This Mindfulness App Wants to Break You of Your Smartphone Addiction

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Most of us could use time away from our smartphones. Push notifications, bright colors, and other smartphone features are designed to keep us glued to our phones, and for the most part, they're working. Smartphone addiction is considered a growing threat to public health, and even Apple investors are concerned about it. Yet the answer to smartphone overuse, ironically, could come in the form of an app, according to WIRED.

Flipd is a smartphone app that aims to reduce the amount of time you spend looking at your phone, improving focus and helping you break your compulsive habit.

There are two different ways to use it. The "Light Lock" function is essentially a timer, much like you would use if you were employing the Pomodoro technique or another productivity strategy. It lets you set a period of time to put away your phone, and counts down the minutes until you can use it again. It's easy to navigate away from the screen and go back to texting or checking Instagram if you want to, but the Flipd timer will act as a subtle reminder to log off. If you try to exit out of the timer early, Flipd will shame you a bit, asking you if you're ready to give up yet. (You'll have to click a button that says "Yup, I'm weak.")

If shame alone won't keep you away from your Facebook comments, you can also use the "Full Lock" mode, which acts as a hard stop against your phone use. It allows you to hide all of your downloaded apps until the timer is done, making sure that you definitely can't renege on your smartphone-hiatus goals. However, you can still text and make phone calls, so it doesn't turn your phone into a brick.

The app tracks how much time throughout the day you spend consciously staying away from your phone, so you can see how many lock sessions you've initiated, how many minutes you've succeeded in locking yourself out for, and how many days in a row you've used the timer. Ideally, according to the Flipd team, you should be aiming to stay off your phone for three hours a day.

Even if you don't identify as one of the smartphone-addicted, you could probably use a break from your screen. Spending too much time on your phone is associated with not just garden-variety distraction, but depression, anxiety, neck pain, and a whole host of other issues.

The basic Flipd service, available for Android and iOS, is free. For an additional $6 a month, you can also unlock a few special features like custom timers and schedules.

[h/t WIRED]