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20 successful Australian executives reveal how they organise apps on their smartphone

Photo: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

Everyone has their own method when it comes to organising the apps on their smartphones.

Some like a clean, categorised approach, while others prefer a more flexible system, chopping and changing the order of their apps based on usage.

This, along with the background image, can reveal a lot about the owner’s personality.

We asked 20 executives to share the home screens of their smartphones.

Here they are.

Trent Innes at Xero

Trent Innes/ Supplied

I started my career as an accountant, which taught me good organisational skills – and I’d say my mobile phone homepage reflects that, with all my apps categorised in folders. Working for a technology company, I always use my phone to manage my business and to stay connected to employees, customers and my family while travelling.

Whether I’m looking to check in to a flight, track a run before work, manage an aspect of the Xero business or tweet our latest business news, everything is easily accessible on my mobile homepage. My son even knows exactly what folder is his when he steals my phone to play a game! Mobile organisation helps me work fast and efficiently.

Fred Schebesta, CEO and co-founder of finder.com.au and finder.com

Fred Schebesta/ Supplied

When I glance at my homepage screen, the first thing I see are my two girls, Portia and Tsaatchi aged 7 and 4. They rock my world.

I curate my app settings to suit where my life is at at any given time.

On the bottom bar, I’ve got Google Calendar, Google Maps, Slack and WhatsApp all ready to go. Easy access to these apps helps me go live with things quickly and from my mobile, such as Youtube for filming and publishing content quickly.

With 58 unread notifications, I use Slack on a daily basis to stay in touch with the finder crew in real-time.

Google Calendar keeps me on track, while Google Maps gets me from A to B (especially when travelling to new markets to achieve Finder domination!).

I want my business apps front and centre. On the homepage screen, I’ve also got Gmail, LinkedIn, Zoom, JIRA, and Confluence. It’s all about communication for my role and I do that through my phone non stop.

Taryn Williams, CEO The Right Fit

Taryn Williams/ Supplied

I’ll be honest, I don’t put a lot of thought into how my apps are organised! I keep my most used apps on the front screen, and rarely scroll past that! I find that when I am flying is a great time to clean up my apps, any that I don’t use get deleted and I also delete a few photos at the same time too.

I’m thinking about moving my social apps (Instagram, Facebook, twitter) to page 2 so I don’t check them as often – it is a guilty indulgence!

Mick Spencer, founder and CEO of ONTHEGO

Mick Spencer/ Supplied

With domestic and international travel a weekly occurrence for me, I rely on apps to communicate with customers, staff and manufacturers on various parts of the globe.

I am an organisation freak. I split my home screen by folders, and most popular. The folders are all based on the type of app.

I have my health folders for all my exercise type apps. The business and money folder includes everything related to day-to-day business and cash, from Xero to Banking. Travel is an important app folder and has everything concerning my flights, accommodation and itinerary. My most popular and frequently accessed are on the bottom: email, phone, music and internet.

Peter Holton, managing director of Spectur Limited

Peter Holton/ Supplied

Let’s start with the background, which is of my wife of 25 years. In the Ocean in Uluwatu, Bali. My happy picture! I have my most frequently used apps on the home screen for convenience, and these are separated into folders for ease of use. Most of the apps are business related. Then there are a few fun ones to make traveling more interesting — I’m establishing offices on the east coast at present so I spend a lot of my time away from home.

I love cameras and photography, so the fun apps tend to be camera related. Cardboard is really cool as it allows you to use your phone and a lightweight cardboard holder as a VR device. I have an Adobe folder because they have some really cool phone apps that I use frequently. A PDF viewer that lets me sign documents is really helpful for me day-to-day, meaning no more printing, signing and scanning. On my iPad Pro I can use the Apple Pencil to handwrite my signature, which is also very valuable. Then there’s one I use to mock up web pages and brochures to run by the designers.

Nick Dunford, general manager CoVentured

Nick Dunford/ Supplied

I make sure that the apps I use the most or the apps which have push notifications enabled are on the front screen. I also try to only have two screens of apps so I either create a folder to store apps or delete apps I have not used for a long time. It is rare for me to try new apps so I’m usually not an early adopter, although I will try something new if recommended by a friend.

