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Can a phone save you from your phone?

Can a phone save you from your phone?


A bunch of phones now have these new “time well spent” options, which tell you how much time you’re spending in all of your apps, and it gives you an
option to lock yourself out of the app if you use it for too long. Here’s mine, and… wow.
I watch a lot of TikTok, and I make a lot of puns on Twitter, and I play a lot of holedown. But the holedown shouldn’t count because I do it on my commute, and so it’s time I would have
wasted anyway, and… (sputters) (sighs) Okay, fine. This is bad. And the truth is, I’ve
tried setting limits on all of these apps, and you know what I do
every time I hit that limit — and I mean every time? I go back into the settings,
I turn off limits, and I just keep using the app. That’s a problem. It’s a problem I really need to solve. I need to be frittering away less and writing and making
videos like this one more. And it turns out that there
are gadgets that promise to help solve this problem, like this Palm phone right here
that was released last year. It’s a second phone that’s
designed to help me leave this attention-sucking phone behind. But here’s a question: can a gadget really save me from my phone? So, yeah, this is the Palm phone, and maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s super cute, right?
Like, it’s adorable. In a way, this Palm thing
is a phone that’s designed to not be that great but be there if you need it. Here’s how it works: you pay Verizon — and it’s
only available on Verizon — $10 a month, and it shares your phone
number with your main phone. It runs Android 8, which
means that you can install any app you want on it,
but you shouldn’t do that. Just install what you really need when you’re out with just this phone. The idea behind the Palm phone, it’s, you know… it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s so good that
when people look at this thing, and they see it, and
they think it’s so cute, they don’t actually want to
believe me when I tell them that this phone is bad. Some of the design choices
on this phone are just off. The software skin has this thing that’s supposed to remind
you of the original Palm OS, but it just doesn’t work. And it defaults into this
kind of airplane mode whenever the screen is off, which is theoretically
there to help stop alerts. But really, it’s there to
stop battery life-sucking because the battery life, it sucks a lot, almost as much as the
camera sucks on this thing. Now, there are other
light phones out there or even straight-up dumb phones, but they don’t run apps, and so that’s the point of this phone. Sometimes there’s just one app that you really need to have with you, like, say, Uber for calling a car, and this lets you have it. And then it’s on you to not install apps that waste your time on it, like holedown. I installed holedown on it. Yeah. Look, the Palm phone is badly designed, but even if it were perfect, it would still have problems because our cellphone
networks aren’t set up to allow something like this to exist. Just as one example, getting texts on it is super complicated. You have to use Verizon’s
terrible Message+ app. But also, if you use
iMessage on your main phone, or RCS on a Pixel or WhatsApp
or Signal or whatever, you don’t get those text messages on here. They only go to your main phone, so… yeah. A phone for your phone. It’s a nice idea, but it’s impossible to make it right unless all of our carriers
change all of their rules about how phone numbers work. You know, maybe I should
make a video about that. Now, there are other gadgets that could help you use your phone less. LTE-connected smartwatches like the Apple Watch or the
Galaxy Watch can actually help. If you have one, it does just
enough to let some people leave their phone behind for short trips or going for a jog or whatever. It can get your texts
and your phone calls and even notifications, but it’s still not as
good at doing most things as a smartphone is. There’s no getting around the fact that you’ve just got this
tiny screen on a watch, and Siri just won’t do
everything you want it to. Another category that
you might not think of as keeping you away from your
smartphone: smart speakers. Now that I have a few of them in my house, I pull my phone out of my
pocket just a little less often. On a speaker, you can’t check your email or, you know, play holedown. “Hey, Google, play holedown.” [Google Assistant] Okay,
“Hold On” by Chord Overstreet. Here it is on Spotify. Who the hell is Chord Overstreet? (acoustic guitar music) Whatever. “Hey, Google, stop.” It means that you use the speaker to get a quick calendar reminder or check the news or send a message without getting distracted
by the rest of the crap that’s on your phone. It can just stay there in your pocket. Oh, hey, I really do want to
mention one thing here. You haven’t heard a
particular word in this video, and that word is “addiction.” You’ve heard the term “smartphone addiction” all the time, everywhere, but the science on whether
or not it’s a real addiction is still unclear. In fact, Rachel Becker has written a really good article about this. So one of the problems with calling it “smartphone addiction” is that there are so many things you could be doing on your smartphone. You could be shopping, you
could be playing games, you could be checking
social media or gambling or watching porn. And so it may not be the phone
itself that’s the problem. It could be any of the things
your phone allows you to do. Where does all of this
leave us when it comes to escaping these
attention-hoarding monster machines? Well, sorry, Chuck. You’re on your own to figure that out right now. Maybe all of these screen time settings that you can get on
iPhones and Pixel phones, maybe they could work for you. Maybe you’re strong enough
to just leave your phone in your pocket all the time. Heck, maybe even one of those
gadgets that I mentioned could help you with that, if so, bully for you. They don’t work for me, though. I see the behavior that I want to change, but I’m just not changing it. So here’s my plan, at least right now: it doesn’t help me to
learn that I screwed up and wasted a bunch of time on an app when I hit a time limit from
a “time well spent” thing. I need a barrier before I start, and that barrier is probably obvious: uninstall the apps. That
way, if I really need them, I’ll have to go through the
hassle of reinstalling them before I use them. And I’m also going to move a bunch
of apps off my home screen so I don’t see them most of the time. Do you have a plan? Do you think you need one? It’s worth thinking about, and it’s probably worth
doing something about. There are a bunch of software solutions, and there are those gadget solutions. But, I don’t know, for me — and trust me because I’ve tried it dozens of times — there is not a gadget
that currently exists that has really saved me from the gadgets that I already have. And I’m betting it’s the same for you. Hey, thanks so much for watching, and let me know in the comments what’s your guilty pleasure app? Mine is definitely
holedown, obviously. And if you haven’t seen it, The Verge has been running this
series called Better Worlds. It’s a fiction series
that imagines a future where things are actually, like,
good because of technology, instead of being
completely destroyed by it. We’ve got videos, we’ve got podcasts, and we’ve got short stories, and you should definitely
check them all out.

