Want to Focus for a Bit? Try These Phone Apps and Settings

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Want to put down your phone for a bit and focus on family or work? These apps and settings can help, whether you’re on Android or iOS!

We’re all guilty of it: the endless scrolling on Instagram or the mindless checking of email. If you want to focus on friends or family for a bit, try tweaking the settings on your phone or downloading an app that can block some of the unnecessary functions.

On Android, newer phones have a setting called Digital Wellbeing. You can find it in the settings or you can try downloading it from Google Play. Right now, support is limited to a handful of the latest handsets like the Pixel and Samsung’s new devices.

Digital Wellbeing lets you set limits for particular apps – say, an hour for Twitter and an hour for Instagram daily – then after that the app will be greyed out.

You can also set up a feature called Wind Down. This will turn your screen greyscale at a certain time each day, like when you’re supposed to be going to bed but you keep looking at Instagram posts. The idea is that because your screen is grayscale, your phone becomes kind of boring and you put it down. It works.

If you can’t get Digital Wellbeing on your Android, try my next favorite app called OFFTIME. This app is pretty straightforward: it disables most functionality on your phone for a set period of time. You can specify which apps and functions you’d still like to work when you’re using OFFTIME. Personally, I set it up so the camera and phone calls still come through. Everything else is blocked. Try this setting for 20 minutes and you’ll be amazed just how refreshing it is.

On iOS, things are a little different. The operating system doesn’t allow third-party apps to control the functionality of your phone, so you’re going to have to use Apple’s built-in tools called Screen Time. You get everything you need, including the ability to set time limits for particular apps and a total break from your device called Down Time.

Down Time can be scheduled to go into effect at a certain time each day – say, at night when it’s time for bed. But, if you want to initiate Down Time on demand, just tweak the setting so the time frame is 24 hours like 7 am to 7 pm. Then, just toggle the Down Time switch when you want to initiate the feature for a bit.

And yes, you can still allow certain apps like FaceTime, Camera and Phone to work even when you’re taking a break from your phone.

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