This iPhone app won’t be happy until you don’t need to use it anymore.
A new app for iOS called Moment claims it can help you use your iPhone less. The app constantly runs in the background of the phone and tracks your daily iPhone usage; as you learn how much time you spend on your phone, you can set a daily iPhone usage limit, and your phone will “nudge” you when you start getting close to going over that limit.
So let’s say you want to cap your iPhone use at 30 minutes per day. Once you get to 15 minutes, a notification will pop up, no matter what you’re doing on your phone, telling you that you are halfway to your usage ceiling. Once you hit 30 minutes, a notification will tell you to drop the phone and enjoy your day.
(Feature request: shutting down the iPhone automatically when you reach your limit. You get a one-minute warning and then, BOOM, your Candy Crush game is over.)
Moment was created by developer Kevin Holesh, who wrote a widely shared blog post titled “I’m Addicted To My iPhone” to announce the app’s launch.
“I crave being constantly connected to everything, and I’m anxious when I’m not,” Holesh wrote. His addiction became clearest to him when he moved in with his girlfriend and found that they were both constantly staring at their glowing i-screens.
“Relaxing meant whipping out our iPhones and catching up on the latest happenings in social media,” Holesh wrote. “Her drug of choice is Instagram. Mine is Twitter. We stopped doing fun and productive things and chose the path of least resistance.”
And thus Moment was born.
So-called “screen addiction” is a very real problem, with “digital detox” rehab facilities available for tech junkies all over the world. According to Leslie Perlow’s 2012 book Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work, 44 percent of survey respondents said they would feel anxious and irritable if they didn’t check their phone for a week. That number has likely gone up as smartphone ownership and reliance has increased.
An app isn’t likely to totally cure you of screen addiction. But it can help you spend a more reasonable amount of time on your phone — and encourage you to direct your energy toward more worthwhile pursuits.