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Mike Allan’s iPhone X setup

Every week, we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

New setup interviews are posted every Monday; follow us on RSS or Twitter to stay up to date.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Mike Allan, and I’m currently a dispatcher at a local trucking company, while being a videographer, student of life, and constant tinkerer on the side. For some reason, I’ve always been interested in other people’s iPhone setups, so when I found this site and its interviews section, I bookmarked it right away. I’m constantly looking for new apps that will improve my life and simplify things.

What iPhone do you have?

Michael Allan's iPhone

The phone I’m using right now is a 64 GB Space Gray iPhone X, and I could not be happier. I’ve had an iPhone since the 3GS days, but when the new Pixel 2 came out, I traded in my iPhone 6s and made the switch to Android to see what it was all about. Roughly a month later, I sold the Pixel and moved back over to iPhone again. It’s safe to say I’m here to stay.

Where can we find your wallpaper online?

My wallpaper is actually just one of the default Apple wallpapers with a blur effect over it.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

I keep my phone fairly simple. My homepage only has apps that help organize my day. The rest of them sit in two folders in the dock.

  • Fantastical: I love the layout of the app and the widget is amazingly brilliant. The colorful, event-type coordinated dots make it super easy to glance at quickly and have a good idea of what is going on, while the natural-language input makes adding new events a breeze. If Apple would add the colored dots to their default app, I would definitely go back to that. Hopefully they do that in a future update.
  • Gmail: I always try and use default apps as much as possible, but I find that the instant push notifications that come with Gmail’s own app automatically make it my go-to as an email client.
  • Things 3: I’m fairly new to this one, but so far I’m a fan. I like the fact that whenever things need to get done, I can dump all my thoughts into its Inbox and then schedule them at a later time. I also like that its badge shows the number of tasks that I still have to complete for the day, which keeps me accountable.
  • Reminders: I still use the default Reminders app for simple things such as reminding me to throw in/take out the laundry at a certain time. The integration with Siri makes its irreplacable. It’s so easy to just say “Siri, remind me to … at this time.”
  • Notes: I’ve been using the Notes app to dump all of my thoughts lately. I have my folders listed as Checklists, Recipes, Travel, Ideas, etc. Whether it’s taking screenshots of recipes online and then dumping them into a new note, or saving a list of cheap parking areas in specific cities, it’s been my second brain.
  • Spotify: Possibly my most used app. I’m always listening to music, whether it’s getting ready in the morning, driving in the car, working out, etc. I’ve tried Apple Music, but I find Spotify is just so simple to use and pairs greatly with its Mac counterpart. The recommended, personalized playlists in Spotify are just so much better than Apple Music.
  • Pocketcasts: The best podcast app…EVER. I’ve tried everything thing from Apple’s default Podcasts, to Overcast, but nothing compares to Pocketcasts. My favourite thing about Pocketcasts is that everything is so easily laid out for the user. Want to know which podcasts are downloaded to the device catergorized by the show they belong to? Just tap Downloads. Want to pick up on a podcast you’ve previously listened to but didn’t finish? Just tap In Progress. Everything is right there.

Which app could you not live without?

The apps I couldn’t live without would be the ones on my homepage. Fanstastical and Things 3 keep me organized and let me know what I’m doing each day with a quick glance. Messages and Gmail are my only sources of contact aside from talking in-person, so I’d have to include those as well. If Apple was to create their own version of Google Keep (they could call it Stickies), that app would likely be included here as well. That’s something I hope they make very soon β€” fingers crossed for the future.


There are more Sweet Setup interviews right here.

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