Now, however, there’s a new app called Flipd to help cut down on the amount of time you spend sending emails, messages, talking, swiping your way through everyone on Tinder. Whatever it is that you spend your day doing.
Of course, it’s by no means the first – there’s BreakFree, Menthal, Phone Addict and widgets like Nomophobia, among others, to help you curb your addiction – but Flipd doesn’t focus on giving you detailed stats about how long you spend using each app, it just cuts you off so you can’t.
To use it, you’ll need to log-in via Facebook or Google, and if you want to get access to all its features, you’ll also need to enable it to lock your screen via the device administrator. It walks you through how to do this if you click ‘Advanced Lock’ in the side-bar.
To give yourself a bit of downtime, you just need to hit the ‘Flip Off’ button and select how long you’d like to be locked out of your phone – you really are locked out though, so make sure you choose the duration wisely.
The only exception to this lock is the 60 Second Unlock button, which gives you one minute of use once pressed, but it can only be used once per ‘Flip Off’ session.
You can also specify up to three contacts that you can still call while mid-Flip Off, plus you can always call 911 – but that’s not a lot of use to me based in the UK.
While locked out, you can also keep control of whether you want Flipd to send an auto-responder message to anyone that contacts you. There’s a list of different ones to choose from, but you can’t change the response once the session starts.
There’s also a group Flip Off mode, whereby you can set up a group of users and control the usage of other people by starting Flip Off sessions. This option is designed more for parents who want to regulate their children’s smartphone use, rather than groups of friends. Would you want to let your friends control when you can use your phone?
No? Thought not.
Flipd might not be revolutionary, and it shows you an ad at the end of each Flip Off session (termed ‘rewards’, but they felt more like ads to me) but if you’re looking for a free and easy way to (pretty much) lock yourself out of your phone for a set amount of time then this is one way to do it.
For anyone looking specifically for the parental control features, something like TimeAway provides more options. Personally, I like the simple clutter-free UI and distinct lack of options in comparison to rivals – using an app to track how much time I spend using each app always seems counter-intuitive and isn’t a trap Flipd falls into.