It seems that our phones become more integrated into our lives every day. School, work, shopping ̵
That's why Google has introduced Digital Wellbeing, a set of Android tools that help you maintain a healthy balance between the physical and digital of today's world. If you think you don't need such a thing, ask yourself when you last spent an hour without checking your phone. Because I'm pretty sure how you answered, here are a few ways to get the most out of Digital Wellbeing on Android 9 and higher.
1. Analyze your phone usage
Before you make changes to your phone usage, you must be aware of your current phone usage patterns. Just like a diet plan, you must first see your baseline before applying changes.
Open the Settings app on your phone and select "Digital welfare". The first page shows how often you have unlocked the device, the number of notifications and a pie chart of your daily use of each app. Select "Dashboard" for even more information.
After learning your own habits, you know where to make changes. You may need to be thrown gently away from social media apps from time to time, or you may need to limit the scrolling of your news feed. Anyway, take the time to think about the data and find what needs to be cut.
Now you can set daily limits for the time you can spend in a specific app using another tool called App Timers. Ideally, you want to start with the apps that you use the most. Depending on your needs, you should aim for a reduction in usage of at least 15%. Something measurable but achievable.
To set app timers, go to the "Digital welfare" menu in Settings and open "Dashboard". Select the hourglass icon to the right of the app that you want to restrict, and then choose a duration that is at least 15% lower than the average time you spend in the app.
Once set, after your duration has expired, the app turns gray. If you try to open the app, a pop-up appears stating that your limit is higher.
You can also set limits for the websites you visit . Go to Settings -> Digital welfare -> Dashboard and search for Chrome in the list. Select & # 39; Show sites you visit & # 39; and a prompt appears asking you to allow Digital Wellbeing to view websites that you visit in Chrome. Choose "View" and a list of websites that you visit appears here, which you can then restrict in the same way as an individual app.
Restricting the use of apps is only part of the battle – even without unlocking your phone, you may be greeted by dozens of notifications on your lock screen. To change that without getting nuclear in the app's notifications, you can use Notification Channels, a feature introduced in Android 8.
All different types of notifications that an app might send you are the & # 39; Channels & # 39 ;. So instead of having to block all notifications from a certain app, you can only block certain types of from notifications from that app. These channels can be configured to be either "Alarming" or "Silent", the latter not causing your phone to vibrate or sound. You can set categories not to appear on the lock screen, not display an icon in the status bar, and set a different notification tone for each type.
The use of reporting channels is easy. Go to Settings -> Digital welfare -> Manage notifications and select the app that you want to manage. From there, all notification channels of the app are displayed. Tap one to configure it.
Tweaking Notification Channels is a semi-permanent solution. If there is a type of message that you sometimes want to see, but not when you try to disconnect, you should use the Do Not Disturb (DND) mode.
First of all, everyone should use DND before bedtime. We know from studies that the use of a telephone before going to sleep is making sleep worse, so you really have to block all messages except emergency messages. Fortunately, with Android you can enable DND mode according to a schedule.
On Android 9 and higher, you can configure calls from specific people to still come in, such as favorite contacts or everyone in your address book. You can also make it that if the same person calls you twice within a set period (15 minutes), the phone rings on the second call, as this is probably important.
You can explore these options in Settings -> Digital well-being -> Do not disturb .
5. Setting a bedtime
In addition to setting Do not disturb to switch on automatically when you go to sleep, you can also tell your phone your bedtime and then activate the function. When you go to bed, you get extra functions in addition to turning off alerts. This option in the Digital Wellbeing menu is known as "Wind Down" and breaks down a few functions to make sleeping easier.
The first important feature of "Wind Down" is "Grayscale". When "Grayscale" is enabled, your screen will turn black and white when Wind Down starts (unless configured differently) to make things less visually appealing.
Second, night light reduces the blue light emitted by your screen. This specific wavelength of light is comparable to daylight and can mess with your circadian rhythm. You can configure this mode to turn on as grayscale at the same time or later & # 39; at night for those times when you wake up in the middle of the night and pick up your phone.
Between work, school and everything else it is easy to get overwhelmed. This is when you need to step back and refocus the rest of the day. It is therefore correct that the Android team calls this next function "Focus Mode".
"Focus mode" is in the Digital Wellbeing menu. Here you have to choose the apps that you don't want to be distracted by. Once set up, no notifications are received from these apps while "Focus Mode" is on. You can then choose a time to activate this function or tap "Switch on now" to switch it on immediately.
Once activated, distracting apps are dimmed and you no longer receive notifications from that app. If you select the app, you will get a pop-up with the message that focus mode is on.
Without digging around in Settings, there is an even faster way to enable DND mode called Flip to Shhh. With this feature enabled in the Digital Wellbeing menu, place your phone face down to switch on the DND mode. DND is then automatically switched off the next time you pick up and turn the phone.
This article was made during Gadget Hacks annual special Health & Fitness coverage. Read all Health & Fitness series.
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