Going greyscale: Could this simple colourless trick cure your smartphone addiction?

We all love our smartphones, but the problem is we love them too much. We can’t seem to put the flipping things down.

But now there might be a solution. Would you be less hooked on your phone if you could make it as bland as possible?

A movement is growing among smartphone users – and it’s going grey.

Thousands of people are turning the colour off on their phones and switching to the ‘greyscale’ setting instead.

The result is a screen that looks so drab it might just help you keep your hands off your phone for a few more minutes each day.

Would you prefer your phone to look like this? (Picture: Yahoo News)
Would you prefer your phone to look like this? (Picture: Yahoo News)

Android phone users can go grey by choosing the option in their Accessibility Menu, while iPhone owners can find greyscale by selecting Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Colour Filters.


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The move to a grey screen was first popularised by tech ethicist Tristan Harris last year.

He says the grey look makes people less likely to check their Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter apps.

In an interview last year with CBS This Morning, he said: ‘Phones are like slot machines, as it operates on a reward system.

‘Sometimes you check your phone and there’s nothing there and the fact you sometimes get something and sometimes you don’t, is what makes it just like a slot machine.

We spend too much time on our phones (Picture: Rex)
We spend too much time on our phones (Picture: Rex)

‘It’s not necessarily bad, but do you want your phone to feel like a slot machine?’

Nellie Bowles, a reporter for the New York Times, wrote last week how she had turned her phone grey.

She write: ‘It’s remarkable how well it has eased my twitchy phone checking, suggesting that one way to break phone attachment may be to, essentially, make my phone a little worse.

‘We’re simple animals, excited by bright colours, it turns out.’

Thomas Z. Ramsoy, chief executive of Neurons, a Danish company which uses brain scans and eye tracking technology to study apps, told the New York Times: ‘It’s a very good idea.

‘You have to take away the sound as well.’

(Main picture: Rex)