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Addicted to your phone? Google wants to help

Have you ever questioned how many times you look at your phone in a single day? How long you can go without unlocking your phone or checking notifications? Tap here to learn how to tell exactly how much time you’re on your device, because for some, it’s like asking how many times they blink each day.

The truth is, society has been consumed by their constant usage of phones and other mobile tech devices, almost to the point of obsession. Too much of any one thing is never good, and tech platforms have done nothing to help create a healthy balance between our phones and our physical environment — until now.

We’ll take you through what Google’s digital well-being feature is, how it works and how it can best serve you. We’ll also cover Google’s newest well-being apps and experiments, and how each one is designed to help users balance life and tech.

What is Google’s digital well-being?

First introduced in 2018, Google’s digital well-being feature was channeled through Android devices. The feature was designed to help users manage and control their smart phone usage. Overall, it gives you a birds-eye view of your daily digital habits and allows you to find a healthy balance between screen time and real time.

Recently, Google has released six  new apps designed to promote the platform’s effort to keep users from obsessively looking at their phones throughout the day. Each app is considered to be experimental in nature and is very different from standard screen time controls. Today, we’ll present our top 5 picks.

What does each app do?

1. Unlock Clock

Just as the name suggests, Unlock Clock keeps track of how many times you unlock your phone in a given day.

The key to this kind of tracking lies in your wallpaper. That’s right, the app is able to monitor your usage by adding a live wallpaper to your phone’s home screen. No need to access your settings menu and go searching for the right tab.

2. We Flip

We Flip focuses more on the friends and group aspect of phone usage and turns it into a friendly game of willpower. It sounds a bit odd at first, but once you get into it, users find the app to be a helpful tool to disengage.

If everyone in the group has the app downloaded on their phones, each person can join a session and turn on a switch that will initiate a timer. The timer counts how many minutes the group has gone without anyone unlocking their phones.

3. Morph

This one is an android launcher that will show or conceal different apps according to your location or the time of day. After installing Morph, you can set it to activate in obvious settings like work or home, but you can take it a step further.

You can set the app to be active during holidays, family get-togethers or any other social situations where you want to dial down your screen time and be more present in the moment. It’s the virtual equivalent to putting your phone in the basket during family dinner.

4. Post box

Post box is a re-imaging of how we receive and check our notifications throughout the day. Each time a new notification comes through, we just can’t help unlocking our phones and checking to see what they are. This can become quite distracting after a while and can ultimately lead to a lack of productivity in the workplace.

Instead of constantly throwing push alert notifications at you all day long, this app allows you to choose a specific time(s) of the day when you would like to receive them all at once. Additionally, the app comes with an option for you to see some notifications immediately, in the event you may have missed something important.

5. Desert Island

Desert Island works by helping users focus on only more important and useful apps they need for a certain task or specific day of the week. Whether it involves work or play, you can pick up to seven apps you consider essential to completing a task.

This will trigger a 24-hour challenge to test if you can stick to only those apps and nothing else. You can open other apps, but you’ll be called out for not sticking to your task apps in a summary report at the end of the day.

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