Apps bring smartphone owners closer to their gadgets, but a new app aims at doing exactly the opposite.
A German psychologist Alexander Steinhart has built an app that allows users to move away from their smartphones for a bit. Named Offtime, the app's basic purpose is to counter the rampant phone addiction, especially on occasions when the user has some other pressing matters and can do withoutthe phone's distractions.
Once programmed, Offtime limits a smartphone's functionality for a given period, blocking unwanted calls and texts from getting through, unless of course it's an emergency.It also does the same to apps that constantly distract a user, allowing the phone owner to concentrate on the task at hand.
But instead of locking these features permanently, Offtime only does it for a predefined period. Moreover, its highly customizable options give users the liberty to keep a select few apps or contacts of utmost importance active.
A study conducted by Humboldt University found that an average user unlocks his smartphone 63 times and spends nearly three hours daily using it.
"After using the app, that number declined. Users just unplugged for at least two hours per day," Steinhart said. The app is designed to let you unplug without missing urgent matters. It lets you whitelist contacts who are able to pierce through your downtime, like your spouse or children, but otherwise shuts down apps, calls, texts, and emails.
"It can also auto-respond to incoming messages on your behalf, while maintaining a careful activity log of everything you missed while away so you can quickly catch up."