If you’re the type of person who goes to open houses, just to spy on neighbors even when you’re not shopping for a home, you may be the perfect user for #Homescreen, an iOS app by Betaworks that allows you to check out other people’s iPhone homescreens and share your own.
The app has been out since late last year, but a new update brings a brand new UI. Now you can swipe through an endless sea of iPhone screens. It’s like you’re seeing digital personalities fly by in bubblegum pink wallpapers, sports logos, and photos of other people’s children.
Of course, the voyeurism (or exhibitionism!) is just part of the appeal of #Homescreen. Lurking inside this interface is a powerful tool for discovering new apps. Right now, Apple has a mega stock of 1.2 million apps hiding in its App Store, and the company can only surface a small handful at a time through methods like its “top 50” and other “best of lists.” It’s like Apple has just a few store windows to show off this massive warehouse of digital product. New stuff constantly buries old stuff, and it’s very difficult to see what’s there.
#Homescreen, though it’s far from a fix-all solution, provides users a way to casually browse apps. Tap on any screen you like inside #Homescreen, and it pulls up an easy-to-read list of apps on that phone. Tap on any one of them, and you’re whisked right to the App Store to download it.
#Homescreen isn’t the only product aimed at solving app discovery. Apple Apps in Pinterest and Facebook’s super successful App Ads help users dig through the murk and recommend all those useful apps that aren’t in Apple’s top 50 list. But there’s something very intimate about #Homescreen’s approach, in that it’s actually a window into the digital lives of others. It’s not just a soulless algorithm serving up suggestions; it’s the thrill of keeping up with the Joneses.
#Homescreen is free to download now.