What's worked for me (and the article talks about this too) is viewing my phone as a tool with a limited set of functionality. For me, that functionality is: calls, texts, Google maps, Spotify, Audible, podcasts, Uber, and a camera.
That's it, no email (technically have the ability to send an email if i need to, but no notifications and no checking) and no random internet browsing and twitter etc consumption. There are some blocking apps that might help with this, but the biggest thing is the attitude. Twitter in line at the grocery store is no longer what my phone is for. Not that reading tabloid headlines is any better, but the main point is stretching out your focus muscles, getting rid of the urge to immediately grab your phone anytime there's a lull or hint of boredom in your life.
Overall, it's nice. Almost like being back in the 90's pre smart phone but also with a super powerful computer that can play any song you want/give you directions to anywhere you need to go.
Eventually - long after he stopped smoking - he threw the pack out, as part of his usual housekeeping.
I thought of this when I decided to quit social medias over the past two years. I bring it up now because it's something I think about in regard to how centrally important mindset is when trying to break a habit, or work on something of deeper value.
I wonder now too about the asymmetry in the ease of adoption vs. difficulty of opting out with smart phones and social media. Anecdotally, it just seems that you can nearly unconsciously start using a smartphone or say, sign up for instagram. But after a relatively quick onboarding, the effort required to opt out of these things feels akin to doing actual, hard work.
I kept a pint of ice cream in the freezer and a bag of chips in the cupboard. The reasoning for me was: I'll never impulse buy snacks while at the store, because I already have it at home.
And if I haven't eaten out of my pint of ice cream, then I haven't eaten any ice cream.
It's like knowing you have these traps to avoid, but if you just keep one very close, that's the only one you need to consider, and then all the other ones disappear. It's definitely a focus thing for me, don't know if it was the same for your dad.
Love that roundup of this technique. Coincidentally enough my dad also used this same aid to quit smoking. I saw some slight sense but never enough to unpack it myself.
A term related to this idea is dark pattern.
This is a good overview of the idea.
If you can not use it when it is there, you've really won.
It's always around. I can have a drink whenever I want (and I mean, I have drinks socially, I usually end up playing bartender at parties, that sort of thing). But it is, and always has been, something that happens on my terms.
Those first few weeks are the most difficult part of the process.
I think this is another key takeaway. We're so scared of being bored that we instantly reach for our phone as a means to fill this seemingly unwanted void. As if boredom has this negative connotation attached to it.
But our lives should contain some unpleasantness, I think. Some difficulty.
(but well, I love the web, so I'm not completely out of the world :) )
Like other types of addiction, some of us may be weak to those generated by the smartphone era (associated with a certain socio-cultural mindset based on fame, social validation/gratification).
Like the parent poster, I'm an old fart. But my daughter, in her early twenties, have much the same pattern, and most definitely no addiction to either phone or social media. For what it's worth, she's had pc and phone for about as long as she can remember. With internet and no control, but a lot of guidance.
Of course I completely except that this means sometimes I miss out on something or that I can’t be the one to re-negotiate plans last minute, but overall it’s a good trade off. My close friends also know to just add a “need answer today” or “..now”. And also that I will still respond to messages that are truly of a critical time sensitive nature “car broke down! Can you pick me up?”
I do really wish most connunications apps cane with more status options (unavailable, busy, do not disturb, response may be delayed, etc) or customizable auto responses.
I always cave & go back; maybe I'm on the road and I need to look up information so I turn Chrome back on. Maybe texting with the flip phone is just getting too painful. But I feel like it makes me more aware of what I'm doing.
it's not easy changing your mindset, that's why hacks are here.
- I only removed social media
- and turned off every notification, leaving badges for company email.
This made already a huge difference. Some of the points are also not relevant for me (never had games or so...)
Another thing I do to limit my phone's dopamine rush is to delete all of the social media apps from my phone and only access them via a browser. mbasic.facebook.com is significantly less addictive that the app, while still being useful. Sometimes when I really need a break, I'll create a block list in the "Restrictions" settings on my iPhone and block Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and HN completely. I wish that there was a way for someone else to be able to remotely manage those restrictions for me, so I could uninstall all of the time-suck apps from my phone and only re-install them by getting permission from a friend who could help me honor my intentions.
This is the real problem, not the phone or its apps. You need to eliminate FOMO from your life. You'll be much happier for it.
I don't have a recommendation on how to do that. For me I came to the realization and acceptance that there is always more. More work, more knowledge, more news, more parties, more potential friends, more opportunities, etc. It never ends and it's impossible to know or participate in it all.
