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Grayscale your phone, Colour your life

Do you find yourself spending too much time on your phone? Constantly checking your phone every 5 minute even when there’s no notification coming through. You know, those moments when you’re in a social situation where you reach out to your phone as a refuge from the intense awkward air in the room because you’re out of your wit to partake in these human interactions. Well you can’t entirely blame your anxiety for making you addicted to your phone. The design of the phone itself is one of the main factors for this compulsive phone-checking behaviour. Most phones particularly smartphones nowadays had arrived to a technological stage where their hardware and software are designed in a way that encourage the maximum usage of the device by the users. The screen on your phone is just so beautiful to look at with its pixel-packed vibrant display making the behaviour of unlocking your phone and swiping through the homescreens mindlessly as a habit when you find yourself in a state of uncertainty or anxiety. The design of the user interface with its smooth transition and animation makes you feel like swiping all day. Not to mention the texture of the alluring aluminium and glass body of your phone as you hold them in your palm. It’s satisfying. We’re going to look at how and why you can take control of your impulsive behaviour with your phone by simply turning the screen of your phone grayscale.




Make Your Phone Less Interesting

When you grayscale your phone, you’re stripping away the power of the spectacle on your phone. The vibrant colour that beautify your screen now left your screen bare to its function; aesthetic deprived. Our desire to consume aesthetics with our phone is at least nullified by turning them bland with grayscale mode. Being in the Moment

Hence, we redirect our source for aesthetic from our phone to the moment we’re in. Your surrounding becomes more colourful with the psychology of contrast, when one colour is toned down, another is brought up. Our sensory experience is elevated to its potential. We become more aware of our experience of the world in the moment. The ambiance in the room you’re in is embodied more; the aroma of the coffee, the sound of the rain, the movement of people. Our relationship with people is also improved as we start to notice the social cues as we are now noticing the nuances of body language of the people around us that signal emotional needs and expectations. Empathy towards fellow human being is enhanced.

Encourage Reading

As images become dull, you are more likely to consume text-based media on your phone. This provides a lower barrier to reading on your phone. There are a variety of apps on the market both on iOS and Android that cater reading, ranging from casual to intense read. For me personally, I moved from mindless scrolling through Instagram feeds to reading valuable insights on Quora after turning my phone grayscale for example. The amount of values you get from reading is endless for your personal growth. Check out this post to learn more about why you should start cultivating reading habits in this age of social media.

Psychology of Colour

The reason why grayscaling your phone works in tackling your phone addiction is because the experience of colour is fundamentally psychological.

Alluring Notification

For instance, when you received your notification on your phone, you would notice the bright red badge sitting on the corner of your application icons signifying urgency. It brings your attention into an immediate response to click on the app and see the notification details. Then, you realise you already spent 30 minutes on your phone as you are being lured into the app even deeper just because of that one notification. This attention-grabbing persuasion from the notification is reduced when the bright red badge is a plain grey spot on the application icon. Your mind sees no urgency on delving into the application despite the badge count. Awareness on your priority is now restored by making this colour adjustment to your phone. You decide what is important and urgent, not the notification.



Bluetick Anxiety

Ever since major messaging apps pushed the read receipt feature on their platform, users are able to track the status of the message they sent whether it has been read or not. In certain situations, it does help to know the read status of our messages, however that also means your read status can also be tracked. If you value your privacy on your read status, perhaps you’re someone who reads messages and reply later (procrastinator alert). Then it would be wise to turn the feature off which is available in the settings menu on most messaging platform. However, if you have an insecure partner, I won’t encourage you to turn the feature off as they will question your actions and assume you’re trying to avoid them or hiding something from them. This is mainly trust issue, we can cover that in a different post. So, if you’re in this situation, yet you still want to alleviate yourself from the bluetick anxiety, then grayscaling your phone is your best bet.

Don’t leave your partner on a blue-tick.


Enabling the Grayscale Mode on Your Phone

Here is how you enable grayscale mode on your iPhone, this applies to iOS 10 or above:

  1. Go to your settings application

  2. Open General

  3. Open Accessibility

  4. Open Display Accommodations

  5. Open Colour Filters

  6. Toggle Colour Filters on and select Grayscale

Enable grayscale mode on your Android device here.





Quick Toggle Between Grayscale Mode and Colour Mode

By this point, you’re convinced that you can be more in control of your phone usage by enabling the grayscale mode. However, there are times when you just need to have colour when you use your phone. For example, when you need to capture the moments with your camera app and reviewing them in the photo app. When it comes to images you capture, you would want to make sure the colours are in a condition that you prefer them to be for your later viewing or post-production. Here is how you enable the quick toggle between grayscale mode and colour mode on your iPhone, this applies to iOS 10 or above:

  1. Go to your settings application

  2. Open General

  3. Open Accessibility

  4. Open Accessibility Shortcut

  5. Set Colour Filters on

  6. Triple-click Home button ( Side button for iPhone X and above)

  7. Toggle Colour Filters on and off



Conclusion It’s just a few clicks away from making your phone a tool instead of you being used by your phone as a tool for artificial intelligence to perform data gathering (which is acceptable when you are conscious of it). By turning your phone gray, you are conscious of this invisible digital force that can inundate your control over your interaction with the digital world when left unchecked. It is not proposed here that digital consumption is diabolical, in fact the digital realm has significantly aided the society today to retrieve information quicker than it has ever been in the history of mankind thanks to the data-rich reservoir that internet made accessible for us. It is more of a suggestion to be more intentional with how we navigate our focus in life between the digital and the physical. By turning your phone grayscale, you have a higher tendency to be more conscious of the importance in balancing your focus between these two realms.

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