Chris Welch, writing for The Verge, covers an aspect of iPadOS 15 I also pointed out in my review: iPadOS 15 no longer keeps the same icon grid layout in portrait and landscape orientations, and, if you place widgets on the Home Screen, its density is reduced.
Some will see this as a very minor inconvenience and carry on with updating to iPadOS 15 for all of the other benefits. Since the App Library is now there, you can even go in the complete opposite direction and load your homescreens up with widgets everywhere and only a few app icons. If that’s you, don’t let me stop you. On the whole, it’s a very good release.
But I’m really hoping in a future software update, Apple will add a setting to restore the old layout that kept everything more consistent. It’d be even better if the company made the grid more customizable on the whole. If we’re letting people choose between new and old Safari designs, why not offer a choice between having more things on-screen or a less dense grid that’s better optimized for widgets? There’s already a “Home Screen and Dock” section in settings, after all. Letting you adjust the grid to your liking is something that Android phones and tablets already get right. It’s not a huge ask.
I think the point about customization is exactly right, and also why I’m not complaining about the ability to choose a layout in Safari. As iPads are used by a variety of less tech-savvy and more experienced pro users, it’s now increasingly challenging for Apple to cover the platform’s full spectrum of workflows with non-customizable features. Welch makes a great point about the Home Screen grid’s rigidity and lack of control; I hope Apple provides more options for this in the future, along with a denser grid if you have widgets placed on the iPad Home Screen.
Homescreen.me, which we first covered in June, has today received a big update which significantly enhances the utility of the website. Préshit Deorukhkar writes:
Ever wondered how your Homescreen has evolved over time? What if you could go back in time and see which apps you were using a month ago? Well, now you can.
You can now browse all your Past Homescreens on the site. All the screenshots that you’ve uploaded since you signed up here are available for your perusal. So go ahead, take a trip down memory lane.
I love this feature, and although I’ve only uploaded four Home screens to Homescreen.me so far, I look forward to regularly uploading my Home screen and seeing how it changes over a longer period of time. I’m still hoping that the folks at Homescreen.me implement a reminder system that sends me an email once a month reminding me to upload a new Home screen. But until that happens, I’ve created a recurring reminder in Due.
The other big new feature to come to Homescreen.me is the ability to follow your favorite users. Home screens from the people you follow will appear on the Timeline page of Homescreen.me. Also, because Homescreen.me is a website that you may only visit occasionally, you’ll also get an email notification for when someone you follow posts a Home screen.
How different people arrange their iPhone Home screen is a natural curiosity for most of us with an interest in technology. We’ve featured Home screens in the vast majority of MacStories Weekly email newsletters, and it has easily been one of the most popular sections.
The iPhone has become an integral part of our lives, and seeing the apps that different people elevate to their Home screen provides insights into how they work and live their lives. But it also gives us the opportunity to discover new apps, find a new wallpaper, or re-think the layout and structure of how we organize the apps on our own Home screens.
If you find yourself curious about the iPhone Home screens of others, the relaunch of the Homescreen.me website might interest you. The basic pitch is that it allows anyone to upload and share their iPhone Home screen and Apple Watch watch face. The team behind Homescreen.me is also featuring the Home screens of different users, giving you the opportunity to get inspired and discover new apps.
A particularly nice touch with Homescreen.me is that in your profile settings you can choose which iPhone (model and color) and Watch (model) you own. This selection has an impact because the screenshots you upload will be superimposed onto the correct device. When you upload your screenshot you’re also given the option to provide a description, and a wallpaper source.