If you find yourself having anxiety from that thought you might want to see a psychologist.
If you've got the kind of social life and communication you need, great. And I agree that many people who are in an accidental too-much-FOMO situation probably didn't need all the extra tweets and whatnot flung their way and it's mostly junk. In that case, just turning most of it off is a reasonable idea.
But if you're in a position where the communities you need to be making more of an effort with use fast-moving, presenceless platforms for most of their socialization (Telegram, Twitter, etc.—maybe even, say, Slack?), good luck snagging those limited opportunities to learn which people to get to know better or get a word in on something important without constantly checking everything. (This might be a good argument to not do that for your next community!)
The idea of more closely regulating the feeling so that it's not overdriven and occupying your whole mindset is still relevant, but it takes on quite a different form if you can't actually afford to check out of the fast side; you have to do a trickier balancing act.
“Hey, I like what we're doing, we should set up a group for it to make it easier to keep up with events and stuff.”
“Telegram? That's what everyone else seems to use.” “Yeah, I've already got that on my phone.” “Me too.” “Yup! And I've got this great sticker pack I want to show you…” “Hey, can you show me how to install it?” “Sure, it's easy, just…”
“Awesome, I'll set it up.” (tap, tap, tap)
(Substitute Facebook, or Discord, or whatever else.)
Gradually people just kinda forget to post things anywhere else, because it's convenient and lets them post from their phone and they get all the encouraging responses they wanted there, and so it gradually becomes common knowledge that that's the place. The choice of platform isn't in their community identity, so the default is whatever people gravitate to that doesn't require doing something unusual.
If you don't integrate psychologically with the popular platforms, you're not really choosing to not be part of a specific community, because that's what “popular” means: you're choosing that the set of communities you can explore in the first place is whittled way down, and your membership in any you do find is now precarious. “Pick a community that doesn't do that” not only raises the difficulty at the beginning, but it also doesn't save you later.
It seems to me that message notifications, at least, do keep me from checking my phone.
If that's not the case, are you really sure that you need to be doing any of that? Especially "get a word in on something important" is awfully similar to https://www.xkcd.com/386/ .
Dedicating a time slot in the usual sense is very socially costly if they've gravitated to a presenceless, fast-moving platform, because psychological consensus and topic closure operates more on the perceived speed of communication of the group. If 90% of the other people respond within an hour, and you get there eight hours later, the conversation's moved on, so if everyone else is in the habit of checking their phone every fifteen minutes, there's pressure for you to be too. So, yes, you can “dedicate a time slot” at the end of every pomodoro, if that's what you meant.
This is more true in “channel”-based environments where “new in thread” is inconvenient or unavailable. If you're not careful, you can even be disruptive. Even on slow-moving, old-style Web forums, “necroposting” is considered rude; a chat-like medium with little to no threading support can just lower the threshold for it from weeks to hours if there's enough activity.
For the other part, I'll grant that “get a word in on something important” was badly worded, though I can't think of a better phrase this instant. I was imagining things like “we've changed the meetup location because someone raised a problem, is this okay with everyone or does someone need a ride” or “I'd like comments on which direction I should go with the next part of this piece” or “I'm going to see if some of us can do X together tomorrow, I want three more people, who's with me”. All of these can easily render your participation irrelevant if you show up too late, and “too late” is by default defined by what's usual and convenient, not by abstract considerations of what's good for people's habit formation.
If they're doing it only because they kind of fell into it as baseline socialization shifted, they need to step back and reconsider things because it's not healthy.
Needless to say, I cut my losses with that community.
Now that I don't wear my android watch daily, I find myself with my phone on my desk or table more. The fear of missing important notifications makes me more obsessed with all notifications.
Not only will you not be dealing with their stalking draining your battery, but you'll get rid of the FOMO thing. Visit the site every couple of days for the events or whatever other excuse keeps you on there. You'll figure out that you're missing nothing, although Facebook in particular will get increasingly desperate and try to hook you in via bullshit emails, etc.
Once you get bad/abusive actors away from you, you'll find that your phone has robust notification and other mechanisms to help you get productive notifications.
I consider this (I have it too) to be almost full fledged clinical addiction. It toys with your mind and distort your life in unhealthy ways.
Others have mentioned this is a separate issue from the smartphone (although smartphones to make it easier for us to enable FOMO).
In my experience (most, if not all) FOMO disappeared in my early thirties and once I gained a more settled life. And while I do still check HN, twitter-lists daily (usually more than once a day when commuting, or having a break) I have noticed how on a busy day (or a weekend day), I completely forget about that.
