I Tried iOS 12's Screen Time Tracker. I'm Bummed Out.

The time spent texting alone makes me sad

November 5, 2018
Here's what it looks like when you exceed your set screen time

Apple introduced a new feature called Screen Time. It monitors the time you spend looking at your screen (obviously). After switching in on, I immediately feel terrible about my decisions and how controlled I am by my dumb smartphone. I've had it installed for a few weeks and it paints the following picture:

Gross. Let's say that making $15/hr, that's about $50 in time spent looking at a screen every day! Now look, a little context, I work in an industry that requires I use my own phone (pay for my own plan/equipment) for work. Until they let me break it down by time, it'll be hard for me to understand how much of this is for "work."

A little deeper the dive goes to find how often and for what reason my phone is distracting me:

I'm not sure what counts as a pickup, but I'm doing it 141 times per day?! WHAT?

I already thought I spent too much time looking at social media, so a few months ago I switched off all my notifications. They call to you like a dependency "come check and see if our business convinced people to think you're relevant, Gregr." No.

I'm not a very heavy texter (or am I?), but more than half of notifications are from text messages. Remember, I have all my social media notifications turned off because it's just too much.

iOS 12 allows for some great customization to help you curb your screen time. You can activate Downtime to help stop you from using apps - it's still possible to override it, it gives you the option to "ignore" Downtime and carry on, but it's a good extra step. Similarly, you can go in and set individual apps to have limits.

Previously, I battled the endless scroll of looking at Instagram from my own account and from @1077TheEnd, but after setting a 20 minutes/day limit, I find that I'm both not as willing to kill time knowing that I only have 20 for the whole day and that I'm rushing through things and not reading the comments of my friends awesome posts. It makes me feel more in control at the cost of being less in the conversation. Often that conversations is about nothing. But isn't life often just about nothing? It's quite difficult!

There are other customizations to make for how you wanna track your screen time - dig in!

As for me, I feel gross. It feels like I'm on my phone for maybe an hour a day and that feels like too much. How did we get to this point where we can't look away? Is this the reason we all share in this awful and toxic online world and feel trapped by it? Are you actually harming your ability to grow into the future by not taking part?

This makes me want to get a flip phone and just stick to texting... still for an hour a day probably :(