Mobility

App of the week: Moment can help rein in your smartphone addiction

We're all a bit too glued to our smartphones, and it can take a real wakeup call to make you realize you need to put it down for a while. Track your iOS-device screen time with Moment.

If you had to guess how much time you spend staring at your smartphone each day what would you estimate: An hour or two tops, right? The US average is actually more than double that: Around 4.7 hours a day.

If you sleep eight hours a day you spend about 16 hours awake, meaning roughly a third of your day is spent staring at a hypnotic, dopamine-triggering piece of glowing glass. For me that's a major wakeup call, especially considering that most of the rest of my day is spent staring at screens as well.

I'd love to lessen my dependence on my smartphone, which is where Moment comes in. This iOS-exclusive app monitors each interaction you have with your phone and gives you feedback that can be a real eye opener.

1. What Moment does

Moment runs in the background, silently making a record of each time you pick up your device, how long you spend on it, and what apps you're using. All of that info is compiled in a nice, minimal homescreen that presents a rolling average of the past several days.

See: Digital eye strain: Understanding the condition and how to fight it (TechRepublic)

Tapping a day opens up all the details about app usage, phone pickups, and other data, letting you dive deep into your bad habit.

2. How Moment is better

There are a number of apps available that track screen time, but Moment doesn't just give you reports—it's designed to help you reevaluate how you live with technology.

The app has a 14-day boot camp mode that gives simple goals each day, like putting your phone down for 30 minutes, turning off unnecessary notifications, or going for a walk and leaving your phone at home.

Moment's goal isn't to get rid of your phone—it just wants to help you be healthier about your tech habits.

Moment's interface is also worth mentioning: It's well designed, efficient, and the features are right where you would expect them to be. There's plenty of whitespace but nothing is wasted since everything on the screen can be interacted with.

3. Who should use Moment

From the email-obsessed executive to the social media-obsessed teen, everyone can get something out of Moment.

That doesn't mean using it will be simple, though. It's hard to admit that you may have a problem overusing technology, and it can be even harder to impose restrictions on yourself.

See: 4 ways to improve your time management (TechRepublic)

Those willing to commit to building better habits should check out Moment on iTunes. It's free to download and premium features are just a one-time $3.99 purchase.

Moment also has a family mode that allows parents to monitor iPhone habits and restrict how much a device can be used per day. It's a great idea if you have a family member who is underperforming due to their smartphone habit.

Family mode for Moment costs a bit, though: It's $14.99 for three months and $44.99 for a whole year. That's a bit steep, but not if you want to ensure your family is doing something other than just scrolling through Facebook or surfing the web.

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    About Brandon Vigliarolo

    Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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