Put Your Phone in Self-Care Mode with These Digital Detox Apps
These clever tools help you limit screen time and curb your phone addiction.
Between your morning alarm and your nightly social media scroll, screen time seriously adds up throughout the day. According to a 2019 eMarketer study, the average American adult spends almost three hours on their smartphone each day. All that phone time could lead to negative health effects, like anxiety, insomnia, or difficulty concentrating. Once you start tracking usage, you might be surprised by how many hours you actually spend on your phone (and how many other tasks you could accomplish in that amount of time). Just think of how productive your day would be if you used those hours of browsing to clean the kitchen or talk with your loved ones face-to-face. If you're ready for a digital reset, check out these clever tools that can help limit screen time.
Curious to know how your phone usage stacks up to your peers? This free app, available for Android devices, helps you compare mobile device use with others around the world. AntiSocial gives you a score based on minutes spent browsing, number of unlocks, and other data to help you understand how much screen time is "normal." You can also view detailed reports of your daily or weekly phone use with easy-to-understand charts and stats.
See exactly how many minutes you spend on your phone in real-time with the Screen Stopwatch live wallpaper. The stopwatch starts counting every time you unlock your phone, and the numbers continue to add up as long as your device remains open. This free app is available on Android devices.
Located in the Settings app, this feature comes built into iPhones and iPads (and can be synced to your Apple Watch). Screen Time tracks your phone use and sends you a weekly report of your average screen time. You can also set limits on certain apps that you most frequent and schedule "downtime" when only phone calls and certain apps are available for use.
If you're serious about disconnecting from your phone, the Off the Grid app (free for Android devices) can help you raise the stakes. It lets you lock down your device for a designated period of time, and if you choose to access it before the time is up, the app will charge you a fee. The charges start at $1 and adjust depending on how often you disregard the disconnected period. You can schedule the app to switch to an off-the-grid mode at a specific time each day (such as 9 p.m. when you're settling into bed) and set up auto-reply messages to let friends know why you're not responding.
The free Activity Bubbles app (available for Android devices) provides a visual representation of your daily phone use. Each time you open your phone, a bubble forms on your background. The bubbles grow bigger the longer you stay on your phone, and they continue to add up with each new unlock.