Maybe age, and changes in lifestyle have been most responsible for this, but I also find that I'm less impressed by new stuff now than I used to be, so I'm much less likely to feel that I'm missing something out.
Without these notifications I stay more focused and get less stressed.
If I hadn't deleted my profile, I'm pretty convinced they'd be calling me on the phone or showing up at my house with printed-out notifications by now.
The social networks understand this. I've read that they have algorithms that will batch and spread out your dopamine hits for maximum re-enforcement effect.
My wife wonders why I scan all my groceries at the store and then enter my loyalty card instead of doing it up-front as the system asks for. It's because if I see the price read $130 and then I enter the card and it drops to $110, it feels like I came out ahead. Even though it's going to be the same number.
If you object to that particular implementation, the point is there's a usage API in case you'd like to write your own app.
"Whenever you want to focus, plant a tree.
The tree will grow in the following time.
The tree will be killed if you leave this app."
So probably, yeah. I assume there is some point at which the tree won't be killed since it goes on to talk about keeping a forest of trees representing stretches of time not using your phone to do anything other than run this app - hitting up its app store page describes it as a pomodoro timer, so about 25min gets you a tree.
My inner paranoid says "wow, what a great way to get people to help you mine cryptocurrency" but I will choose to assume that they're happy with the money they're making by selling it for two bucks, plus the occasional "sunshine elixir" IAP.
One of the things I struggle with is the endless novelty of a newsfeed. I can always scroll and get more. And then I can reload for another chance at finding something interesting.
There are extensions that do this for Facebook alone, but I was thinking something more general. And something that's also clever about eliminating the way companies use notifications to for similar novelty-injection, rather than true notifications.
I suspect I also need a "please temporarily show me the newsfeed" mode, possibly on some sort of time restriction, with mandatory delay, or requiring some boring work, so as to raise it from "compulsive response" to "considered choice", but still keeps people from removing the extension on the occasions they really need to see the feeds.
Would you use it? And what services would be required?
I like the delay idea. A minute delay to reflect upon your actions, or yourself or something.
Of course one can simply disable the extension. I guess you'll need testing to see what kind of delay makes the target audience not jump to disable the extension. If you're serious about this, I can send you my mail address and see if I can help with parsing feedback or something!
Snapchat, twitter, text message, facebook message.
All while I'm trying to figure out why my middle-wear isnt working. I catch myself shitposting on instagram instead of running my app.
It's important though to tightly control the notifications such that you get them only for things you actually care about. E.g., unsubscribe from any & all mailing lists you don't care about.
One other thing I do is have physically separate devices for work versus entertainment. A spare phone is my Twitter/Facebook phone. I have a separate laptop for watching videos, playing games, social media, and HN. (I also have a tablet for long-form reading: Kindle, Instapaper, The Economist etc.) It helps establish that there are separate modes, which limits FOMO for me.
I think its exactly what we thought of, dumbing down the smartphone to the bare essentials without missing out too much. we don't have it perfectly communicated (working on it), but we're trying to find the middle between a "smartphone" and full blown detox.
We got inspired from some of our friends who went "dark" and didn't work out; we were as product designers sick of snapchat, gaming and the addicting viscous cycle however we still wanted to be in touch with some news, use uber and be sometimes reachable on whatsapp, messenger or telegram. We re-designed notifications to make it less distracting easy to turn off per app and most important functionalities reachable. Mainly theres no lock, you can lock some apps, but its ready to use (I was about to throw my iphone everytime it showed me 4 popups before i can use it).
check it out let me know if it would make sense if we create the possibility for people (or you) to extend it and build their own integrations / functionalities.
The home screen design is so obvious it hurts -- flip phone UX for a smartphone. "Open and dial".
What's the story with the display? Do you have an actual proof of concept where you have a black and white mode that largely decreases battery life? Is there anything special about it, or does it just play into how OLED displays are locally lit?
Edit: Even allowing jquery, it still shows blank complaining about stripe. Your page should not be so completely reliant on stripe.
Why Uber and not Lyft? Why Google Maps and not CityMapper? Why spotify and not google play music? Why FB messenger and Whatsapp, why not just one or the other (or neither!).
Are the apps actually locked down, or are there just examples? If I end up using a different map tool can I install that one from the play store and use that instead of google maps for example?
Will your phone be available for purchase/use in the US?
