What’s on My Phone: Sally Kuria

iPhone 11 | Image courtesy

Welcome to What’s On My Phone, a weekly column where we will be snooping in on people’s smartphones and figure out how they use them, what apps they are using, and why plus tips too.

We’ll include new entries with different and notable people about what’s on their smartphones and if they are a reflection of their personalities or not.

This week, we’re featuring Sally Mugure – she is a former Techweez colleague but more on what she’s up to right now below.

This Q/A has been edited for length and clarity.

A little intro about yourself

My name is Sally Kuria. I wear many hats. Currently, I’m a full-time mum, freelance communications manager, wedding content creator on Uhiki and now amateur podcaster.

My current podcast is Mama Tales, where I explore my journey and those of others into this thing called motherhood.

What smartphone are you using and why?

I’m currently using an iPhone 11 in green. I got this phone in 2019, right after they were released. It is my first iOS device and I decided to get it for a couple of reasons; One, I did not see a comparable Android device. I previously owned a OnePlus 3T and wasn’t interested in another one.

I have also not been a huge fan of Samsungs so that was not an option. The other option was a Pixel 4 at that point, but my husband bought one and we didn’t want to have the same phone again(we both had the OnePlus).

Two, I had been using a MacBook for two years then and felt comfortable enough to reap the benefits of this ecosystem. Thirdly, I thought I’d be getting back to creating video content and wanted a phone with a great, dependable camera system.

Let’s start with your home screen – how and why have you arranged your apps the way they are?

One of the first things I had to adjust to on the iPhone was the lack of a home screen. As a lover of a clean simple Home Screen, it felt disorganised and overwhelming. You can imagine the joy I felt once they updated the software and allowed for a Home Screen and widgets.

The first thing I did was clear out everything I could and leave it “blank”. After some weeks I decided to make use of the space and access the things I use frequently.

My current home screen has four widgets and four apps. The top-left widget is all about Fitness. I am always keen to see how active I am during the day. I am not obsessed with closing my rings, but I enjoy the visual reminder to get moving.  The top right widget has my calendar. I run a pretty tight schedule so having a visual cue on what I need to do and when is great. The biggest widget on my screen is my to-do list from my Todoist app. It only shows me three tasks at a time and I can easily add more right on the widget. The last widget is the weather one. I like knowing that so that I can make decisions on how to dress my daughter at any given time.

The four apps on my home screen are frequently used. Twitter for social stalking, Home app for controlling lights and watching my baby’s room as she sleeps, Apple podcasts and TV for my current content streaming needs. This changes depending on what show I’m watching at a time.

I rarely use the other widgets on the left of the screen, but they are great at providing information with a quick glance. The most important one being the Clock widget with different cities’ time because I work with a global team.

What’s on your lock screen wallpaper/home screen wallpaper?

I fell into the trap or rather cliche of putting up a picture of your child as your wallpaper. So I put a live picture of her on there. When I long press on the screen, you can see the few seconds of her moving that were captured with the pictures. Before that, I would get my wallpapers from Unsplash. Most of them would be of landscapes that match what we could get in Kenya.

Are there any platforms or apps you use to help manage your workflow? Do you have any favourite shortcuts or life hacks that make your work/life easier?

I’m not sure if this applies, but having a home screen and widgets on iPhone made my phone feel a bit more useful. Also, I view my Apple Watch as an extension to my phone. This way, I don’t feel like I have to keep my phone on hand at all times. My current watch face has the fitness shortcut, weather, and my to do list. I can also access my baby’s camera from the watch and check in on her without having to look at my phone. These two things have made my life easier, considering the kind of doubt I had on the usefulness of an Apple Watch.

How do you handle notifications?

I don’t like notifications. A perfect would for me would be one without a single one, but that’s impractical. My phone is always on silent, therefore I only know notifications have come in through the vibration on the watch. A quick glance lets me know if more action is needed or I can just ignore. I have tried to mute out of them and only allow some from necessary apps and channels. After a day or two, I tend to clear all of them. In comparison to my Android life, I think it’s easier for me to ignore or hide notifications on my current device.

What customisation tweaks have you done on your phone?

Other than adding widgets to my home screen, I haven’t really done anything to customise it.

What is the app you use to have fun and unwind? What other apps apart from social media apps do you spend the most time on?

I have a ton of coloring apps. I tend to do that when I need to just chill. My top one is called Lake. I have a few games on here but I don’t do too much gameplay. I spend a lot of time streaming shows and movies and products  so apart from Twitter and Instagram, I’ll be on Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Netflix, Apple TV, Showmax, Dstv Now.

Anything else before we wrap up?

Nothing really. 

Maybe I’ll just add an appreciation I’ve developed for the overall Apple ecosystem. The seamless interaction between devices makes an iPhone a little bit more than just a phone. I used to be such a sceptic of this thing until I was knee-deep into it. More so now that we have worked at automating various aspects of our home.

Who else would you be curious to see next in this column?

Not sure, but more women definitely!