With the entire world available on our smartphones, it can be hard to put your phone down at times. Because of this, many people are wanting to figure out a way to use their phone less and break free from phone addiction. Luckily, there is an inundation of new apps and technologies that help consumers make educated decisions about their technology use and screen time. Here are some of our favorite apps to help you use your phone less…and the best part is that they are all free!
Screen Time (only available on Apple devices)
On Apple’s most recent iOS, they unveiled a brand new usage tracking feature called Screen Time. Without having to download any app or software, you can track and control your own screen time. To activate this feature, make sure that your phone is updated and turn on Screen Time in your settings. Screen Time will track your phone usage, allow you to set daily time limits for certain apps or app categories and allows you block any apps or content that you want to be restricted on your or your family’s devices.
Moment will show you which apps you use the most, how many times you pick up your phone and how much total screen time you have. This app is great for families because the whole family can monitor each other’s screen time on a scoreboard. You can set limits for each member of the family…even yourself. With the Family Dinner Time feature, you can schedule an hour a day where no one in the family can use their phone (ideally during dinner time!). During that hour, if anyone picks up their device, an alert will go off on everyone’s phone. This app is great for accountability because anyone in the family can start Family Dinner Time at any time. So, if your child sees you on your phone when you should be spending time with the family, they can initiate Family Dinner Time themselves!
This app adds an element of competition to reducing your phone usage. With Flipd, you can create leaderboards, so you and your friends can compete to see who can use their phone the least. Test your willpower and use the Light Lock feature, which will let you use your phone, but will send you notifications to remind you to put your phone downs. But, if you want a more intense solution, the Full Lock feature hides apps and shuts off all notifications for a specified amount of time.
Mute encourages you to spend less time on your phone using goals and motivation. Like others, this app will monitor how long you can go without checking you phone and your daily total screen time. Mute will also send you encouraging notifications or reminders when you meet your digital detox goals. Another bonus is that it will track your location to help you determine where you use your phone the most, whether it be at work, school or home.
This app is designed to help you find a balance between your devices and your real life by allowing you to set goals for the number of unlocks and time on your phone. It will also notify you and dim your screen whenever it’s time to put your phone down. This app will also track your phone usage to help you make better decisions regarding your screen time.