Are the actual apps it runs just Android apps with their default interfaces, or is each one something you've custom-built internally, or what?
website is totally disjointed at non-standard resolutions, making it very difficult to read.
(i'm using 1200x1920, portrait)
Since then, I've felt like parts of my brain are growing back. While I'd cut down significantly on smartphone usage over the prior year, I'd started to realize that the mere act of exercising "don't use it" discipline was in itself distracting. That's all gone now. My flip phone is not fun. It's boring. In fact, it's immensely frustrating when I do need to carry on a texting conversation. And that's perfectly alright.
When I need to get someplace new, there's no Maps to save the day. Instead I look at the route beforehand and write (by hand, with a pen) a few notes on a Post-It. In the process, I've learned more about parts of two cities than I had in a year or more of mindless reliance on Maps.
The biggest thing I miss and haven't found a satisfying workaround for is the camera. Flip phones seem to be stuck in about 2001, camera-wise. Even under the best of conditions, the results are barely passable. It's my patient hope that if enough people reject smartphones, there may one day be higher end functionality available in a flip.
When I've headed out somewhere new with friends and ended up in a strange place at 1am, Google Maps public transit directions are my lifeline. If I drove I could just head in the rough direction or use a streetmap, though transit maps aren't usually complete with all routes and times. There is nothing worse than standing at a bus stop for an hour hoping a bus will come, and that bus will take you home. Train stations are alright if the trains are still running, but usually I need to rely on a late night, barely functioning bus network.
I would love an e-paper/ink phone that did maps, texts, calls, photos and nothing else.
I've already taken some of the steps outlined in this article to normalize my smartphone use. I might be biased because I have fought other difficult addictions like smoking, but smartphone addiction does not seem especially difficult to manage to me. The crucial step is realizing it's existence because it's so ubiquitous it seems normal and benign.
Also, I worked on an epaper feature phone startup. But as a company we never got it to take off. I open sourced it to an extent but havent worked on it as much as I would have hoped.
Why did you get a new phone though? If it's not a smartphone can you only do phone calls and SMS on it? Do many people use phone calls or SMS any more? You may as well just not carry anything.
You can also email via SMS if you so desire, both sending and receiving works, although finding out your SMS email address usually involves sending yourself an email from the phone first.
- installed uBlock Origin (also First Party Isolation and HTTPS Everywhere),
- and added .css| rule to uBlock Origin (I would still like to disable CSS entirely, this only half works).
Basically I would like to have "links2 -g"  for Android. There is also an extension for Firefox to automatically enable reader mode . It waits for additional WebExtensions API. I want to omit CSS, because of:
- too small or too big font size,
- no proper text wrapping,
- wrong contrast, too big margins,
- position:fixed bars that are so trendy right now.
Basically I want to bail out of modern web. However I would probably use modern web apps on proper browser when I want an app, but just not when I want to read some information.
I know that there are sites with good content that will be broken because of it. But it will be only a minor collateral damage.
I know about Million Short, but it does not cut it.
Such a pair of a browser and a search engine is, or rather will be, my answer.
Also it's sad a smartphone with it's array of sensors is not a proper tricorder...
Links may be in Termux, but it's not the graphical one. But I will check it out.
It's webkit, not firefox-based, but works great with tiling windowmanagers.
I would just like to have the target experience (and lightness) out of the box, but on all platforms.
trickle -s -t 1 -d 16 -u 8 netsurf-gtk
You'll enjoy the delays.
* I had to print out directions to get to new places, which had me learn my way around.
* People were much less flaky since they couldn't text me at the last minute to cancel our plans.
* I no longer had a crutch in difficult social situations, which helped me actually get to know strangers and form new relationships.
I might still use it as a GPS when traveling, but I otherwise can't see why it's necessary for people/machines to be able to steal your attention at a moment's notice.
Of course, this isn't do-able for a lot of people, as their work/life depends on it. And it's possible to reap the above benefits without going fully phone-less. But for those interested, it's not as bad as it seems to drop the phone altogether.
Scenario 1: housewarming party 3 weeks away. My phoneless friend doesn't get the Facebook invite used to corrall the other 30 people coming. She also doesn't get the group FB message (nobody uses group SMS anymore in my friend group). A fluke of busyness means I don't see her for those 3 weeks and she thus misses the party.
Scenario 2: my roommate and I just got home from work, and decide to go out. We text phoneless friend and other friend. Other friend shows up. Three hours later we close our tabs, and get a text from phoneless friend. "I just saw this!! Are you guys still out??"
