How to block distractions on your phone

Smartphones have often been called the new cigarettes because of their addictive nature. But smartphones aren’t as easy to limit (and aren’t even half as cool) as cigarettes. It’s full of distractions like games and social media, but it’s also very useful. Many of us rely on our smartphones to look up important (and not-so-important) information, contact friends, get directions, take photos, and even pay for goods and services. doing. How do we balance the benefits of smartphones with the devilish distractions that fill our heads with nonsense and steal time away from those around us?

The market has responded with numerous solutions. light phone We aim to recreate the best parts of your smartphone while eliminating distractions. Some people try to go back to flip phones. Many of my friends have tried things like this, but they never seem to stick. The smartphone ecosystem is chock-full of useful tools that these products can’t match, and many of them are also great cameras. I have so many wonderful photos of my children that I wouldn’t have been able to see without my iPhone.

Apple and Google have introduced their own solutions. Apple’s answer is called “Screen Time,” but it’s a feature designed to look good on paper, but doesn’t work in real life. If he has set a daily limit on apps such as Facebook,[制限を無視]You can easily bypass restrictions by just tapping . Whatever Apple’s intentions, the company is encouraging users to use their iPhones as much as possible.


A startup wants to improve on Apple’s foundations by putting in place self-imposed screen limits that aren’t easy to ignore. brick. Brick is both a hardware and software product.

  • brick app Works with Apple’s Screen Time feature to lock users away from distracting apps.
  • Brick, yes Brick, is a $49 hardware device used to “brick” and “unbrick” your iPhone.

The app is free and subsidized by purchasing the required Brick hardware. The device itself is surprisingly simple. This is a small 3D printed box with an NFC tag and a magnet inside. It has magnets so you can stick the Brick to your refrigerator.

josh centers

If you want to lock out distracting apps, open the Brick app, tap the Brick button, and place the tip of your iPhone on the Brick. Similarly, if you want to unblock your iPhone, repeat this process.

Although it is possible to bypass this lockout without using brick hardware, there is a catch. That means using one of the five emergency umbrics. The app is also smart enough to detect if you’ve done things like turn off Screen Time to avoid being bricked, and it will count towards unbricking in an emergency.

We asked the company what happens when Emergency Unbrick runs out, and they say you can completely delete the Brick app. However, setting the Brick app to Strict mode will remove all workarounds. In that case, you can contact Brick or purchase another Brick device to unlock your iPhone. TJ at Brick said it may offer additional emergency unlocks as in-app purchases in the future.

You can use the same block for every iPhone in your house. In fact, according to the company, all Bricks are replaceable, so you can block his iPhone at home and unblock it at a friend’s house.

I’ve been testing Brick for a few weeks and it’s been very effective. Before going to bed, he can block his iPhone to lock himself out of the usual doom-scrolling apps like Facebook and X. You wake up, walk downstairs, go to the fridge, and unblock your iPhone, but it’s usually not worth the hassle. So you end up doing something more constructive, like reading on a Bible app.

However, Brick has some pitfalls and drawbacks to be aware of.

Troublesome to set up

To set up your brick, select 50 apps. These apps can either be the only apps available when the iPhone is bricked (allow list), or the only apps not allowed when the iPhone is bricked (block list). You can create multiple app lists, but the allow/block list distinction applies to all apps. However, you can change whether you allow or block apps in the list at any time.


If you want to block a few apps that are particularly distracting, it’s okay to use the block list option. Another advantage of the block list option is that it allows you to block websites, which you cannot do if you select the allow list.

However, if you really want to “brick” your iPhone semi-stupidly, using an allow list is the only way. But the problem is figuring out exactly which of his 50 apps you need, and this is a process of trial and error. I can’t tell you how many times I blocked my phone only to realize I needed an important app, like a banking app, and had to unblock her iPhone to add it to the app list. yeah.

I think I finally understand this, but the other problem is that distracting websites are still a problem.

Blocking Safari isn’t easy

If you use the allowlist option, you cannot block websites. To make matters worse, you can’t even add Safari to your list of apps due to Apple restrictions. Many social networks these days have very rich mobile web apps like X, and we’re just as obsessed with Safari as we are with native apps. This is another example of how inefficient Apple’s Screen Time is designed to be.

Thankfully, Brick’s developers have provided a workaround to block Safari, but it’s a bit of a hassle. Use the built-in Shortcuts app Add an automation that detects when an iPhone is bricked and sends it to the Brick app when Safari opens.

Unfortunately, this is probably scary for non-technical people. And there’s another problem. What if you actually need a web browser to look up something?

I found a good solution for it. I simply use the Google and Perplexity apps to look up random things. In-app browsers are not suitable for web apps, so you can access knowledge instantly while avoiding getting sucked into the online drama.

Actually you need to remember how to use

Besides Apple’s own limitations, Brick’s drawbacks include: you. In reality, you have to remember to brick your iPhone, which can be difficult. It’s not intuitive to intentionally disable a device you’ve spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on. And because these social media apps, games, and other distractions are fun and entertaining, we can’t escape them.

Brick is about to do something very difficult. It’s about overcoming our own lack of discipline. If we had better control over ourselves, we wouldn’t need such devices, or at least we could use Apple’s Screen Time to monitor our screen time.

Brick certainly makes things easier, at least after the initial setup. But at the end of the day, the flaw is in us and our passions, and that’s being ripped off by tech companies with teams of psychologists tasked with making their apps as addictive as possible. It is.

Devices like Brick help us with our weaknesses. Kudos to the team behind it, but it’s ultimately a crutch. Crutches are convenient, but you don’t have to fumble around forever. Rather, they are tools to help heal broken parts. At best, a brick may become a crutch to help ease the burden of your passions until you are strong enough to walk independently.