New Android apps to fight your smartphone addiction

Addiction to the smartphone is a subject that touches me a lot, I have also written a book on the subject, and suddenly I try to remain attentive when I see passing information in relation. This is the case with this recent article from the Lifehacker site, which shares several applications that can help you be less dependent on your phone (if it is running on Android ).

Google’s mobile OS has already been offering an integrated digital wellness app for several months (to find in your settings or to install ). In particular, it allows you to analyze the use you have of your phone: how often you look at it each day, the number of notifications you receive, the time you spend on each app, etc. You can then limit the maximum time there. Allocated to each app, plan time periods during which you will not receive your notifications, etc.

If this is already a first step in the right direction, Android has decided to launch three new applications that go in the same direction.

  1. Activity Bubbles
    The purpose of this app is to visually put you in front of your portable consumption in order to help you become aware of the time actually spent in front of the screen. Concretely it will replace your wallpaper with a series of bubbles on a black background. Each time you unlock the phone, a new bubble appears, and the longer you use your device, the bigger the bubble will be. And that’s all.

I find that the idea is rather simple and impactful, more way to hide your face by saying that you have only consulted the phone ten times a day when you have 185 bubbles in front of you. So yes visually, it’s ugly, big white dots on a black background and zero personalization, but it strengthens the awareness side, I think.

  1. Screen Stopwatch
    This app is quite similar to the previous one in principle, except that here the bubbles are replaced by a counter. Screen Stopwatch simply displays the total time you spent daily on your phone instead of your usual wallpaper.

Screen Stopwatch app
Unlike Activity Bubbles, you will not be able to see the number of times you have consulted your smartphone. However, you will immediately see how many hours you have spent cumulatively. For some, it will mark the spirit more; for others, it will be the opposite. Everyone has to take the app that speaks to them the most; the idea is to have a little electric shock.

  1. Envelope
    So, for now, the latter is only in the testing phase on Pixel 3a models and nothing else, so for most of us, we will have to wait a bit before being able to use it. That said, it’s probably the most effective and original of the 3.

Simply because it asks you to print a PDF file on a real sheet of paper, then folds it according to the instructions (origami way). The idea is to lock your laptop in this envelope. Since you will no longer see the smartphone screen directly and the touchscreen always works through the paper, your device will be limited to the buttons printed on the envelope: answer or make a call, take photos, film, or view time. To better understand, here is a video:

Personally, I do not abuse too much at the time spent on my phone (even if I still sometimes slip I crop quickly), but if it was the case, I think the last option would be to try. Just seeing the “wrapped” phone would remind me that I have to be careful. What would you be?