It may seem counterintuitive for me, a content manager for a smartphone manufacturer, to laud an app that helps people put their smartphones down. But we want our phones to help people pursue their brilliance, which often means taking a break from all that app scrolling. We’re spending more time than ever on our phones, so it can be a good thing to get a reality check on the time you’re spending on your phone and see exactly how you’re using it.
Unsurprisingly, I am very attached to my phone. I use it a lot, and probably moreso because of my job. But I’ve been curious about the details of my usage, so I decided to download Quality Time – My Digital Diet, a free app from ZeroDesktop Inc. Quality Time tracks the specifics of how you use your phone and provides ways for you to start incorporating digital breaks into your days.
Quality Time has a few key features worth calling out. First, there’s a notification bar that displays your current usage for the day and how many times you’ve unlocked the home screen. Even that little dose of information can slow you down.
The app’s interface is simple, plotting your usage on a timeline that displays which apps you use each time you unlock it, the amount of time you use those apps, and the breaks of non-use in between. What you see when you open the app is your timeline of the current day. If you swipe left, you can see yesterday’s timeline. If you swipe down, you can see a granular breakdown of usage by time spent in each app, frequency of app use, and screen unlocks, all broken down by day or week.
You can set alerts to let you know when you’ve hit self-assigned usage limits, a screen unlocks, or limits for specific apps that you designate.
In the lower right-hand corner of the app homescreen is a menu where you can choose to schedule breaks, take an immediate break, access any missed notifications that came through during your breaks, share certain bits of info with your social networks, and access the app settings.
Whether you schedule a break or take one immediately, you have to set up a profile for each break. Setting up a break profile includes titling it, selecting a length of time for that particular break, adding apps that you still want to be able access to during that break, and setting a penalty time for accessing your phone if you stop your break before time is up. For scheduled breaks, you can also select a start and end time and assign days on which you want this particular break to occur.
Summary: if you’re looking to put some more space between you and your phone, Quality Time is a good app to get you started. It’s is easy to navigate, provides a surprising amount of information about how you’re using your phone, and can help you develop healthier, more conscious phone use habits. Are you already using Quality Time or another app to manage your phone use? Tell us in the comments!
The App of the Week is a series in which the blog team will try out apps and share their thoughts on those that catch their eye. If any partner apps are showcased, we’ll be sure to let you know!