What is the iPhone equivalent of knitting?
May 20, 2014 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I spend a lot of my day in boring but important meetings, or watching boring but important educational training videos. I get distracted and zone out quickly. I need something mindless to occupy that portion of my brain, and I'd prefer it in iPhone app form.

Lots of people knit or crochet to solve this problem, but I can't do either of those things. I could probably also buy some silly putty or something, but that gets boring after a while. Is there an iPhone app that's like knitting or crocheting, in the sense that it occupies your hands in a rote sort of way? Maybe some kind of pretty, freeform, trip toy-like, touch-responsive drawing app? Or bubble-popping, where the colors change? 2048 actually occupies too much of my brain after a certain point.
posted by woodvine to Technology (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I find mine is Fairway Solitaire Blast. Just turn the sound down.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:27 PM on May 20, 2014

People who knit and crochet in meetings don't need to look at their handiwork for the most part. They can keep their visual attention focused on the meeting. This is important to the social acceptability of knitting and crocheting in meetings.

What you're looking for, then, is an iPhone app that can be played with only occasional glances at the screen. I'm not aware of anything on the iPhone that works that way, but maybe someone else will come up with something.
posted by alms at 12:30 PM on May 20, 2014

Response by poster: I should note that I work largely from home and definitely would not have my phone out at any in-person meetings. I do need to listen, but my meetings are usually audio-only and I have nothing to look at.
posted by woodvine at 12:31 PM on May 20, 2014

Dots? It has an infinite mode that scratches a similar itch for me.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:39 PM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You might like Fingerworks for soothing finger moving about, though I don't know how quickly you'd get bored.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:43 PM on May 20, 2014

The main problem with this is that looking down at your phone, or the blue glow of a cellphone screen in a dark room, is at this point the universal signal for "NOT PAYING ATTENTION" in a way that isn't true for knitting, which you can do with your hands while fully engaging with whatever's going on around you.

That said, I have a few games I play while listening to podcasts or passively watching video that doesn't need to occupy my full concentration. My longtime favorite is Drop 7, but there's also 2048. I've recently gotten slightly addicted to Candy Crush, which in my experience doesn't have the nicely mindless quality the others have, because the Candy Crush people inserted stakes into it via timed limitation on number of turns. So you can't just whale away at it for hours like you can with other games. But it does push those mindless dopamine buttons in the brain. Better for something like waiting for a bus than passively listening to a lecture, IMO.
posted by Sara C. at 12:48 PM on May 20, 2014

Doodling will enhance your drawing skills as well as help you retain more of the information from the meeting. You could work your way up to this given the amount of time you spend in meetings.
posted by waving at 12:55 PM on May 20, 2014

I mean the advantage of knitting is you get something nice at the end, but if you don't care about doing something useful there's always conference call bingo!
posted by Wretch729 at 12:58 PM on May 20, 2014

My favorite game for this kind of opportunity is Fuzzle. It is addictive and fun but uses none of the brain-parts that you'd need for paying attention in a meeting.
posted by chowflap at 1:12 PM on May 20, 2014

Fluid Toy 2 is soothing. You can change the settings (gravity, viscosity) to get different effects (water, goo, fire).
posted by belladonna at 3:59 PM on May 20, 2014

posted by tamitang at 10:08 PM on May 20, 2014

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