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Starting from zero on the iPhone home screen

This is what my iPhone looks like right now. No, it's not because iTunes went crazy and deleted all my apps. I'm trying to figure out which apps I actually use.

I've downloaded over 150 apps from the App Store. Of those 150, I have roughly 100 of them still in iTunes. I've tried grouping them using springboard pages, but I find it frustrating because I don't usually have 12 related apps. (I'm really looking forward to Folders in iPhone OS 4.)

Here's how I have been organizing my pages:

Page 1 and 2: anything app I use a lot or that may pop up a "badge" that I want to see.

Everything else: launch using search.

Here's the thing: I've gotten used to putting some apps on page 1 or 2 because I think I'm going to use them. The Phone app? I finally moved it off my Dock, but I left it on Page 1, even though I bet it's one of the apps that I actually use far less frequently than others.

Read on for more...

Update: A hat tip to Patrick Rhone's MinimalMac, where a version of this experiment appeared in January.

About the only thing I know I use a lot is the camera, because I'm trying to catch a quick picture of my kid doing something funny. Technically that doesn't even have to be on the front page because I have the home button programmed to launch the camera when I push it twice. (A feature I will miss in iPhone OS 4 when multitasking takes it over.)

I plugged my iPhone into my iMac and used iTunes to free up an empty page which I made the first page, and then put the camera on my Dock. Then I sync'd my iPhone. At which point iTunes deleted the blank page and moved the second page to the first page. Oops. So I moved the camera from the Dock to the only app on the first page and sync'd again.

Everything else that was on my Dock or pages 1 and 2 is now found on pages 2 and 3. Without using Search, I'm going to see which apps I need to "find" the most, and start filling in the blank spots from there. Eventually I'll move some apps to the Dock.

I know someone else in the iPhone user community did this some time ago, but I can't track it down at the moment (and my memory-impaired TUAW colleagues are no help either). If you know who it was, let us know if the comments. [It was Patrick Rhone, but he may not have been the first. -Ed.] There's also First & 20, which has profiled the start page of several members of the Mac community, including TUAW's own Dave Caolo.

How about you? How have you organized your iPhone pages?

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