It's a core value of mine that people should be allowed to live however the hell they very well please as long as it doesn't hurt others, but I genuinely feel like without a minimum level of connectedness (at the very least relatively easy access via SMS), they're kinda hurting themselves. As close as a friend as they may be, if the barrier to entry to hanging out with them is providing them step by step directions to the bar we're at as well as making sure all plans are 48 hours ahead and by the way I have to trade voicemails to even inform them... Eeeh...
Standard replies to this kind of post:
>If lack of connectedness is an obstacle to people hanging out with you, they weren't worth your time / that good of friends anyway.
I counter with the idea mass culture movements require participation to, well, participate. My bestest friend ever doesn't have to participate to remain in that state, sure, but I guess if all you want in life is a tiny circle of three of your besties then power to you.
> People were more genuine and less flaky before cellphones
I lived before and after cellphones and in my experience, people were just as flaky back then, it just didn't seem that way because we were all hanging out less. Either way, cut flaky people out o your life homey. It's not as big of a deal to flake out of impromptu Wednesday trivia night at a random bar, only possible at the drop of the hat as my friends like to do, with cellphones. It also allows us to avoid the "fuck I don't wanna be here, normally I do but today was exhausting" aspect of cyclical plans (say regular DND night) because we can all communicate those feelings early and quickly make new plans with the smaller group.
I'll never force anyone to get a phone, smartphone, use texts, or whatever, but for the people who are that disconnected, well, they add a friction to social interaction that ends up excluding them.
At the end of the day they're outside my own set of social norms, which now, in 2018, include "must be relatively easy to connect with".
Times have changed.
One nice thing about that is there's no one older than us already using Facebook. Everything that needs to be organized is done through email, which is boring to some, but at least everyone has it.
At the start of the school year I got a few friends to switch over to Telegram (for group chats). I would have prefered something end to end encrypted and decentralized, but at least it's not Facebook Messenger. Some people do use Instagram (Facebook-for-Pictures) and Snapchat, but it's not anywhere near universal.
So I'm set on my phone with only my self hosted email and Telegram. Not sure how I'm going to deal with things after school, but hopefully people switch off Facebook by then.
I wouldn't miss out on scenario 2, because my phone notifies me of texts and calls (and nothing else).
I dislike the 1st scenario just off the basis of giving FB so much credit, friends should reach out via traditional methods that most of us have like SMS. Then you're not benefiting Facebook Corp so much by designing your life around it. Just distasteful, in my view. It also allows people to communicate & live a modern life with just a basic phone, which should be more than enough.
I didn't drop off the map with my friends, and I made a few friends that I otherwise never would have met. I still had a PC, so it's not like I couldn't be contacted. Most people that I hang out with use Discord/Telegram, anyways. If your friends all use SMS/MMS/FB to communicate, then you probably can't do it.
I think the key is to make it clear that you -do- want to be invited to things. People will let you know. It's also a plus to be a fun person to hang out with, and don't talk about how great it is to not have a phone.
Lite Phone 2: Campaign
We believe the launcher approach is the most effective way to solve the problem b/c it actually gets at the root cause, which is that the smartphone interface has no protections against the persuasive techniques of addictive apps. So we made a new interface that is less distracting and more intentional.
We just launched in the Play Store and would love your thoughts and feedback!
The app is currently free while in beta. We are in the process of building the UI for a Pay What You Can subscription model, which we feel aligns well with the movement away from an attention economy towards a user value economy, makes it more accessible, etc.
Edit: I say should; I should clarify that I think the pricepoint is waaay to hipster for me.
So I would add the following tip: disable the fingerprint sensor if you have one (also face recognition, etc), and replace it with an inconveniently long password. This way you really need to think about whether it's worth the time to open your phone.
For Twitter (which I think is more 'addictive' due to the greater pool of talent about compared to hivemind posts), I need to open up my password manager and it's quite a process to log in again compared to a saved browser password (especially with two factor authentication) - quite often that hurdle is enough to have me reconsider idling away.
By the way, did you know the Twitter app requires about 5 taps or strokes before you can log out? They really try to hide that one from users.
 But last April Fools' "joke" was really testing my nerves and I'm still not settled on this.
Another I'd add that really makes the phone boring is putting it in grayscale mode. On iOS: Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters > Grayscale. Then you can set the Accessibility Shortcut to Color Filters, and when you triple click the home button your phone goes grayscale.
I don't have it on 24/7, but do enable it any time I feel myself getting sucked in too frequently.
Does anyone know how to do this? I have tried to do something with Tasker but couldn't figure it out.