100 thoughts on “Can a phone save you from your phone?”

  1. for the 3% reading this, I hope you become successful in life with everything you dreamed of, and accomplish more than you had imagined. I am a youtuber myself and I'm not asking you to do anything. spread the love 🙂

    but I would love to hit 20k by the end of February! THANK YOU, ALL OF YOUTUBE

  2. There is this app called App Block. It is a much better version Digital wellbeing. you can set septate timers for for weekends and weekdays. Sperate time limit for work hours. This helps better.

  3. @TheVerge, I’m unsubscribing if you continue to pop in the G-word in your videos left right and center.

    Another option, I’m getting rid of my “smart” speakers if they don’t become sensitive to these idiosyncrasies.

  4. Dieter, could you please do some videos where you just pull a thread? The Verge seems so hamstrung by the need to have flashy b roll that you don’t get a chance to just…go. You know?

  5. I think the problem is not the phone or certain apps, the problem is that we forgot how to be bored. this world of content that is within our reach all the time does not give us a second to just sit and be bored.
    By being bored I mean, sit and think, let your imagination work, read a book.

  6. I missed Dieter Kun
    I use the Forest app that prevents me from using apps when I'm studying, but that's more anecdotal.
    What I'm thinking is I need to password lock the problematic apps via a friend, so I don't know the password…

  7. Why do you have to change your behaviour? As long as you and your friends, family don't feel bad because of your smartphone usage, everything should be fine…

  8. I suppose if you use two factor authentications to open an app, then that would solve the problem. The idea is opening apps will be so annoying that it would discourage you to open them in the first place.

  9. "That's a problem. It's a problem I really need to solve."

    Yeah Dieter, it's called Self Discipline lol.

    Dieter's solution: Buy another phone

  10. Why are everyone over complicating this whole concept.
    I use a simple technique where I turn the screen BW(digital wellbeing (or) developer options->color correction->monochromacy for older than pie )

    It saves me from seeing videos or pics because they look darn boring in black and white.
    I read articles true, but i dont want to read articles that has BW images.
    i always keep the phone on DND when working and allow only calls.

    There was a time where i used the phone in BW for 1 week straight and the moment i turned it off the colors were really worth appreciating and looked so beautiful. I loved my 85$ redmi 5a screen (the cheapest smartphone in India) than anything else. NO KIDDING!

  11. I'm sorry but no offenses this video is very self explanatory if you are trying to not be on your phone as much just don't use it take off everything that you don't need and just use what you do need I just don't get a phone in all😤🙄😠😑

  12. My problem with digital well being is that it notifies me 5 minutes before I reach my limit off an app. That's why I would like to see a feature where I can set notifications if I am using the app for 30 minutes, 1 hour etc. So I would know I should stop using the app, because when I don't stop I will reach my limit soon.

    Ps.: Sorry for my English.

  13. I have very few apps installed on my Huawei P20. Social media – Insta & twitter. Messaging – WhatsApps. I have network monitor apps & a few other different ones. In January, I reduced 4 home screens down to two. Main one with 2 folders, must used apps & a page for calendar. Must others are in my app drawer. I do however scroll thru twitter a lot!

