By giving each app a long, arduous password, you not only make it less appealing, you also remind yourself of the addiction you’re trying to squash:
Having to put in a long password definitely breaks me out of the mindless pull-out-my-phone-for-30-seconds habit I’ve been in. I actually think that simply seeing the password prompt reminds me “oh yeah, I’m trying to break this habit” and is enough to get me to put my phone away. Then when I make a conscious decision to use an app, I have no problems putting in that long password. Some apps I haven’t even used since I implemented this, and others (like the aforementioned Instagram) I’ve only been checking maybe once or twice a day.
So how do you do it? Both iOS and Android have a lot of apps that can password protect your apps, but here are the ones we recommend:
On the iPhone, you’ll need to be jailbroken first. Then, just download an app like LockDown Pro. It’s $2.99, but incredibly easy to use: just install it, open up its preferences in your iPhone’s Settings, and set up your custom password. You can then either lock all your apps, or press and hold an icon on the home screen to go into “jiggle mode” and lock one of the apps right then and there.
On Android, most apps only allow for pattern-based or number-based passwords, which won’t work for our needs. So, we recommend Smart AppLock. By default, it locks your apps with a pattern, but you can change this to a password in the settings (it only allows passwords of 16 characters or less, but this should be enough to deter you). So, just set your password and tell it which apps you want to lock. If you want, you can grab the $1.99 pro version to get rid of the ads.
Once you’ve set up your app of choice, you should find that it asks you for a password in order to run any of your distracting apps. Hopefully, that will make you less likely to pull up Facebook, Instagram, and other apps that pull your attention away from more important things.
Curbing My Smartphone Addiction | Jeff VanNieulande
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