Change Your Screen To Greyscale To Combat Phone Addiction

Change Your Screen To Greyscale To Combat Phone Addiction

Former Design Ethicist at Google and founder of the non-profit Time Well Spent, Tristan Harris has been making the rounds lately, talking about how technology is engineered to be addictive and hijack our attention. He’s pretty persuasive, comparing the lure of your phone to the that of a slot machine.

Image by Lifehacker.

Most of the time, you check your phone and there’s nothing interesting — no notifications, just the same old apps staring back at you. But sometimes checking your phone is rewarding — you get an amusing text, a flurry of likes, an email containing good news. This hit is satisfactory enough to keep you returning, checking your phone compulsively for another dopamine jolt.

Go Grey

To combat phone addiction, Harris suggests enabling greyscale on your phone. It might not cure your addiction completely, but certainly Instagram and Snapchat are going to be a lot less appealing in black and white than they are in technicolor.

The process for enabling greyscale differs for different models of Android phones, but it’s typically accessed via the “Accessibility” menu. In iOS 10, go to Settings > General > Accessibility >Display Accommodations >Colour Filters. Switch Colour Filters on and select Greyscale. To easily toggle between colour and greyscale, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Colour Filters. Now, you just press the home button three times to enable greyscale. Triple-click again to go back to colour.

Image by Lifehacker.

Harris has a whole bunch of compelling tips on how to beat phone addiction. If you’ve successfully kicked the habit, please for the love of God tell us how you did it.


  • Interesting because I often switch my phone to grey scale due to my vision, photo sensitivity and migraine problems. It is in fact the colour that really puts me off–not the grey scale. I guess the underlying principle is quite simple whilst being robust and generic — “To combat any kind of addiction or habit, tweak the environment (here the environment could be any variable — thoughts, an action that you or someone/something else does, characteristics of the environment such as colour, sound, temperature etc.) such that the habit becomes unappealing (here it could be unappealing/unpleasant in any sense–physical, psychological, financial etc.) to you.”

    You’re welcome 😉

  • To do this on a Galaxy S5 (and possibly other Samsung devices):
    Go to Settings > About Device (under “System”)
    Tap on “Build Number” repeatedly until it tells you that Developer Options have been enabled.
    Go to Settings > Developer Options (under “System”)
    Select “Simulate color space” (under “Hardware-accelerated rendering”)
    Select “Monochromacy

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