These days, it sure seems like you can claim “there’s an app for that” about everything. Funnily enough, some apps can help prevent a growing smartphone addiction.
It seems redundant, considering mobile apps are likely the reason you’re hooked to your phone as-is, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true.
If you want to cut down on the total amount of your screen-time or phone use, certain apps can help. Many of them block access to other apps, websites or platforms that would steal your attention.
Offtime works by preventing access to apps, games, or communication channels that might distract you from doing serious work or activities.
Facebook or Twitter causing problems? Well, they won’t anymore because you cannot access them when Offtime is active.
Using it is pretty simple. You can choose one of several different modes dedicated to a particular theme.
For example, there’s a mode for family time and another mode for work. They are designed to filter out certain notifications and prevent the use of specified apps. You can customize each mode too, so it fits your particular needs.
Also, the app provides a detailed breakdown of how often you use your phone and what for, so you can accurately decide what’s distracting and what’s necessary.
Ultimately, Moment is designed to track your phone usage and screen-time to provide detailed insights. Think of it more as a life coach, meant to help you minimize how dependent you are on your mobile device(s).
One of the unique features of Moment is that you can sync up multiple users, to manage your entire family. At first glance, it offers control over younger kids, but it also gives them control too.
For example, if you’re looking at your phone during dinner or a movie when you’re supposed to be spending time with your family, anyone in the group can set a limitation on device usage.
But if you’re running solo that’s fine too, and you can see your most used apps and block access to anything that’s distracting.
Previously called BreakFree, Space was developed from the ground up to help you eliminate a smartphone addiction. Everything in the app is meant to help you strike a balance between life and phone usage.
Like many of the other apps, it relies on a tracking feature that measures how often you use certain apps, websites, and your device.
Space will then provide you with an “addiction score” which gives you a tangible rating that you can work to improve.
It’s especially useful for people that love to set personal goals. You can shoot for a particular score by cutting down on certain activities and events — like how often you unlock your phone.
It becomes this new addiction or focus, where you’re after a lower score.
The first thing that’s different about Flipd and the other apps on this list is it’s incredibly aggressive. It locks your entire phone down for a certain period, and while active you cannot use it, period.
Even trying a workaround like restarting your phone won’t disable the lockdown. There is no way to cheat, which is equal parts important and scary.
Similar to Moment, you can sync up with other users and lock down their device remotely, and vice versa.
It’s great for teams that notice another member procrastinating when they should be working. Of course, it’s definitely something you only want to use with other people you trust.
Forest is this really cool and incredibly unique focus app that presents the challenge in an unprecedented way. Every time you want to focus on a task, event, or life moment you plant a tree within the app.
The tree will grow in real-time, continuing to do so as long as you remain within Forest. As soon as you leave, to do something else on your phone — effectively taking your focus away from whatever you’re doing in life — the tree starts to die.
In addition, to growing your own digital forest, the app tracks your usage stats and helps you avoid poor device choices and addictive apps.
6. Blacklist – Website Blocker
Blacklist has one major function; it blocks distracting websites for a certain period to prevent you from browsing and procrastinating.
Essentially, you create a blacklist of sites that you’d like to avoid, and when the app is enabled, you cannot visit them. All your settings are synced via the cloud for use on several devices, including your iPad.
As the name implies, AppDetox is meant to help you take a break or “detox” from your mobile addiction.
It tracks everything you do and helps you decide what you should be avoiding from time to time. In that way, you set personal rules, and every time you violate them the app will remind you to take a break.
8. Mute – Less Screen Time
In regards to kickstarting a digital detox and decreasing screen-time, Mute is no different than anything else on this list.
It offers several blocking tools and tracks everything you do on your device — allowing you to see how you’re spending your time.
It excels at presenting gamified goals or challenges meant to help you break your habits.
Think of them as personal achievements — similar to what you might see in video games — only tailored to improve your focus and health.
9. Stay on Task
Stay on Task doesn’t track what you’re doing nor does it provide detailed stats, in fact, it’s much simpler. While active, the app will randomly ask you if you’re on task or distracted — so it does use the honor system.
The idea is that it helps you stay focused on what you need to, serving as a reminder when you shouldn’t be using your device.
A random timer ensures you can never predict when the app is going to send a query.
10. QualityTime – My Digital Diet
Not unlike everything else on the list, QualityTime tracks your device usage and provides detailed insights into what apps you’re using.
From this information, you generate user profiles to eliminate distractions. For instance, a profile named “take a break” will allow you to detox and minimize notifications, as well as reject incoming phone calls.
You can also designate auto-replies for text messages to keep your focus away from your phone.
While it certainly seems silly to install yet another app on your device with the sole intention of blocking access to distracting apps, it helps.
If you find yourself constantly distracted by certain websites, games, or mobile apps, then these tools can help you keep your focus on what’s truly important — away from your device.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner.