5 Ways to Have a More Mindful Relationship With Your iPhone


Living in this glorious era of mobile technology, it would be ideal if our technology were set up to help us use our time more efficiently; a tool we control, rather than the other way around (ie. becoming a digital zombie). Here are 5 ways to have a more mindful relationship with your iphone:

1. Create a Minimalist Home Screen

Think about the wave of messages, alerts, and notifications you are greeted with when you unlock your iPhone. Rather than opening your phone to a bombardment of notifications, why not create a clutter-free space in which you encounter only the things you need? You can do this by tactfully organizing your home screen.

First, sort your apps into 3 categories:

Apps sorted by category

• Tools (ie. maps, calendar, Uber)
• Aspirations – things you’d like to spend more time on (iBooks, Podcasts, Duolingo, Fitness Apps), and
• Bottomless Pits – any app that might unintentionally distract you, and doesn’t have a specific purposes or beginning and end (email, social media, etc). You can organize these categories however works for you. One way is to leave the essentials or tools on your home screen, and make folders for the other apps.

See  the image on the left to see what mine looks like. I put my most practical apps in my “anytime folder” (ie. calendar, banking, Uber). Apps I’d like to use on a limited basis went into the “3X a day” folder (ie. Facebook, Instagram). Miscellaneous apps were placed into the “extras” folder. After playing around with this idea, I ended up leaving my home screen blank. On the second page I put the necessity type apps (weather, clock). Then, I put the three folders on the third page. Overall, the idea is to have your things arranged more intentionally to prevent a sense of “visual overload” when you pick up your phone.

2. Make The Control Center Work for You

We’ve all gotten sucked into that downward spiral where we grab our phone to do one quick thing, then all of a sudden 45 minutes of aimless browsing and swiping have gone by. To prevent cameras or alarm clocks from becoming a gateway to wasted time, open these apps without unlocking your phone. You can do this by simply swiping up to access the control center. It’s faster to open apps this way, and you won’t encounter that tempting home screen. (image of control center from Mac Rumors)

3. Set Notifications to People Only

image of notifications set to email, text, and people only

Kelly Hodgkins over at Drippler shows us what this looks like.Think about it. It makes sense to stop what you’re doing when someone needs to reach us. But wouldn’t it be nice if you responded to everything else on your own terms?

For example, you can schedule times for checking email or social media, and limit these times to 3x a day (or whatever number you deem reasonable). I can imagine this one takes some practice.

*These first 3 suggestions are courtesy of Tristan Harris, Google Design Ethicist, and Stephen Cognetta’s posting on HackerNoon.

Now that we’ve covered some quick fixes, here are a couple ideas that require some time.

4. Download and App Geared Toward Mindful Phone Use

Yes – there’s an app for that! Check out the Gadget Hack’s recommendations. I’m personally interested in giving the “Forest” app a whirl.


5. Use Your Phone to Practice Meditation


If you find yourself wanting to work on mindfulness  (which has mental and physical benefits) check out “The Best Meditation Apps of 2017“. Headspace is a personal favorite; great for meditation newbies.

All in all, even a small change is a step towards more using technology more effectively, and meaningfully.

Let us know if you’ve tried any of these strategies!