A Week With Google’s Digital Wellbeing

Nov 14, 2018 · 390 words · 2 minute

Digital Wellbeing is a new Android app that will tell how frequently you use your apps, the number of notifications you get and how many times you unlock your phone. Some apps in the past would help block apps and website and show you how many times you unlocked your phone, but this is the first time this type of information has been available on the OS level.

Last week, I installed the beta of Google’s new offering to help curb my cell phone addiction. I had also turned on some features in YouTube that were rolled out earlier in the year that give you a little prompt if you watch a certain number of minutes.

The first feature that I wanted to try was having more control over notifications. I had some apps that I wanted to keep installed, but the notifications were just over the top. I was able to see what these apps gave me each day and what a normal week looked like. Then I was able to tweak a few settings to get that number to come down to a normal level.

The second thing I went to turn on was app timers. App timers allow you to pause an app for the rest of the day. I turned on a few apps that I knew that I wasted time on and gave myself only fifteen minutes of access to them a day. The neat thing about this feature is that it actually greys out the app icon when your time is up.

The last mode that I was used this week is called Wind Down Mode. It allows you to set a time when your entire screen and every app goes into grayscale mode. When it first happened, it didn’t seem to bad. But after a while, what I was looking at just didn’t seem that exciting or interesting. It really did its job and made me not look at my phone very much but put it down late at night when I set the timers.

After a week of these settings on, I don’t think that I will turn them off—I will just work with them to make sure that they are helping me and that I only receive relevant notifications. I still can’t believe that I got 400 notifications in one day!