There have been multiple attempts in the past few years including from Apple and Google to help you put a leash on your smartphone usage. However, in my time with them, I’ve found that it’s incredibly easy to circumvent around their restrictions. Apple’s App Limits feature, for instance, can be temporarily postponed by simply tapping a button which can be a bit of a problem if you’re actually suffering from nomophobia. But what if all the unnecessary applications would disappear and you’re only left with the essentials?
That’s the core idea behind a new app called “NoPhone”. Pitched as a “restraining order from your phone”, NoPhone is a free Android launcher that limits your access to just three features — phone calls, navigation, and tasks. That’s it. The launcher doesn’t have an app launcher through which you can evade the firewalls whenever your inner, addict self asks you to. Since it’s a launcher, there are no one-click evacuate buttons either. Once configured as the default app, you’ll have to go through a series of steps from the settings if you wish to return to your previous, unrestrained environment.
The launcher’s design contributes to that distraction-free theme further. There are no wallpapers or widgets or even the status bar so that you don’t constantly stare at the pending notifications. It has a clear, white background with the time at the top followed by a list scribbled in big, bold letters. The list is your gateway to the only three functions you’ve access to. Apart from Directions which redirects to the navigation app of your choice, Call and Tasks even have their very own stripped down interfaces. That’s about it. The launcher doesn’t offer any customization features or settings that would let you add, for instance, WhatsApp to the home screen.
NoPhone isn’t flawless, however. For starters, I hope the developer adds the date to the home screen. In addition to that, the call feature seems to be awfully buggy and is in a desperate need of an update. Of course, NoPhone also doesn’t block your notifications which is a critical vulnerability in an app designed for people who’re unable to put down their phones.
In spite of those inadequacies, NoPhone’s ability to build an asylum in complete lockdown mode on your existing phone is an intriguing and much-needed take on curbing smartphone addiction. If you’re someone who has been struggling with this disease, I would suggest shutting off notifications for everything apart from phone calls and giving NoPhone a shot. And it’s also entirely free of cost without any in-app advertisements. You can download it for your Android phone from the link down below.