My two favourite apps at the moment are Hey You, co-founded by Adam Theobald, and GoCatch co-founded by Andrew Campbell, two awesome Australian companies and entrepreneurs.

Robert Read, CEO of MedAdvisor

Robert Read/ Supplied

My home screen has my most used apps on it, except the AFL app which I also use frequently on the weekend, which hasn’t yet made it onto the home screen. I do like to have my transport apps handy such as flight and Uber. The most used apps, phone, email, Safari and of course MedAdvisor take pride of place down the bottom of the screen. I don’t mind having the others spread around the home page as it is easy to navigate. Social gets a bit of use, most commonly LinkedIn. The wallpaper changes semi regularly with photos of my kids. I find I get lost with apps in folders, keep the best one’s on the home screen!

Danielle Szetho, CEO of FinTech Australia

Danielle Szetho/ Supplied

The apps that I have on my homescreen are the ones I use the most. You can tell that I frequently a lot of social media and messaging apps although it’s also clear that I don’t tend to stay on top of my messages. I was a BETA tester for Finch a new social fintech app on there. My friends and I started using it to split bills when we were at a interstate music and art festival. It’s been so useful to us that it’s made its way to my home screen! And my background is some graffiti I saw in the toilet at the back of a Melbourne pub. Really liked the black and whiteness of and thought it really worked as a wallpaper.

Sage Greenwood, managing director, WINK Models

Sage Greenwood/ Supplied

I arrange my apps so I can see my background. It’s a photo I took from a plane above the ocean, my two favourite places to relax. I also like how simple the image is, blending the sky and earth together so effortlessly, reminding me to appreciate the beauty of the world. I work from 2 desktop screens at my desk, both which are constantly full, so I find having a clean home screen on my mobile helps clear my mind when I leave the office. I arrange my apps into groups, although again try to keep it simple and only have apps that I use and need. I declutter as much as possible and remove apps as soon as I stop using them.

Christie Whitehill, CEO Tech Ready Program

Christie Whitehill/ Supplied

There are some apps that I just cannot live without and these sit on my home screen: Evernote, Trello, Slack and Google Suite.

Evernote helps me capture my ideas, no matter where I am and it syncs across my mobile and laptop. I’m often inspired by the environment around me and having access to Evernote helps me to capture my ideas no matter the time of day or my location!

Trello is great for planning, strategizing and making things happen. I wear a lot of different hats in my business and Trello helps me to stay organised and always keep my finger on the pulse with what’s next.

Slack is my go to for communication. I can speak to my internal team and update them as well as connect with the wider Tech Ready Women team.

Google Suite is the ultimate collaboration tool. I can collaborate with my team of mentors and experts in real time, no matter where they are in the world.

John Bush, founder and CEO of easyshare

John Bush/ Supplied

I love aviation so I update a new aircraft image on the home screen every month. Because of this, I also make sure I have enough room to showcase my latest photo, and all my apps are stored in categorised folders; I’m a very visual person so my folders are named with emojis; my life is ? times better with emojis! There are also only three applications that I use daily that get home screen real estate – Trello, easyshare and Spotify.

Jeff McAlister, CEO of TryBooking

Jeff McAlister/ Supplied

While it’s probably an unpopular practice, I try to keep the apps on my homescreen in alphabetical order as it makes things easier to find. I usually have a picture of my beloved kids in the background but sometimes I have a photo of the office so I am reminded of work.

Most apps are generally fall into the following categories:

News: I read TechCrunch and The Australian first thing in the morning, and listen to ABC’s The Business while driving to work.

Communication: I couldn’t live without Gmail and Slack as it keeps me in contact with everything that’s going on in the office; WhatsApp is used for personal communications.

Fitness: Strava keeps track of my cycling and allows me to follow what the pro cyclists are up to.

Other: I frequently use the TryBooking app in order to monitor the 10,000 events that we help run each week (especially useful while speaking to our customers and community on the phone). I also rely on OneNote extensively to write down notes straight after meetings while they are fresh in my mind to review later.

