We’ve all been there - apps that remind us of forming good habits, that measure our online time, that eradicate news feeds, that only allow us to access certain webpages after a certain amount of time has passed, and so on. Ultimately, however, I’ve found that these apps contribute to the clutter in my digital life. These apps still demand my attention, and quickly become bothersome in themselves.
I used to wonder: Is there not a better way to use my phone responsibly? Why do I need reward systems to counterbalance the exploitative reward systems of Facebook, Quora, Youtube, etc.?
Today I can say: I don’t. I can say so because I took the step many of us have probably thought about, but few actually follow through with. Several times I uninstalled the apps that I spent too much time on, only opening the mobile version of these websites in my browser if I really needed to use them. But, it turned out I’d just keep the tabs with my favorite websites open on my phone, the extra hurdle I’d imagined would lessen my mindless surfing time just adding to the total time I didn’t do the things I actually wanted to. And so, I drew the logical conclusion of all of this - get rid of my access to them entirely.
I uninstalled all browsers on my phone.
“But you can’t do that!”, people cried. “What if you need to google something?” It has become unimaginable for many not to have an access to the internet at all times. My experience over the past half a year, however, has been that removing the browser on my phone was the right decision. The truth is that many things don’t need immediate googling. Something interesting in a conversation that you want to read more about? Take a note and look it up at home. Want to read reviews of a restaurant you’re about to enter? Look for physical cues and trust your instinct.
What about the things you really need help with in that moment though? That’s where apps come back in. There are apps for the most important things you need to do on your phone - maps, texting, high quality journalism, e-mails, Wikipedia. And, best of all, for most of these apps, there are privacy conscious options to choose from.
So, let me sum this up into two simple steps to take:
- Remove all apps that you don’t need when on-the-go.
- Delete your phone’s browser to remove the web-version back-door access to the apps you deleted.
Have you ever deleted your browser? What was your experience?