For a communication tool, smartphones can be keenly attuned to preventing you from doing actual work. An iPhone may be a hub for emails, iMessages and work apps, but it’s also the place where you scroll Twitter, Instagram, Tinder and umpteenth other apps.
The good news is that Apple’s handsets also come with a bunch of features, hidden in the nooks and crannies of its various settings, which can be used to help you be more productive and fight the temptation. Here’s a list of a few.
Switch your display to greyscale
This is often recommended as a way of combating feelings of smartphone addiction, not to mention helping people with visual impairments and colour blindness, but the other side of the coin is that it could give a boost to productivity. The thinking is that, by swapping your colourful screen for a monochrome display, it can make distracting apps seem less appealing.
To activate greyscale, go to Settings | General | Accessibility | Display Accommodations | Colour Filters. Switch Colour Filters onto Greyscale and your display will turn black and white. If you’re on a deadline and want to dissuade yourself from habitually scrolling through Instagram, this could be what you need. It’s also great for feeling like an anachronistic 1940s time traveller.
VoiceOver is an accessibility feature for iOS that helps the visually impaired use their iPhone as an audio reader. As you switch between apps, and scroll, the feature explains what’s on the screen. It can also be useful if you’re attempting to multitask, making it easier to digest written information as you get on with something else.
To activate VoiceOver, go to Settings | General | Accessibility | VoiceOver and turn the feature on. If you single-tap anywhere on your screen, your phone will describe the item you’ve tapped on. You can double-tap to select a section of text, and then tap again to have it read. You can also flick left or right to move the speech from one element of the page to the next.
Change font sizes
If you’re struggling to take in a lot of information across long docs, increasing font size can make it easier for you to digest what it is you’re reading. At the very least, it could put less strain on your eyes. To change font size, go to Settings | Display & Brightness | Text Size. If you want to make fonts even bigger, go to Settings | General | Accessibility | Larger Text and tap Larger Accessibility Sizes.
Ask Siri to remember relationships
Siri can assign relationships to various people in your contact folder, which is useful if you want to command your digital assistant to call or message your manager without having to hunt down their name. You can do this orally, by talking to Siri and saying “[name of person] is my [manager, partner, boss].” You can also do this via the person’s contact card, by tapping Edit and selecting “Add related name”.
Use Find my Friends
iPhones come with a handy app called Find my Friends, which can be used to share GPS location between friends. It also works well for co-workers and associates, or even people you don’t like that much but have to go to business meetings with. Agreed to have a meeting but aren’t sure where it is, add your contact on Find my Friends, share location and it’ll make finding each other a piece of cake.
Schedule Do Not Disturb mode
Your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode will silence calls, alerts, and notifications while your device is locked, and can be a useful way to stop distractions while you’re working. It can be activated by bringing up the Control Centre and tapping the half-moon icon. You can also have your device turn it on at a scheduled time, by going to Settings | Do Not Disturb and turn on Scheduled. Pick a time, and your phone won’t interrupt you for the duration.