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Homescreens: iPad Edition

Despite iPad functionality not being included in the new launch, it’s time to talk about it’s homescreen. I use my iPad for fundamentally different tasks than my iPhone, however there are some similarities between the apps that I use on a regular basis. Therefore, as I have already covered my iPhone homescreen, I’m only going to talk about the apps that are different here.

The extra screen real estate the iPad provides, lends it to what I see as more productive tasks. My love of a physical keyboard combined with the way that the iPad still handles multitasking, will mean that I won’t consider the iPad as a primary computer. That’s not to say I don’t use it a lot though, I do, and here’s what for.

The iPad Homescreen

Day One

Day One, is a classic journalling app for iOS, capable of recording text, photo, video and GPS data for your entries. Day One was initially designed to become a digital diary, and serves this purpose very well. However, this is not what I use it for.

I use Day One to record my day to day activities in the lab/office. This way, when my supervisor wants to know what I have been up to for the past week, month, or three months, I have accurate and concise data to back up what I say. Keeping track of the important moments is important, and as such, Day One offers multiple journals to be created, so I can keep personal and work information in sync across all my devices.


YouTube clients are plentiful on the App Store, and choosing the right one for you can be difficult. Quick disclaimer, I have not tried all of them, I stopped when I found one that allowed me to do what I wanted to do.

I landed on ProTube, I prefer it’s navigation to that of the first party YouTube app. In addition to this, quick access to my history and clear labelling of videos I’ve already watched. Perhaps the best feature though, is that it resumes playing a video where you left off, even if you exit that video.

This is so useful when it comes to trophy hunting. It allows me to leave a video of collectibles, and pick up right where I left off after say watching a trailer for a new movie or TV series.

ProTube is not the complete client. It doesn’t offer features like Picture in Picture, but performs the tasks that I need it to well, and has earned it’s place on my homescreen.


Pythonista is a relatively new addition. I’ve been attempting to teach myself to code - since before Swift Playgrounds was announced at WWDC - and Python seemed like a good place to start. Using the materials at codecademy I began to get to grips with the basics of Python, and wanted an environment where I could put what I have learned to good use.

This is a tactic I would recommend to anyone who is looking to get to grips with some basic programming. It has helped immeasurably in my academic life, and I hope to implement it into my personal endeavours soon.


Papers is the app that I use every day of the working week. I wouldn’t know what to do without it.

I’ve been a PhD student for nearly two years now, and have accumulated a library of upwards of 300 academic papers. That majority of these papers have subsequently been read, highlighted, annotated and filed into custom folders ready for me to revisit when writing up time comes around. Papers uses dropbox to keep this collection in sync across all of my devices, and the knowledge at my finger tips.

Papers also integrates exceptionally with Manuscripts, allowing for smart referencing with saves countless hours spent formatting and alphabetising a bibliography.


Screen real estate has always been important, a fact that the 27” iMac really opened my eyes too. However, my favourite Mac isn’t with me every day. At work, the majority of my day to day computing is handled by my 13” MacBook Pro, with the slight help of my incredibly old and slow (partly due to macOS Sierra betas) mid 2010 21.5” iMac. both of these displays don’t come close to the 27” glory of my home computer, so I use Duet.

Duet makes your iPad into an additional display. There are many apps that do this, but Duet is a cut above. It’s not often that I agree with cables, but Duet is the exception, transferring data via the lightning cable to deliver lag free additional display space. This extra space allows me to keep a paper open while I write my thesis, or keep a key calculation or spreadsheet in view while interpreting my latest set of results.


Budgeting is something that I have never found easy to do. Keeping track of all my expenses accurately isn’t easy, so any app that takes away some of the pain of this process is a must have in my eyes. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with Mondo, to keep track of smaller expenses. However, due to the fact that spending on my Mondo card offers no financial reward, I reserve that just for when I travel now - due to the 0% foreign transaction fees that Mondo offers.

The entirety of the rest of my monthly spending, is done on a Tesco credit card, due to offering points on all purchases. These points really add up, and will equate to a free Apple TV by the end of the year. And really, who doesn’t need an extra one of those?

As such, Mondo’stracking offers little budgetary benefit, so I started using Pennies. Pennies is great, it allows the entering of multiple budgets, and offers simple expense entry and labelling within each of these budgets. Select the date that you want your budget to roll until, and whether you want to carry any values over into the subsequent month and you are away. Budgets sync between devices effortlessly, and viewing past expenses is incredibly simple. Perhaps the most useful feature, is that Pennies shows you how much you can spend each day and still remain within your budget.

I can’t recommend Pennies enough, it’s definitely had a positive influence on my monthly expenditure.


As I mentioned at the start, I use the iPad for fundamentally different tasks than my iPhone. Writing is at the forefront of this decision. The iPhone is great for small edits on the go, but for really writing, the iPad has to take precedent.

Ulysses, is my writing app of choice. I’ve discussed why before, but will reiterate a couple of key points. Firstly, all of my writing is kept together within the Ulysses architecture. It houses writing for all of my projects, be it this website, Scienvy or my PhD. I can keep track of documents, metrics within those documents and easily export my prose in all the formats that I could ever need.

The only thing I don’t write in Ulysses, is my thesis. That privilege is reserved for Manuscripts, and is well worth investigating if you too, work in science.