January 12th 2019
Today I discovered the Screen Time feature of iOS 12. It’s a feature built into the iPhone that tracks how frequently you use your phone, as well as your most commonly used applications, and even data like how many times you pick it up per day.
This is interesting to me as I’ve recently made an effort to use my phone less frequently. I have an iPhone 6s, so it’s now like 3 generations old, and I’ve tried my best to make it as dumb a phone as possible. I have absolutely no games on it. I have very few apps. No Facebook or Snapchat or Reddit.
Plus, some lifecycle ‘bugs’ of the fact it’s an old phone have helped dumb it down. It no longer sufficiently connects to Wifi, and the headphone jack doesn’t work, so I can only listen to music on it if I connect through Bluetooth.
All of this means that there’s not actually that much to do on my phone, which makes it all the more surprising when Screen Time told me that I’ve spent 6 hours on it today.
For the first four hours of my day I was on a golf course, too. But from 3ish to nowish I seem to have been picking my phone up pretty consistently. 133 times, to be precise. The vast chunk of that time has been spent on WhatsApp. So even though I’ve aimed to rid my phone of all smart features and social media, it seems to be at least functioning correctly for it’s original intended purpose… communication. I mean, WhatsApp is just modern text messaging which is just modern phone calls which is just modern talking to someone’s face, so really I’ve spent most of my day having real-life conversations, so that’s not all bad. Right?
Knowing what I know about myself, I’ll probably check the Screen Time thing with somewhat regularity, and, having already acknowledged that I spend too much time on my phone, will commit to throwing it off a fucking bridge. Or something less dramatic.
What’s good about the Screen Time app is that you can limit the amount of time you can spend on certain apps, or you can just block some completely. That could come in handy.
The nuclear option, of course, is to just get a Nokia 3310 out of the drawer and embrace the dumb phone life completely.
Until tomorrow, at least that would have Snake II.