping down) in which I also disabled any Siri recommendations.

Lastly, I have set my phone to grey-scale mode most of the time to avoid any further interruptions that drag me out of my focus. Then, in case I do need some colors, I can simply tap the back of my phone three times. To reduce color further, I am using the custom app icons from the SLM 880 Icon Set by Minimalissimo x Studio Lenzing.


Feel free to share how your setup is organized or which apps you deleted last.
Love, Linus

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