How to spend less time on your phone with this simple life hack


The secret to curing your Instagram addiction might be simpler than you think.

Former Google designer Tristan Harris and founder of Time Well Spent, a non-profit which combats technology misuse, believes he might have the golden tech-free ticket when it comes to convincing us to spend less time looking at our phones.

Speaking to US television host Anderson Cooper on , the Silicon Valley native suggested enabling the grayscale mode on your phone, explaining that apps like Snapchat and Twitter will be less enticing and fundamentally less click-able if we see them exclusively in black and white.

In order to access grayscale mode, for Android it’s typically processed via the “Accessibility” menu, whereas for iOS 10 it’s simply a case of Settings>General>Accessibility Shortcut>Colour Filters. Next, press the home button three times and you’ll suddenly see the world through black and white-coloured glasses. Triple-click once more to revert to colour.


It’s about time someone came up with a life hack to cure our Valencia-filtered obsessions. A recent study conducted by found that over a third of internet users across the globe struggle to tear themselves away from their phones, with the average user checking it every 15 minutes or less.

This jumped to nearly half (44 per cent) for teens, with those aged between 20 and 39 coming in closely behind.

From fear of missing an important message to unconscious scrolling sessions to the ambivalent “phantom buzz”, we are a nation obsessed with our phones – despite hardly any of us using them to make actual phone calls.

It’s no surprise that the medical world are paying attention too, with entire departments dedicated to technology addiction at the Nightingale Hospital and The Priory.


“There are studies that demonstrate that colours not only attract people to websites but can affect how much they remember from them”, Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, Group Associate Medical Director at the  explains.

Though Harris’s claims might not be backed up by research (“there are inadequate studies at present to demonstrate a grayscale display would significantly dissuade users from using their phones altogether”, she points out), Zwanenberg does recognise the importance of branding when it comes to being seduced by colour and the consequences of taking that branding away when we go grayscale may make our phones seem less enticing.

“Decisions to purchase or stay on a website are made by a quick scan, so a visual strategy is important and ensuring you have a logo which will allow quick recognition enhances branding”.

For more information on technology addiction and how to seek help, visit .


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