If you’re anything like me, you will have found yourself hopelessly addicted to your smartphone over the last few years.
The endless cycle of picking up your phone, toggling through the different apps and mindless scrolling – it tots up to a serious amount of screen time when that notification pops up.
It was not uncommon to find me racking up four to five hours a day on the phone, particularly due to the downtime afforded through lockdown.
Indeed, Problematic Smartphone Use (PSU) is a recognised trend, and studies have shown that excess time on phones can exacerbate depression and anxiety in individuals.
App developers spend millions upon millions every year in making phones addictive. They recruit the best-in-class when it comes to behavioural psychologists, engineers and social media gurus.
But one particularly powerful element to increase reliance on smartphones is one that can easily be changed, and makes a huge difference.
Colour is an enormously powerful human stimulus. It helps us decide which food to eat, what art we adore and dislike, as well as how to recognise health in ourselves and others.
Colour is tested and used by app developers to keep us coming back to our favourite apps..
And one simple step has helped me almost totally break the dependence on my phone or – at least – the near-automatic reach for it.
Changing the phone settings to greyscale changes your display to black and white.
It appears changing to grayscale makes smartphones less gratifying and can assist individuals in controlling their smartphone use.
Professors Alex Holte and Richard Ferraro of the University of North Dakota studied undergraduate students who had phones with normal settings, and those with greyscale.
Those in the latter group significantly reduced their phone usage.
As a direct result of changing this setting, my time on my device has reduced ton less than one hour a day.
So how do you do it?
Here are the ways you can change your settings, too.
In Android 9 and newer devices:
- Swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers.
- Hit the pen icon, locate ‘greycale’, tap and drag into your tiles list.
- Tap the icon any time to enable grayscale.
On pre-Android 9 devices
1. Open Settings.
2. Swipe down to the bottom and tap ‘About Phone’.
3. Swipe down to the bottom to find ‘Build Number’.
4. Tap on the ‘Build Number’ seven times. You’ll receive a notice that you’ve enabled Developer Mode.
5. Return to Settings.
6. Tap to open the new Developer Options settings menu item.
7. Swipe down to Hardware Accelerated Rendering.
8. Tap on Simulate Color Space .
9. Tap on Monochromacy .
1. Swipe down on the home screen and search ‘accessibility’.
2. Tap display accommodations
3. Tap Colour Filters
4. Enable colour filters
5. If not already turned to greyscale, hit the greyscale option.