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Digital Detox: Why The Minimalist Phone App Can Change Your Life

When Netflix released its documentary The Social Dilemma in late 2020, it was an instant hit. As of March 2021, it’s already the second most watched documentary Netflix has ever released – with an incredible 28 million viewers. 

Maybe the most wild part is that The Social Dilemma told us something we already knew: we’re on our phones too much, apps are deliberately keeping us on our phones longer, and it’s profoundly impacting our quality of life.

Although many people opted to delete Facebook, Instagram and more after the documentary’s release, many more people rely on their phones – and the apps downloaded to them – for daily conversation, work, and more, making them hard to cut out completely. While people may remember “dumb phones” fondly, what they need is really a streamlined version of their existing phone – not a resurgence of the Nokia flip. 

Digital minimalism, rather than digital abstinence, has been gaining traction – even as phones become more and more and more integrated into our everyday lives. Why? 

Break Toxic Use Patterns with Digital Minimalism 

Interest in digital minimalism has skyrocketed as people wake up to the sociological and psychological effects of constant phone usage. 

It starts with brain chemistry: our brains reward us with dopamine every time we have a positive social interaction. Smartphones and their associated apps have, in essence, hijacked these biological reward pathways. “Smartphones have provided us with a virtually unlimited supply of social stimuli,” notes Harvard University’s Science in the News.

You’re getting a “hit” of dopamine every time you receive a phone notification, and you’re becoming addicted to the high. 

This is a typical daily usage chart for Instagram users, who average 61 minutes a day on the app.

Yet the high is short lived. You begin to develop habits of constantly engaging with and checking your phone, rather than focusing on the world around you, all in hopes of attaining the dopamine rush. If people continue to spend an average of 3 hours a day on their phones, they will ultimately spend nearly 9 years of their life (or approximately 77,000 hours) on their phone.

This is enough time to:

  • Become completely fluent in another language (or several)
  • Earn a Master’s Degree in any field (a doctorate, too)
  • Become an expert at playing any instrument 

And more difficult to measure, but on an even more essential level, that’s time people could be investing in relationships with their friends and family that they’lll never get back.

For anyone who is worried about the time and focus they’re losing to mind-numbing apps and notification chasing, it’s time for a dopamine and digital detox – and that’s where the Minimalist Phone app comes into play. 

How Can I Make My Phone Minimalist? The App That Helps, Not Hinders

Unlike a “dumb phone,” which is a phone that has no options for additional phone apps – and essentially just limits you to texting and calling – the Minimalist Phone App uses your existing Android phone and simply pares down the options you can see. It directs your focus to the important apps, while eliminating the pings and vibrations that alert you to unnecessary updates like shopping promotions and Instagram likes. 

The Minimalist Phone app allows you to make mindful decisions about the apps you have easy access to.

The Minimalist Phone app allows you to make mindful decisions about the apps you have easy access to. Download the app via the Android app store, and you’ll swipe through a series of easy-to-understand tutorial instructions for setting up the app, which ultimately serves as a sort of custom phone screen.

You can still easily access your camera, alarms, and the search function with The Minimalist Phone app. You then get to choose your favorite app(s) to keep on your main screen. In the spirit of reduction and digital detoxing, it’s best to only opt for applications you truly need every day.

Minimalist Phone then asks if you would like to filter your notifications, which is highly recommended for individuals trying to spend less time on their phones. It’s important to note that you can still access them through the filtered tab. They simply won’t be interrupting your everyday focus with vibrations and pings, allowing you to reduce your overall screen time. This allows users to be more deliberate with their time, and only check on filtered notifications when it’s truly convenient and necessary.

minimalist phone during travel
Android phone with minimalist phone app as home screen.

Your phone will be pared down into a basic phone, but unlike the No Phone, which premiered on Shark Tank – which was literally a fake, rubber phone simply meant to pacify users who missed holding a phone – you can get to all the essentials when needed.You can still access your full collection of applications by swiping right. There, they’re presented in an alphabetical list form, but sans the eye-catching graphics that typically make you stop and click. Instead of mindlessly clicking colorful buttons, opening an app becomes a conscious effort to find and click its name.

The ability to filter notifications and reduce awareness of them on the main screen can help you develop positive habits of only checking once per day – or even less as time goes on. 

As a bonus, your phone’s battery life can be improved through reduced app usage (dark theme and OLED displays).

minimalist phone app installed on a smartphone. Image Author: Dalia Salamah (This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)

The Minimalist Phone App has been Downloaded 250,000+ Times - This is Why

Studies continue to show that using our smartphones less can make us happier and more engaged with the world around us. By being more deliberate with our time and energy, we can better focus on the things that truly matter.

Making a significant change to the quality of your daily life is as easy as downloading The Minimalist Phone app. It’s time to cut your dependency on the digital dopamine feedback loop.

Are you in?

About author

Mari Rogers

Mari is an experienced content writer and has worked with technology startups, Fortune 5000 companies, and more over the past 10 years.
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