You'll need some way to set "secure" settings – if you're not rooted, the easiest way is via a Tasker plugin called AutoTools. Once you've set that up, create a task with an action of "AutoTools Secure Settings", then configure it as follows (under "Custom Setting" in the AutoTools menu):
- setting type: secure
- name: accessibility_display_daltonizer_enabled
- input type: toggle
- value: 3
If it doesn't work, diff the output of `adb shell settings list secure` from a PC with greyscale mode enabled and disabled, and use whatever name you get there.
Unfortunately I can't find it anymore. I've been trying hard.
I too would love to live on a black and white phone with certain exceptions (in my case mainly camera and maps).
If anyone knows/remembers this app, you'd make my day :)
I haven't had any social media on my phone except for aggregate websites and forums, but often I'm pointed from there to more substantial reading. I am still guilty of mindlessly thumbing through comments sometimes, though.
I have a few games and other things on there, but I haven't had a problem with getting hooked.
After all, it's not like my brain just stops. Particularly when I play Threes, only a portion of my mental energy is devoted to playing the game, while the rest considers deeper musings. I consider it akin to music in that it 'patterns' my mental energy, reducing the total amount of chaos my mind has to deal with all by itself.
It's a shortcut to a meditative calm. Without the shortcuts I ultimately get less meditative focus and not more, like how you're more likely to exercise if you keep a pair of dumbbells handy.
If you're so mentally disorganized that phone apps destroy your peaceful calm rather than give you ways to create more of it, I'd suggest a daily 30 minute walk. It's my go-to solution for centering.
This is an incredibly arrogant and uncharitable statement.
You'd be well served to make less assumptions about other people.
I think in words, and so anything with words heavily blocks background thinking. You may have a type of brain that is particularly compatible with doing secondary phone activities.
(By contrast, I can think while tidying, cooking, etc. They're all non-verbal)
I spent 4 days on a tiny island (population 11) a few years ago. I was there with one friend and we decided that there would be no screens and no watches/clocks for the whole time.
You very quickly adjust to not having it. Easily within a day. We ate when we got up, and then again later on. We went to sleep soon after it got dark. We barely even thought about things that weren't directly around us.
The most surprising thing about the trip was the return. We caught a small covered ferry that had a little TV hooked up. The TV was showing the preparation for some sports event, basially nothing was happening. I was utterly transfixed by it. The movement, the colors, the cuts every few seconds was way more stimulation than I had had over the past 4 days. Smartphones add interactivity and take this even further.
Ahhh, what a fabulous waste of time and resources. So... what was the thread about again?
Not sure why do you need adjusting to eat when you wake up and sleep after dark, and how technology prevents you from doing that in your usual life?
If you have young kids, it's even more pronounced, because you end the day physically and emotionally drained, and you feel like you need that time to "unwind" before going to bed yourself.
This isn't to say it can't be changed by willpower alone, but I can see how an unplugged vacation would help kickstart the process.
When I was on the island I felt like I was much more in tune with my internal needs. I was trying to paint a picture of the experience with my comment, rather than give a prescriptive handbook of what to do.
In those extremely rare cases where I turn on color—when it's needed because a UI is color-based—I find the colors absolutely garish and want to turn them off immediately.
It's like eliminating refined sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet and then eating a cupcake. It's too intense, and therefore offputting.
Just take some time on the reg to disconnect.
I'm a life-long atheist, but in the last few years I've really come to understand why Sabbaths and Lent are things that have been sustained over millennia. There's a lot of introspective value in giving things up.
* 25 days on standby, 8.5 hours LTE voice calls
* removable battery
* WiFi hotspot functionality
* 4G network connectivity
* KaiOS will have basic apps (Google maps, FB, Google assistant and reportetly WhatsApp in near future)
As a basic phone with features, it still seems exciting (priced at $99USD I think) but after LineageOS, this feels like a step back in terms of openness and control.
 https://www.kaiostech.com/faq/#question-6 - to me, this means outdated apps or ones that will eventually die (such as the YouTube app on Sony DVD players a couple of years ago.)
Same for root capability; either WiFi hotspot works with your carrier out of the box, or you don't buy the phone. If you have to fight your carrier on that, hacking every device you use on the network is not a solution anyway.
And a closed-source OS doesn't mean it's not hackable. Back in the day, you could mess a lot with Symbian.
I confess as a news junkie I enjoy twitter, youtube, podcasts and reddit etc on my iPod but as it is wifi-only of course there are built in constraints in its use. I also have taken to going out without iPod or phone after work hours... very liberating and almost revolutionary! Nice to have an untracked-feeling if nothing else.
