This simple trick could cure your smartphone addiction

By Kitty Knowles 9 May 2016

Live your mobile life in black and white.

Do you feel compelled to check your smartphone hundreds of times a day?

Even on weekends? With friends? Mid-sentence?

You probably don’t need telling that you’re addicted to your smartphone: you’ve made your peace with the idea that your mobile is your life.

You knew that relegating your phone to your bag for hours was an impossible dream.

Until now.

How to cure smartphone addiction

The solution is simple: live your mobile life in good old-fashioned black and white.


Go to ‘Settings’ on your iPhone, enter ‘General’, ‘Accessibility’ and finally turn ‘Grayscale’ on.

Suddenly scrolling through Instagram is far less appealing. But you may find yourself getting more done in the real world.

Inspired by The Atlantic’s James Hamblin (below) we tried this for a weekend, and it worked.

Here’s what we learned after a weekend-long trial:

The Memo switched to Grayscale

  • Your smartphone becomes the retro lovechild of your Kindle and an iPhone.
  • It’s weirdly soothing, and you will get used to it faster than you’d think.
  • The inescapable curiosity of the red alert of a notification is pleasantly subdued.
  • Instagram gets really, really dull. No more endless scrolling for you.
  • You will occasionally forget Grayscale is on and then bulk at the washed out world when you turn your camera on.
  • People’s posts on Facebook are no longer interesting, and you’ll realise you don’t need them to function.
  • You’ll be reminded of the days when a phone was a utility, not an attention grabbing monster. RIP Nokia 3210.

Is this the cure for all smartphone addiction? Probably not, but this small step backwards could be the first step towards a more mindful relationship with your smartphone.

Watch James Hamblin, senior editor of The Atlantic, talk through his life in grayscale…