Android: Smartphones and apps are designed to be addictive, and for a lot of people (myself included), it can hard to resist the pull of a Twitter notification or new photos on Instagram. There are plenty of services to help you spend less time staring at your phone, but one free Android app takes a particularly brutal approach that might work for even the most hopeless smartphone addicts.
Lock Me Out (spotted by XDA-Developers) offers a few different features designed to curb your phone usage. When I opened the app, the first thing I saw was two rows of big red buttons offering to lock my phone for anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours. After selecting a 15-minute lockout, I was booted to the lock screen. I could answer calls, read notifications, and use the camera, but that was it. (The app’s paid version lets you whitelist specific apps or lock down the phone completely.)
Lock Me Out can get granular, too. You can lock your phone until a specific time of day, set it to lock automatically later that day for an hour or two, or a create a weekly schedule of lockout times. Scroll to the bottom of the app’s main page, and you’ll even find an option that lets you lock your phone for 30 minutes if your screen time passes 5 hours per day — or you unlock the device more than 12 times in an hour.
These techniques may seem a little drastic, but if you really can’t stop yourself from checking your smartphone, Lock Me Out is an easy way to enforce short technology breaks when you need them most.