So? You can get a voice-only plan for the dumbphone and a data-only plan for the AP.
> and you always have the phone with you
Given the AP is useless on its own, you can just leave it in your laptop/tablet bag (whichever you're using).
Instead of mindless tapping buttons, now I have to think about every action I take. It makes using my phone tiring, so I don't use it very often.
I originally did this with my wife to save money: 2 AT&T grandfathered unlimited data plans for $160 down to $15 for 2 phones on an MVNO talk+text family plan (both plans had limited minutes, but the MVNO is cheaper for add'l minutes).
We use wifi at home and at work, though since I have computers there, I don't find myself connecting on the phone that much. Also, neither of us use facebook through the app or the browser on the phone. We just use home computers or an ipad for that. That feels much safer for being physically tracked and advertised to.
So our phones have our calendar and reminders, notes, and photos, and voice and text of course (just not imessage unless on wifi). It really makes them boring and functional, and not a distraction.
The ONLY thing that we miss that is critical is maps when traveling. My wife once switched to a $40 data plan for a month, I tried to check maps with the hotel wifi so they are cached on the phone. But now we found a Garmin GPS at a yard sale for $20 and use that.
My wife and I pay $20 for the first unlimited talk/text line and $15 for the second (all of them after the first line cost $15), plus 10 dollars for each gigabyte of data used.
It's rare for us to use more than 2 gigs of data in a month so our bill is usually between $45 and $55 dollars.
If you are so inclined, phone protection plans cost $5 dollars a month and have reasonable replacement prices ($79 to replace my Pixel 2 that I paid $650 for). They also offer interest free financing over 24 months on all of their phones.
As long as you don't mind the small selection of phones (at the moment the only phones they sell are the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, and Moto X4 I think), it's a very good deal.
Even the mere act of inputting an address can be so painful on these GPS models that are so slow, especially because most don't have touch-capacitive screens but rather pressure sensitive ones. Leaning forward to reach it across the dash, it usually registers about 70% of my "key presses".
On android the reminders are super annoying: Your offline maps will expire in x days, please update! You can disable it, but it took me a while. Totally useless. Just update them when it's time and STFU.
I generally don't use facebook or pretty much any other social media sites (hacker news is probably the most social I get) and whenever I need to I just do it from home, I like my time.
In particular, I wouldn't want to go without Google maps, Spotify, Uber, and Google Authenticator. Aside from that I don't have many apps installed on my phone.
Picking some offenders from their list..
* You keep using your phone after it’s no longer needed to solve a problem. (Because nobody uses smartphones for fun?)
* You feel strange when you don’t have your phone. (I also feel strange when I don't have my watch, lighter, and multitool on me. This applies to all every day carry items.)
* You’ve begun having trouble doing normal daily things without your phone. (Normal daily things include responding to alerts, taking phone calls, and sending messages. I could not do my job without a smartphone, let alone a great deal of plain old human socializing. Further, IMs and SMSes are more respectful of my friends' time than phone calls which demand everybody drops what they're doing)
* You borrow money to pay for your phone. (Given the industry move to carrier financing rather than contract lock-in, I think most people now borrow money to pay for their phone)
* You drive or do other dangerous things (like use heavy machines) while you are on your phone. (People yammering on their phones in traffic has a lot more to do with a poor understanding of attention than it does this increasingly tenuous drug analogy. Besides, phone use while driving was a safety issue long before smartphones proliferated.)
* You hide some phone use or the effect it is having on you from others. (Only when the specter of Ludditism creeps through and I'd rather not be moralized to about my use of technology.)
Let's not even talk about the bare equation of all games to addiction (seriously?).
If you feel you're addicted to your smartphone, by all means, do whatever works for you, but if you intend on presenting that to the world, please keep the crappy logic to a minimum.
One thing I would add to this, is either disable, or put in the same folder as the other distracting apps, the web browser. You really need it for a surprisingly little things on your phone, and I found it as an alternate route to my time wasting websites.
Simple, sms-based "apps" you can use to smarten up your dumbphone.
edit: grammar, reframe
I did just this to my Facebook feed. It may seem silly, but I signed up for a bunch of non-interesting Facebook groups which pollute my feed with noise. After a couple weeks, I deleted the app from my phone and resorted to using the website through my mobile browser when needed. So far I usually check about once every day or two, mostly just to see if I have any notifications. I find the feed so uninteresting that I rarely just browse it anymore. Before, I would spend a 15 minute here and there, adding up to probably 2 or more hours per day. One thing I noticed is how less often I find myself getting upset at stupid things. Before, I was reading local news stories that were being passed around, and finding myself upset at some of the comments. For what? I wasn't even really interested in the subject of the story anyway!
