My 2013 iPhone Home Screen

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read
My 2013 iPhone Home Screen

This is one of the oldest screenshots in my photo collection, and I wanted to do a deep dive into what’s there and what it tells

The Device and OS

This screenshot was from September 19, 2013, so this would have been an iPhone 5. The iPhone 5S was being released the next day, but I would not get it because (a) I was under a 2 year contract that didn’t allow a new phone yet and (b) I was way too poor to buy a new phone every year even if I wanted.

This is also running iOS 7, which was released the day before this screenshot was taken. Betas were different back then, and I didn’t have a developer account (did I mention the poor bit?), so I wasn’t really running the beta those days.

What’s Survived?

4 of the 22 apps on this home screen are still there today.

  1. Safari continues to be my browser of choice.
  2. Reeder is still the best RSS reader on any platform, in my opinion.
  3. Things continues to crush it.
  4. Messages not only is still on my home screen, but it is in the exact same position.

What’s Gone?

  • Camera+ used to be more useful than it is today. I usually shoot with the official camera app, but Halide is my go-to third party shooter these days.
  • Apple’s own Weather app got much better in iOS 15, but I’m currently using Carrot Weather.
  • I still use the Clock app, but it’s not on my home screen. The Apple watch is actually what killed it, as timers and alarms almost always happen on my wrist these days.
  • Calendars 5 was a good calendar back in the day, and I’m sure it’s still solid now, but I’m a Fantastical boy now.
  • Path was a really fun social network, but of course it has disappeared.
  • Squarespace was good for Birchtree in the early days, but I’ve moved to Ghost since then and am super happy with it.
  • Mint was a third party web analytics tool I used for years, but it’s long since been discontinued and it became more trouble than it was worth, so I moved all in on Google Analytics.
  • Google Analytics is something I check once a month these days, not a few times per day like in 2013.
  • Begin is an app I have absolutely no memory of, it does not come up in search results on the App Store, and I can’t find it in my purchase history, so if you have any idea what this app may be, I’d love to know! My guess is some sort of habit tracker…
  • Byword was a great app back in the day, and it got me on a kick of having beautiful writing apps, but it’s no longer aligned with my needs. Ulysses has taken its place.
  • Drafts is still on my iPhone and I use it regularly, but it’s not something I need on my home screen.
  • Pocket Casts is a great podcast app, it’s just not my preference these days (Castro is #1, then Overcast, then Pocket Casts).
  • Rdio was the music streaming service for people who didn’t care for Spotify’s design. Ironically, despite Rdio going away years ago, I still use a Spotify competitor because I don’t like their UI in 2021 either.
  • Target was on my home screen because I worked at the company and it was nice to be able to access things like the weekly ad and check online prices quickly. It’s still on my iPhone, but I basically use it for paying with Target Circle and making the occasional online order.
  • Riposte was the best client and I won’t hear any arguments to the contrary.
  • Twitterrific is quite good these days, but I’m usually using the official app, or using Tweetbot if I’m looking for that reverse-cron timeline during a live event.
  • Facebook was in my dock…does anything tell you more about how the times have changed than this icon?