Monday, July 22
How to Make Your Phone Less Addicting

How to Make Your Phone Less Addicting

A greyscale photo of an iPhone 14 against a grey background

Image: Kaspars Grinvalds (Shutterstock)

Switching to grayscale mode is one of the most effective ways to reduce your screen time. It’s easy to enable on your smartphone, and when all the bright colors are gone, you’ll notice that it’s much easier to put your phone away. I’ve found this hack to be very effective, but I’ve always ended up disabling grayscale mode within a week. This time though, I discovered a clever but effective way to make it stick—automation.

A post by Mastodon user @Theclassicbee shows that you can automatically enable and disable grayscale mode on your iPhone. The trick is to use it in short bursts, and for specific purposes only. Since I find it hard to put the phone away before bedtime, I set up a routine where my iPhone enables grayscale mode two hours before bedtime and disables it in the morning.

If you want to try the same thing, open Shortcuts on your iPhone and select the Shortcuts tab. Tap the + button in the top-right corner, select Add Action, and search for Set Color Filters. You’ll see the action described as Turn color filters on. Tap Turn and change it to Toggle, and tap Done. This will create a shortcut called Set Color Filters.

Next, tap the Automation tab, and hit the + button to create a new routine. Select Time of Day, pick a time in the morning, and pick how often you want to repeat this automation. You should pick Run Immediately and then tap Next. Now, use the search bar to locate the Set Color Filters shortcut you created and select it. This will create one automation that runs in the morning.

Repeat the steps in the paragraph above with one small change—set a time close to your bedtime. This will create a second automation that runs at night. Now, every night, your iPhone will automatically toggle color filters to grayscale and in the morning, it’ll switch it back to normal colors. This shortcut works by switching on grayscale mode if it’s off, and vice-versa, saving you the effort of creating two separate shortcuts to enable and disable grayscale mode.

You can also link this shortcut to a particular Focus, your location, or any other triggers so that it automatically starts and stops exactly when you need it to.

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