Smartphone addiction could be a real thing; just ask some of the researchers that have been studying our connected lives. The “always on” mentality perpetuated by the piece of plastic and metal in our pockets is nigh-on impossible to escape from, one might say, but rather it’s a case of lack of willpower on our part to avoid checking our social media accounts when out with friends.
Dumbphone is an Android app that does exactly as its name would suggest and reduces your smartphone to an Internet-free brick, only capable of the basics like calls, texting, and telling the time, like something a Neanderthal would use.
With the app, the user can disable several features of their phone for a period of time, from anywhere between an hour to 24 hours.
You’ll be left without Wi-Fi or mobile data so you won’t get any notifications and it will try to kill other apps when you open them. However, given the settings of Android, one app knocking off another isn’t very easy to do, so the developer has created a warning popup that constantly flashes when you try to open a restricted app, especially a game.
There are a few exceptions though like Evernote, which the developer has left alone, and you can still use the camera. You just won’t be able to Instagram the photo straight away.
This might seem like a simple function for an app but the difference is that Dumbphone won’t let you back out easily and simply switch your connected life back on when temptation takes over. There’s a three minute wait period to turn your phone’s connectivity back on, which you can spend twiddling your thumbs or something.
“The three minute delay is in order to discourage you from just turning it on. On the other hand, it’s a small enough period if you really want to do something,” explains the developer of the app, Bozhidar Bozhanov, who says the app didn’t take too long to make.
But what if there’s an emergency and you need to access certain features? Calls and texts will still work, he says, so that should do just fine. “I did consider an emergency key combination, but what emergency could there be that needs Internet and can’t wait for three minutes?” he says. “Your basic phone features are working, so it shouldn’t be an issue.”
If the wait isn’t painful enough, the app comes with a log to remind you of how many times you’ve “shown weakness and have succumbed to your addiction” and deactivated Dumbphone.
Dumbphone is an Android app that can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store.