If phone addicts struggle with apps sucking up too much time, they can outsource some self-discipline thanks to a new Android app, writes Katie Conner for CNet.
Focus Mode, a new Android feature, announced in May, brushes aside distracting apps – maybe it’s Facebook, YouTube or Instagram – while the phone owner mentally dive into what he or she needs to do, by applying a timer that keeps a person from accessing certain apps for a set amount of time.
When the time’s up, Google will unpause the app.
Focus Mode is Google’s latest feature intended to promote something it calls digital health. It builds off Wind Down mode, a part of Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature set that turns the screen to grayscale if you schedule it to each night or manually turn it on.
The idea is to make the screen less compelling to look at while also counteracting the blue light that’s believed to disrupt sleep patterns and keep you awake longer.
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.
It’s available for the Android 10 (formerly Android Q) beta, but if you don’t see it yet, you may need to update to the latest version.