I have a pretty unhealthy relationship with my phone. I’m not alone, and that’s no surprise: The machines are designed not to make us happy, but to maximize the amount of time we spend on them. And I’m not the first person to complain about how the device sucks you in or how other people can’t seem to walk in a straight line anymore. On top of that, there’s research that suggests the damn things actually make us less empathetic. So we’re now unhappier, less pleasant people.
For the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with weaning myself off of my phone, by fiddling with the notifications that are the method by which tech companies get us Hooked. Did you know that you can edit these?
From the main settings menu, go to Notifications:
From the main Notifications page, pick an app:
Within each app, you have multiple notification options you can turn on and off:
For the last few weeks, I’ve been slowly walking back from the constant notification cloud that tech companies wrap us in. For those who want to follow along:
- Turn off Sounds (and vibrations). I left them only for FaceTime and phone calls.
- Turn off Show on Lock Screen. I’ve found that lock screen notifications interrupt conversations and trains of thought, even if I don’t open the phone.
- Turn off Alerts. I don’t really need iMessages to pop onto the screen when I’m reading an article on the Texas Tribune.
- Turn off Badge App Icons. Just this morning, I decided to turn off the Badge App Icons (the red badges). If that sticks, then I’ll have a single place where I can see all notifications at once: The Notification Center that pulls down from the top of the screen.
Steps 1-3 have already made me a little less neurotic, and a little less interrupted in my thoughts and conversations. Here’s hoping it’s helpful to you, too.
What am I missing? What am I wrong about? What should I read next?