Google announced "Wind Down" mode for Android P last month at its I/O developers conference, which turns a display to gray scale as bedtime approaches, in addition to muting notifications. If you've been using Night Shift on iOS and/or your Mac, you know just how much of a difference limiting the amount of blue light your screen emits affects your mental state. Killing the color can have an even bigger impact.
Allow me to explain. Four months ago Engadget features editor Aaron Souppourris knew I was looking to fight distractions on my phone and tipped me off that iOS had a built-in grayscale feature. Its intended for folks who are colorblind (the setting is hidden in the display accommodations page). But I have full vision and its potential benefits to everyone are readily apparent. Activated, it cuts down visual clutter dramatically. It's been months since a bright red flag on my home screen has made me forget the original reason I unlocked my phone.
The thing is, activating the feature can be kind of a pain. At first when I was using the grayscale option, I'd have to dive back into the settings and tap through five different menus just because I wanted to scroll through Instagram in full color.
I was dedicated, but it was incredibly inconvenient. Then I discovered I could set an accessibility shortcut to the iPhone home button, and go from grayscale to color with a triple-tap. That's right, iOS already has an easy way to activate the feature, and it probably would've been incredibly simple to implement it in the refreshed Do Not Disturb mode. For some reason, Apple just doesn't seem to recognize the value (yet).
Apple has shamelessly copied Google Photos for sorting and sharing features, so you've got to wonder why Cook and Co. stopped short with Do Not Disturb.
Your phone is designed to make you look at it, and app designers labor tirelessly over what color choices will be both pleasing to the eye and hold your attention. It's why red notification flags are so ubiquitous in our digital lives. When the next version of Android is released, not only will it tackle how often your phone buzzes in your pocket, but how it visually stimulates your brain, too. As someone who's operating their phone in Do Not Disturb all day with grayscale turned on, I can say it's made a bigger difference for me than Night Shift or iOS' bedtime reminder ever did.
iOS 12 will also offer a dashboard similar to Google's that gives you a window into how much you've used each app. Time "allowances" for apps are incredibly welcome, but can easily be pushed away without any form of punishment. Well, aside from knowing that your will is weak and you lack self-control.