Instant, the addiction-breaking app that just might work.

Charlene  |  Singapore
Published 2015-01-07 11:00:34

I am by no means addicted to my phone. Far from it. In fact, when I’m out for dinner with friends or family, I often find myself zoning out at a table full of people tapping away at their phones. But we all know that friend whose addiction is way out of control; that person with whom the only way we speak is with a phone between us.

Many apps have attempted to solve this problem by presenting — or shocking — users with statistics of their phone usage. None of them seem to have stuck, though, so I wasn’t super psyched when I came across Instant, an app developed by Indian startup Emberify. The app sells itself as a ‘lifestyle app’, and screenshots show a very simple, concise interface which I could see myself using. So I decided to check it out.

Image Credit: aboveandroid.com

Like the screenshots suggest, the interface is indeed a very pared down one without unnecessary fluff. The app opens with a screen showing you how many minutes you have spent on your phone for the day. If that’s not enough to make you turn away from your phone, you can then proceed to tap on each of the three main icons at the bottom of the screen.

Also read: Google Glass, Internet Addiction, And How To Fight It

‘Analytics’ charts your usage for the week, and I found this tab useful for providing a visual representation of my phone usage patterns. Seeing a downward trend on this weekly chart would also be pretty encouraging for users who are genuinely trying to cut down on their phone usage. A section at the bottom of this tab records the number of times you’ve unlocked your phone, which seems a nice touch but does not otherwise serve much purpose.

Image Credit: aboveandroid.com
Image Credit: aboveandroid.com

The ‘History’ tab is pretty much similar to the ‘Analytics’ tab, except usage data here is presented in text form. The third tab, though, is where things get real. Called ‘Reminder’, this tab is where you can set daily limits for yourself, as well as schedule reminders about how much of that daily limit you have left. It’s not clear what happens when this limit is exceeded, though. (Does my phone shut down?)

Overall, Instant is a very straightforward — some might say basic — app, and covers the bare necessities which might help the more determined break their addiction. This would be helpful for people who recognize that they face a serious problem, such as 28 percent of U.S. smartphone users who admitted that they are addicted to their device in a HuffPost/YouGov poll.

I would personally have liked a breakdown of what I’m using my phone for, but otherwise, the app’s easy-to-read statistics give you a very clear idea of how much time you’re spending on your phone. And that’s really all that matters, because who needs a fancy app that takes ages to figure out when you’re trying to do the exact opposite?


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