Hugh Stephens, founder of Schedugram

Hugh Stephens/ Supplied

My home screen is entirely based around the apps I use 99% of the time. It’s been roughly the same for a number of years now, so if I ever rearrange my main screen I’ll have several weeks of opening the wrong app. I find that folders mostly get in the way as I’m a visual person – camera apps are in a folder on my home screen but I usually launch the camera from the lock screen. I will scroll through the pages to get to the lesser used apps, identifying them by their logo. I also use search for some apps I use extremely rarely, where I won’t have a “muscle memory” of where it is or what it looks like within the page.

William On, co-founder and joint CEO at Shippit

William On/ Supplied

My beloved dog Nala takes up the background and app arrangement is based on ease of access – most frequently used apps don’t require too much dexterity. You can see my priorities are work, transport, music and finance. I’m a heavy user of Apples Spotlight being part of the Google/Search Generation for apps that appear on other screens which are basically a dumping ground for apps.

Nick La, co-founder at Weploy

Nick La/ Supplied

My iPhone homescreen is very similar to the default one. All my apps on the front page are work-related as I want to make sure there are minimal distractions during the day so I can focus on Weploy and nothing else. The second page has entertainment including podcasts (my favourite podcast at the moment is ‘The Twenty Minute VC’) and various games that my son plays with at home.

Sarah Liu, founder and managing director of The Dream Collective

Sarah Liu/ Supplied

All my social media apps are combined together and I snooze all the notifications to avoid distraction. The most frequently used apps are mostly communication tools like Whatpsapp, Line, Signal, Slack and Zoom, so they have all been prioritised on the home page. I travel a lot so the Qantas app, which keeps all my travel itinerary is an absolute must on the home page. I actually keep my banking apps (NAB and Westpac) on the homepage as a reminder for myself to always keep finance and money matters top of mind. As I’m not a number oriented person, that’s the one detail in business I often leave to last, which is something I’m trying to change.

Scott Handsaker, CEO of CyRise

Scott Handsaker/ Supplied

I group my apps in folders as much as possible in order to minimise the number of times I have to move off the first page. It feels more productive and faster to locate the app I want. Spotify gets pride of place in the dock because I use it so frequently.

Martin Davidson, CEO of The Blockchain Centre

Martin Davidson/ Supplied

I’ve been using an iPhone for a few years now because I like its simple design, strong encryption, security and ease of use. Living and working in a truly global tech industry such as Bitcoin and Blockchain, using digital communication tools effectively is vital to me and growing the Blockchain Centre brand.

I share news and photos on Twitter and Facebook and develop new and maintain existing relationships through other channels such as Linkedin, Wechat, Telegram and Whatsapp. I send and receive money and manage my financial portfolio via my handset also. I’ve put my apps into categories and folders on my home screen so I can easily find what I use the most.

Alexandra Tselios, CEO The Big Smoke

Alexandra Tselios/ Supplied

As you can see, I don’t like having too much cluttering my iPhone realestate, so I generally keep everything on the first slide and any apps I don’t use daily I keep in a folder.

My main apps are around messaging (both clients, leads and personal), and my own company to keep up to date with what we are producing each hour. I also use apps to help simplify my daily activities like receipt reconciling, signing contracts, cloud storage and communicating with my team on their projects.

My most fun app at the moment is the Rock Clock – which is an alarm clock, I love it (it has no snooze button and he yells at 3.45am). But my favourite at the moment is Mimo which is a learn to code on the go app so I can play around with SQL Fundamentals and programming in my spare time – it is usually the app I use in the back of an Uber unless I am shamefully scrolling through pug Instagram accounts again).

Sandra McLeod, Travelport Locomote

Sandra McLeod/ Supplied

As I’m on the road so often, I rely on my iPhone to help me stay connected to my friends, family and colleagues (both in Australia and overseas). My homepage has the likes of Whatsapp, Slack and my emails on there — as well as travel apps (which I use far too often!). Because I use so many travel apps, they’re the only ones that I have in folder. It just helps me keep them on my homepage, so they’re easier to access.

I’ve also got the beta version of Travelport Locomote’s app on there. We’re developing the app to help make travel booking even easier, and so it’s good to have the app there to keep an eye on progress.

The bouquet of flowers as my background were an anniversary gift from my husband, and always make me smile when I open my phone.

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