The smartphones we take with us everywhere are fantastic little devices, capable of entertaining, informing and communicating with the rest of the world, but they can also be incredibly distracting. If you’ve decided your phone is taking up too much time and attention, there are plenty of ways to make it less distracting.
This is sometimes referred to as phone minimalism, and it can cover everything from turning off a few notifications to buying a brand new handset that’s been built with minimalism in mind. Choose accordingly, depending on how simple you want your smartphone experience to be..
Delete some apps
It’s not really smartphones that are distracting, it’s all the apps we load on them. If you want to embrace mobile minimalism, get rid of as many apps as possible, and maybe even all of them. To uninstall an app from the Android app drawer, long press its icon and drag it up. Uninstall button; on an iPhone home screen, long-press an app icon and choose Delete app.
If you need help figuring out which apps you’re wasting the most time on, your phone can help here. On Android, open Settings, then choose Digital wellbeing and parental controls to see how much time you’ve spent in each of your apps lately. On iOS, in Settings, select screen time. These same screens give you options to limit app usage, which is another way to become a more minimal phone user.
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You don’t have to delete accounts associated with these apps, though. this is also an option. Remember that even if you uninstall apps like Twitter and Instagram from your phone, you can still access them on the web (and people can still contact you through them) – it’s just that you won’t be constantly attempted to open them on your phone.
Properly manage your notifications
Maybe you want to keep certain apps on your phone for some reason, but you don’t want them to interrupt your day so much. Android and iOS now have many notification options that you can change: go to Notice and App settings from Android settings Where Notice from iOS settings to make changes and disable some (or all) of the apps on your phone.
Your phone may also go into silent mode during certain periods. On Android, open Settings, then choose sound and vibration and Do not disturb: This mode can be activated manually or on a timer, and it’s up to you which apps (if any) are allowed to show notifications and trigger buzzes and sounds. You can also specify certain contacts who can always reach you when Do Not Disturb is enabled.
On iOS, open Settings, then tap To concentrate: You can configure particular rules for different scenarios (like being in the office or driving from place to place), and there is a standard Do not disturb also possibility. To help limit distractions, you can set specific lock screen and home screen combinations, and like on Android, you can select applications and contacts to which custom rules do not apply.
Make your phone less attractive
Aesthetics are a big part of minimalism, and you can quickly reduce your phone’s visual appeal with a more austere color palette and simpler wallpaper (see options under Display and Wallpaper and styling in android settings and Display and Brightness and Wallpaper in iOS settings).
Pixel phones have a special bedtime mode that dims the screen and switches to grayscale mode: in settings, Choose Digital wellbeing and parental controlsthen bedtime mode to turn it on manually or set it to run on a schedule. iOS doesn’t offer anything to match this feature, but you can put your iPhone into grayscale mode – from Settings tap Accessibilitythen Display and text sizethen Color filters.
Another option for Android phones is Minimalist phone: This is a launcher app that applies a basic, monochrome, text-based interface, plus additional tools to manage your time in apps and suppress notifications when you don’t want to be disturbed . It’s a neat approach and you can easily switch back to your phone’s normal working mode when needed.
Buy a minimalist phone
You have another option here, which is to buy a phone designed to be minimal. A number of features phones are available from nokia, for example, starting as low as $50. You can make calls and text, but there’s no Instagram or Snapchat to distract you from the real world (Google Maps is installed on these handsets, so you can always get from A to B).
Then there is the Lightweight Phone II, a $300 phone designed to be as light as possible (which might have inspired the name). There’s an electronic paper screen, just the basics in terms of functionality (a calculator is about as advanced as it gets), and the interface is just lines of text and a few carefully chosen icons. Switching to something like this could seriously reduce your phone usage.
Something similar is offered by the Smartphone, which will cost you $400. It’s a bit more advanced than the Light Phone II – it can take photos, for example, and there’s a basic map app included – but again there’s a monochrome interface that uses mostly text, and almost nothing in terms of applications. You’re not going to spend hours of your life browsing social media on the Wisephone.
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