A 2018 study conducted by PEW Research Center reveals over 95% of Americans now own some type of cell phone, with 77% owning a smartphone. Since 2011, smartphone ownership has increased dramatically, when ownership was 35%.
What is the impact of increased smartphone usage? Is it possible to be addicted to your smartphone? If you have these types of questions, you're not alone. According this recent article from Psychology Today, the answer is not clear. Maybe you are. How exactly would you know? The digital police aren’t going to flag you when you’ve met your technology threshold.
Apple is aware of this increased issue in society and in response, with the iOS 12 update, a new feature called Screen Time was introduced. In addition to being more aware of your screen time, there are several other built in features that can help you reduce the amount of time you spend on your iPhone.
Here are 5 Easy Ways to reduce your iPhone Screen time:
1 - Monitor Your Screen Time
With iOS 12, there is a new featured called Screen Time, which provides reports about how much time you spend on your iPhone, and allows you to set limits for what you want to manage.
Go to Settings > Screen Time and then select iPhone to see how much time you’ve spent on your phone and what you’ve been doing with that time.
To learn more about Screen Time, visit Apple’s instructions on how to use Screen Time.
2 - Delete Apps That Don’t Serve You
We all have a pretty good idea of what’s good for us and what’s not. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight by eating healthier, you know you need to get food that is bad for you out of the house.
You can apply the same concept to the apps on your iPhone. Maybe you have a game that you mindlessly play whenever you’re bored or stressed? Or maybe you get sucked down the Pinterest (or Facebook) rabbit hole when you have something more important you should be doing?
The simple solution is to delete the app. You know what they say, "Out of sight, out of mind”. You can always re-add it later.
Not ready to delete Facebook or Pinterest? One trick I do is delete the app from my iPhone, but keep it on my iPad. Since I don't always have my iPad handy, I'm more intentional about my app use and less likely to go down a rabbit hole.
3 - Manage Your Notifications
Notification that are built into apps are designed to keep you coming back for more—so you spend more time on the app.
And even if you ignore notifications, they can still do you harm. A study from Florida State says that notifications are distracting and disruptive to whatever you're doing, even if you ignore them. Just the act of hearing that ping or feeling that vibration in our pocket will pull us from the task at hand and make it harder to focus again.
But there’s a simple solution: when you download a new app, don’t let it automatically notify you of anything. Use the app for a little while first. You can always turn on notifications later if you find you really need them.
You can now manage your notifications right on your lock screen by swiping left. To manage your notification settings, go to Settings > Notifications or review Apple’s instructions for Managing Notifications.
4 - Schedule Do Not Disturb
I started using the Do Not Disturb feature to stop notifications from 10pm to 7am years ago when I realized there was a setting to allow anyone in your favorites to bypass Do Not Disturb.
If you’re worried about missing a call from a hospital or police at night (I’m a parent too), you turn on the Repeated Calls setting, which means that if you get another call within three minutes, Do Not Disturb will be bypassed.
You can find the scheduled option for Do Not Disturb settings by going to Settings > Do Not Disturb and turning on Scheduled. Or see Apple’s full instructions for using Do Not Disturb.
5 - Change Your iPhone Screen to Grayscale
Have you ever seen the viral TED talk by Tristan Harris (former Google Design Thinker)? He became known for encouraging people to use their phones more mindfully. One of his tips was to turn your phone from full color to black and white (or grayscale) to make it less stimulating. That way, we’re more likely to use it only for what we need it for and then get on with our lives.
To turn on grayscale, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters. Turn on the Color Filters slider and then select Grayscale.
Following one or more of these tips will not only make you more aware or your iPhone usage, but may also help you reduce your screen time, allowing you more time to focus on other aspects of your life.
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