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How to detoxify with these apps and gadgets from your smartphone



How much do you love your smartphone? Chances are, the answer is too much, right? We all want to spend less time watching screens and spending more time having real experiences. The data is pretty clear: we are all too obsessed with our phones. One in three people around the world has trouble pulling the plug, even though he knows it's healthier to pick up his phone.

Why are smartphones so convincing? They are designed specifically for this purpose, with bright lights, high-resolution colors, and endless pop-up alerts and prompts that grab your attention. But fortunately for us, there are a lot of things we can change to see how our phones look and work. If you just want to make your smartphone look boring, boring or straight ugly, you can do that.

Let's start with the tools that are already on your phone. Apple's iOS 1

2 update included a new feature called Screen Time, which gives you a wealth of data on using your iPhone and iPad and shortens the time you spend on each device on your device. There are also app limits that allow you to set the daily time for a particular app or for a whole category of apps like social media, productivity, or entertainment. At the end of this time, the icon will be dimmed by iOS and a full-screen banner will appear telling you that you have reached your time limit.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Users of Android phones have the setting Digital well-being, which is quite similar to the screen time. The main difference between the two features is that you can always press a button to ignore it on iOS. On Android, however, you'll need to manually remove the limit, which is more annoying.

There are also third-party apps that can make your phone less appealing. An Android app called Siempo has a white background with simple-looking icons. You can also delay and group notifications. And that's something special: Siempo is constantly rearranging your icons so you do not have the habit of starting the apps in muscle memory.

You can also turn on the grayscale feature of your phone. In iOS, go to Settings, Accessibility, Accommodation, Color Filters, and then choose Grayscale. Everything should be dull and gray. (It's like this movie Pleasantville but vice versa.) I would also disable all non-human notifications. This is essentially everything except texts that you receive from iMessage, WhatsApp or any other messaging app.

Suppose your fixation is more serious than what can be changed by switching some settings or downloading new apps. You may need to change your behavior, but you do not want to give up the cold turkey. Think of a diet: you still have to eat, but your goal should be to go to a healthier level. How shall we do it?

Some tips that have been shown to me by different behavioral psychologists include setting goals for using your smartphone and achieving those goals. Turn off your phone at certain times of the day. Do not put your phone to bed. Delete triggering apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Accept the fact that by restricting the use of your smartphone, you may miss certain invitations, news, or gossip attempts. Take a deep breath. Hug the FOMO.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

For more extreme cases, you can also remove your smartphone altogether. Currently, there is a trend towards minimalist mobile phones, which are essentially just phones that do much less. There are a number of minimalist phones that range from the most functionality to the least functional. Devices like the Unihertz Jelly are tiny smartphones that are harder to use, while other devices such as the Light Phone are only on the phone.

If all else fails, there is always … (drum roll please) digital detox camp! These places have been around for a while, and frankly, they are pretty easy to hate. Rich, privileged people who go into the woods, learning to live without electronic devices? Inaccessible to most of us, but if you can afford it, you have fun.

Hey, I understand: phones are great. You can play Candy Crush watch YouTube tutorials, watch the president on Twitter. The real world is a kind of mess. But if it bothers your life, maybe it's time to reevaluate your relationship with technology. Then hopefully you can achieve the perfect balance between phone and life.


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