Putting Your Phone in Grayscale Mode to Reduce the Urge to Use It

Nellie Bowles, writing for The New York Times last month:

I’ve gone gray, and it’s great.

In an effort to break my smartphone addiction, I’ve joined a small group of people turning their phone screens to grayscale — cutting out the colors and going with a range of shades from white to black. First popularized by the tech ethicist Tristan Harris, the goal of sticking to shades of gray is to make the glittering screen a little less stimulating.

I’ve been gray for a couple days, and it’s remarkable how well it has eased my twitchy phone checking, suggesting that one way to break phone attachment may be to, essentially, make my phone a little worse. We’re simple animals, excited by bright colors, it turns out.

On the iPhone, you can manage this in the Display Accommodations section with General → Accessibility in Settings. The easiest way to use it is to enable “Color Filters” as the Triple-Click accessibility shortcut, all the way down at the very bottom of the Accessibility section. Then you can just triple-click the side button to toggle it.

I tried this while hanging out with some friends over Super Bowl weekend. They liked it more than I did. I can definitely see how this reduces the urge to turn to your phone the moment you’re bored, but to me it’s so unpalatable that I find it hard to use the phone. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, 26 February 2018