  14. Hey Dieter, love your films.
    Here in the UK a BBC TV show called Twinstitute just did a study with a group of twins doing an IQ test. Those whose smartphones were taken away had higher scores than their twins who were asked to have their smartphones on the desk in front of them. Smartphones making you dumber…..ironic.

  15. You are great BUT with the ok, google command you switched YouTube on my TV to play music through Spotify on TV, not resuming the video, thumbs down for that

  16. weird thing, isn‘t it? Inventing Gadgets out of mere inability to change our responsibility for our tech. I think that you‘re on the difficult and humbling journey to master this art.

  17. 1. HIDE APPS
    2. LEAVE ONLY NECESSARY ONES THAT HAS AN ACTUAL FUNCTION.
    2. USE SEARCH WHEN YOU NEED ADDITIONAL APPS.

    Done. Use Microsoft launcher or similar. When you need to search everytime for an app…. well you'll see for yourself.

  18. The only cure that you can have Dieter, is to practise KonMari on your phone. Touch every app and ask yourself if it brings you joy.

  19. My guilty pleasure app is Instagram for seeing meme's and chatting with friend's. The problem with Screen Time App Limiter's are that there should be a option for the app service to remain aggressive for certain period of set time and you can't use your apps after you hit the limit of usage and even after turning off the setting from the Screen Time App, the set limit will be in force for the App which it was set for until the time ends.

    But this could indeed create a problem of not able to access the app if like any important message or info comes, and you might just end up losing your job if your company or boss has sent the important message.

  20. I go over my 30 mins on Instagram pretty consistently but I do tend to tell myself to stop then. So I average only 35min-ish on Instagram a day. I'm sure it was more before the timer feature.

  21. In my final couple of years in med school, I used to escape from the usually immense stress by overusing my phone. And since I figured out that was a problem, I used a couple of tricks:

    1) I moved the social media apps I used the most (mainly Facebook) to the Extras folder on my phone. It's the folder where I keep most of the iOS stock apps that I don't use much.
    2) Turn the phone screen into B&W. It works in two ways; a) You get reminded when you unlock your phone that you turned the screen to monochrome for a reason, b) it takes the fun out of most of the social media apps, especially Instagram and Pinterest.
    3) Turn off Notifications from non-messaging apps. Use social media apps like you use their websites, you'll know what's up when you open them. Same things with games, but no analogy here, sorry. 😀
    4) Fill your days with activities (or in my case, studying). You can't expect to survive staying away from your phone for very long if there's nothing to fill the void it leaves. 🙂

    Hope that helped. Massive fan of your show by the way, Dieter!

  22. Solving addictions with another gadget? The problem is in the brain. Thing is to learn how to control emotions and thoughts, learn mental discipline, focus, priorities. Then… you just don't have time to play phone, because your mind directs you to other more useful, meaningful or productive things.

  23. Bert recognisable problem. I hope people will adapt to split work en entertainment again so you can use your phone for either one both not both. We need tools and we need entertainment devices, but not 2 in one

  24. This video started playing a song called Hold On on my Google Home and then "Hey Google, stop" stopped the actual playing video on my TV

  25. Dieter, you didn't tell everyone that this Palm phone runs Graffiti! (It does; I checked.) (Disclaimer: I used to write about Palm smartphones for Dieter, and I now work for Verizon although on nothing relating to THIS Palm. Which I want. For much the same reason that Dieter bought his Foleo.)

  26. I'm really not sure if anything will save you (or me) from your phone. And tablet, and laptop… It's the world we're living in, it's the era… The gadgets era, where everything changes so quickly that we starting to forget who we are and what we really need. (pay attention to the word need).
    So I think the only switch that can turn off your attention from your phone is inside your brain.
    And while I'm writing this, I'm also thinking that instead of doing something on my phone, I could just spend some time in a forest that is relatively near to me, breathing fresh air… I could… 🙂

  27. Just having this little overview of which app you're spending how much time in should be enough to make you aware that you might be wasting some precious hours on garbage. Just put the goddamn phone down and live a little.

  28. I had the samenproblem two years ago, så I got an old Nokia. After four months, I went back to my smartphone, but when that broke nine months ago, i went back to the Nokia. And it works GREAT! I can call and text the people I need to and they can get in touch with me through SMS.

  29. you have a problem. you admit you have a problem. then you make a video about how you are just not going to deal with it?

  30. humans can't stay awake fully functional/working all the time… you need your rest time (aka time wasted) as you call it… if you didn't, you wouldn't be human

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