Google’s new tool that helps with phone addiction

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok. It’s easy to be distracted by the next update or amusement, instead of responding to emails, banking, reading the news or doing whatever it is you should be doing on your phone. Google’s newly launched tool called Focus Mode, which was designed to combat distracting apps on your Android device.

Originally announced last May at Google’s annual I/O conference, Focus Mode pauses your most distracting apps for as long as you need with a timer that keeps you from using them for set increments. When the time’s up, Google will play the app.

Google believes that app timers, like those in Focus Mode, help people keep from overusing apps more than 90% of the time. You can choose which apps you’d like to pause, like Facebook and Instagram, which tend to interrupt you with notifications. But you can also keep some messaging apps open for emergencies.

Google’s latest feature to promote digital health, along with digital well being features like Wind Down mode, which turns the screen to gray scale, designed to help you get sleepy and less interested in looking at your screen at night. Another feature filters out the blue light that’s believed to disrupt sleep patterns and keep you awake longer.

Apple’s i Phones contain similar features focused on helping you detox from phone overuse, which experts believe can cause physical stress from overuse and a mental dependence on devices that keep people from engaging fully in the physical world.

Focus Mode is rolling out to all devices that have Digital Well being and parental control settings, including new phones launching with Android 9 and Android 10.

How to use Focus Mode for Android

1. Open your Digital Well being app.

2. On the dashboard, select Focus Mode.

3. Tap on the box to the right of each app that you want to disable. You may have to select Show all apps if they’re not visible.

4. Tap Turn on now.

5. You’ll notice that all of your paused apps are grayed out. If you try to open the app, a box will open that says Focus Mode is on. You can either select Settings to make changes or tap OK to leave the app disabled.

6. When you’re ready to stop pausing your apps, go back into the Focus Mode settings and tap Turn off now.

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