Do you actually use any digital wellbeing app to manage your phone use?

Bill Mount

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered the way many of us do work. For those who have shifted to working from home, separating your work and personal life has been a challenge. In addition, lockdowns have seasoned us to spend most of our time in front of a screen, and […]

The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered the way many of us do work. For those who have shifted to working from home, separating your work and personal life has been a challenge. In addition, lockdowns have seasoned us to spend most of our time in front of a screen, and it’s easier than ever to go down a rabbit hole, especially from the comfort of our smartphones. There’s no doubt that our smartphone affinity has been detrimental to productivity and mental health. That’s why companies like Google and Apple have been working — even before the pandemic — on features that help us keep our smartphone use under check. Android’s Digital Wellbeing has received much of Google’s attention, but let’s be honest, do you even use the feature?

Google introduced Digital Wellbeing as a standard feature in 2018, starting with the Pixel devices running Android 9 Pie. Since then, several features in the app have been added to help users set a target screen time and keep their attention away from distracting apps.

Android also lets users separate apps for work and personal use and even set a schedule for the work profile. In a recent blog post, Google says it has helped users find some peace of mind by separating personal and work-related apps without using two different phones. According to a study of 3,000 smartphone users worldwide conducted by an experience management firm called Qualtrics, 68% of workers use one phone for both work and personal reasons while 32% use two smartphones. The study further revealed that 70% of users prefer separating work and personal apps on their device and that people who do just that via a work profile tend to be more satisfied with their work-life balance (70% versus 63%).

On the other hand, we lack data on whether or not people are actually using Digital Wellbeing for their, well, wellbeing. That’s why we’re turning to you to tell us if you actually use it (or other services). I, personally, rely on Focus Mode to keep distractions away and Wind Down to help myself detach from my phone before sleeping. Admittedly, only seldom do I look at the numbers and insights that Digital Wellbeing offers about my screen time, the number of incoming notifications, or the time spent per app. To keep those numbers relevant, Google offers a couple of experimental apps with reminders to encourage a digital detox.

Companies such as OnePlus have also been making several efforts to keep users aware of their usage and take time off whenever necessary. Its Zen Mode has inspired many other brands to include similar options, while the Insight Always-on Display constantly reminds users of how often they unlock their phone. OnePlus recently released a new wallpaper app called Digital WellPaper to help you stay conscious of your phone usage by reminding you of the time you spend on different apps. These tools at our disposal can really help manage our usage of smartphones better. Do you agree?

What are your thoughts on apps and services that help you improve your digital wellbeing? Let us know in the comments below! 

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