iPhone Diary: StandBy is a great way to reduce distractions (and screen time)

I've been using the iOS 17 developer beta for a few weeks now and was about to write a review of the features I find most useful. I'll come back to this later, but there's one thing that stands out to me: StandBy.

Apple's main goal right now is to turn the iPhone into a convenient nightstand clock, but that's not the only way it's used …

What is standby?

Standby is a new feature in iOS 17. When your iPhone is turned off and you put it on the charging dock in landscape, a new display appears.

It consists of two large widgets on the left and right. By default, StandBy has the clock on the left and the calendar on the right, but you can customize it to your liking.

Just today, Macworld published a piece claiming that this feature gives us a glimpse into Apple's future product plans, and I think it's a smart approach.

Using StandB y to reduce distractions

I use the wait function as a bedside table, and in this role it is useful – especially for people like me who barely know what day of the week it is when we first open our eyes in the morning. But I found another use for it.

Most of the time, when I'm relaxing at home, listening to music or reading, my iPhone is always with me. Basically, I just have it to keep track of chat notifications. But … it can be distracting. It's very easy to just mindlessly pick up your iPhone for no particular reason, and then lose something.

Five years ago, I reduced the temptation by putting my phone on a diet of apps, notifications, and app icons.

I first decided to try the “notification diet”—drastically reducing the number of apps allowed to send me notifications. But when I started looking through the list in settings, I realized that I also have apps that I never use [so I deleted them too]. I have also disabled icons in most applications.

The only thing I don't want to miss are messages, so messaging apps should keep app icons (with some chats disabled). Temporary banners alone are too easy to miss in peripheral vision.

But I found StandBy to be perfect for this. When a message arrives, it is displayed full screen with the actual content of the message:

It's a big enough visual change to grab attention, and since it displays the message itself, I can just leave it when it's purely informational.

So if you're looking for a way to cut down on distractions or screen time at home (I don't know) don't consider my Kindle!), I highly recommend trying StandBy.

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