There are obviously times when I would benefit from Google Maps or being able to listen to music on my phone though. Not having a camera in my pocket all the time has been the only thing i've truly missed though. Being able to take a photo of something and maybe instantly send it to someone is useful. "Hey can you pick me up some X"... "Sure i'm in the shop now, are these the right ones?" That kind of interaction is just useful.
I fell like now I've well and truly broken my smartphone addiction that it might be safe for me to reintroduce a smart phone into my life. I feel as though I would now have sufficient will power not to just install Facebook one night and start mindlessly scrolling again. I don't believe I could have achieved that without transitioning first to a completely dumb phone. I imagine that's true of a lot of other people
Now I'm using Nokia 106. It lasts 2 weeks on one charge (1 week if I'm listening to radio/podcasts a lot), it's much smaller than iphone, never gets hot, and I'm not afraid to drop it. I dropped it several times, and even washed it once by mistake in my jeans. It works still, I just had to dry it and buy a new battery.
It's much more convenient to use as a phone than a smartphone, and when I'm going somewhere for longer than 10 minutes usually I take a backpack and a tablet, so I can use browser and I have gps anyway (and much more convenient than on a smartphone), but there's this small hurdle of taking it out so I don't waste as much time on it as I would otherwise.
I think this combo (dumbphone+tablet) beats a smartphone on almost every front.
I use GPS all the time for public transport, I doubt a standalone GPS does that. What about photos, tablets can have decent cameras but phones are usually 2-3 generations ahead.
I used to have a Jawbone bracelet that did that by slowly increasing vibration. It was even better. But the setup I have today with my phone under the pillow works.
I uninstalled Twitter and Facebook from my phone, and replaced them on my home screen with Safari bookmarks that looked like those apps (using favicons).
Any time I would try to open those apps, it would deliver a "mild shock" in the form of a big red shame warning telling me how many times I've recently failed to stop using the apps.
I kicked the habit in about a week.
The fake Twitter app still sits on my home screen, but I only ever tap it by accident. As soon as I come up with something to put in its place, it'll be gone too.
Feel free to use it if you find it useful, it's pretty ugly but it worked for me. If it works for you, consider making it prettier: https://github.com/imjasonh/quit.social
The irony is, of course, that HN is social media. Personally, I clock more time here than on FB and IG taken together.
- No social media, at all. News only for entertainment, and news sources (fed through Feedly) have to be new sources, not politics-masquerading-as-news. Things happening, not things people are saying.
- No notifications enabled other than texts and calls.
- Do not disturb set for 10PM-6AM, allowing favorites to call through (wife & family).
- Single page homescreen to keep it clean, tidy & organized.
Mine is used for utility, and like most things in modern society, there's enough power if you aren't very intelligent to get controlled by the technology. You have to be capable of seeing through the tech, and not become its slave. Eternal vigilance is the cost of freedom I suppose.
I rarely look at my phone, I do have games, but they are opened less than once every 12 months. Looking at what I have installed now, I have Super Mario Run, Breakout & "Faby Bird" (a Flappy Bird remake). I see no need to remove them when I don't find them to be a problem or damaging like social media is.
Why do I have a smartphone then?
ApplePay, remote home & PC controls, GPS maps, online banking, Lyft, Exxon Mobile SpeedPass+, Find My iPhone to know where my family is if they need me, are all invaluable. Those are the things I use a smartphone for.
In a way, I feel this is the future. Human beings are supposed to become one with the machine at some point. People who dislike that or choose to stay away might actually be likely to be outcast and be considered weird. I already see that happening, for example when I tell people I don't have a facebook account. It boils down to, "Do I value personal privacy, or being connected to the world's information flow ecosystem?". And I am not sure that choosing to be private is the obvious right answer at this point. And it might not even be possible in the near future.
Instead I made my smartphone much dumber, and it isn't really distracting now. But, I'm hoping a future watch os will have a better third party app development framework and allow it to be truly phone independent. I bought the watch hoping for phone independence.
So there are more times I can just leave it either on a charger or somewhere in the house and not worry about where it is exactly. Until I get an MMS or a phone call.
It's not a perfect solution, but I find part of the process of being less involved with my phone is acceptance of the fact that I might not be able to be able to address every need at every moment and that's ok.