What’s on My Phone: Lulu Ngei, Software Engineer at Microsoft


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 are featuring Lulu Ngei. More on her below.

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

A little intro about yourself

My name is Lulu Ngei and I’m a software engineer at Microsoft. When I’m not coding, I write a lot, either on my blog techwithlulu or fictional stories here and there.

And when I’m not staring at a screen, I’ll either play with my pets or read a good mystery novel; going through Agatha Christie’s collection currently.

What smartphone are you using and why?

I am using a matcha green iPhone 12 for two reasons, I only truly love using iOS, and pastel colours are my favourite so the matcha green was a no brainer.

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

I don’t like clutter and try to be as minimalist as I can. That’s why my homescreen is only a
single page with only the apps I use the most.

On the main part of my homescreen: Two mail applications; Gmail and outlook, two devotional apps; the Bible and Enduring Word which is a commentary on the entire Bible, camera because I take pictures all the time, especially of my pets and garden.

Some tools like the calendar and notes for when ideas pop up and I need to remember, and Duolingo because I’m learning Spanish and next year maybe French. Payment apps; Loop and Mpesa cause who doesn’t need those, authenticator apps for school and work systems and of course music; Spotify and Shazam.

At the very top of my home screen is a daily Bible verse from the Bible app. One of my favourite things about my phone. Finally at the bottom are my communication apps. That’s all on my home screen. Just the basics.

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

Honestly, this changes quite often. Sometimes it’s a pretty landscape, sometimes a nice matcha green wallpaper to match the colour of my phone and the rest of my home screen but many times, it’s a picture of my person.

And of course, the date and time and the top and camera and torch at either bottom corners.

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 use the calendar and notes apps to set future meetings, appointments, deadlines etc. I especially use the notes app because I can open it anytime and jot down what’s on my mind that I would otherwise forget about.

I set my phone to Do Not Disturb in two instances, when I’m working and when it’s my “me-time”; either by myself or with my loved ones. This way I won’t hear any notifications.

Finally, I use the clock app to set reminder alarms because many times things go past me especially on busy days.

How do you handle notifications?

I respond to messages that are important immediately, but many times very urgent messages are passed via calls. Non-urgent messages I respond to at the end of the day, mostly after work. This keeps me less distracted. Semi urgent ones, during my lunch break.

Social media notifications really pile up for days and I’d respond to them when I open the respective app.

What customisation tweaks have you done on your phone?

A couple, but not as exciting as you’d think. My favourite one is the Bible verse at the top of my home screen. Even when life gets overly busy I always have time to spare a few minutes to meditate on God’s word because it’s right there on my face.

Finally, I have different ringtones for different people, my people. For someone like me, that’s A LOT.

I’m a grandma when it comes to gadgets, I use them as they come. Case in point, my laptop wallpaper is always the default one set by the OS.

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 don’t unwind on my phone. I either read a book or go for a walk.

Anything else before we wrap up?

I’m not fully iOS. I have an Android tablet that I use for what I can’t get on iOS. Best of both worlds I’d say.

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

Surprise me.

Tech Habits to Adopt in 2021

Articles in this stream

What’s on My Phone: Sally Kuria

What’s on My Phone: Mutindi Muema

What’s on My Phone: June Okal

What’s on My Phone: Waithira Kunene

What’s on My Phone: Mwirigi

What’s on My Phone: Tyrus Kamau

What’s on My Phone: Kenn Abuya

What’s On My Phone: Kiruti Itimu

What’s on My Phone: Saruni Maina

What’s on My Phone: Dickson Otieno

What’s on My Phone: George Kamau