Published: Thu, January 23, 2020
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Three new tools from Google to help you put your phone down

Three new tools from Google to help you put your phone down

With these tools, you can see how you use your phone apps. Nevertheless, it's exploring ways to get you to curb your phone addiction, with the latest example coming in the form of experimental Android apps. To experience Envelope, you need to print out a specific envelope container for your device, which covers the entire phone, except for the fingerprint reader or rear camera. However for now, it's only available for the Pixel 3a and there is no indication yet they will be making it available for other devices.

The third experimental app introduced by Google is Screen Stopwatch.

Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney director Dan Auerbach said the Envelope was an "elegant solution" but didn't address the problem at the core of reducing your screen time. Measuring the time you spend on your phone isn't a new concept (plenty of apps and plugins already do that, along with. ummm. clocks), but it certainly helps to quantify the time you spend on a screen. Because the UI uses a black background, the app is battery friendly even if you keep your Pixel 3a inside the envelope all day. If you find yourself getting lost in social media for hours at a time, this could be something to consider.

The first of the three apps are 'Envelope', which is the brainchild of Google's Special Projects - Experiments division.

Android and iOS both let you turn off notifications for all apps at once or for individual apps that cause you the most problems.

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"If you can reduce notifications, that's likely to be a much better way to limit your interest in checking your phone". It also tracks which apps have been used the most and can limit the usage of a particular app during the day. It hides notifications so you can not see them on screen.

Not sure if the apps would actually manage to propel users to stop spending too much time on their phones, but they sure sound fun.

But will these digital wellbeing apps help?

Hindenburg accused Opera of "window dressing" its financial results by using the dubious loan apps to artificially prop up its struggling main browser business. If you're interested in trying out the apps for yourself, you can download them from the Play Store links below. This is done to urge you to constrain use.

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