Turn my iPhone into a pumpkin at midnight
May 1, 2017 2:36 PM   Subscribe

I have trouble stopping my internet usage at night so I can go to sleep. I want to remove the willpower component of putting my phone away. Ideally, I'm looking for a way to turn the screen off or turn the internet access off at a specific time (around midnight) without me doing anything.

On my laptop, I've had excellent luck using a cron script which progressively dims my screen over a 20-minute time period, then turns the screen off, then powers down the computer if I haven't already shut the lid. This makes it easy and painless to step away from the computer and go to bed. How can I replicate this functionality for my phone?

I'm hoping for some kind of feature on my phone that is like "automatically turn on airplane mode during certain hours" or "automatically turn off Safari access during do not disturb mode" (since do not disturb mode can already be set for certain hours). Other options that might useful, if they exist, are an app that dims the screen brightness and an app that makes the internet go really slowly (again, during certain hours).

This is for iPhone 6, already using NightShift but it's not enough, currently running iOS 9 but would consider upgrading and maybe even jailbreaking for this feature.
posted by danceswithlight to Technology (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I use the Moment app. It sends you annoying notifications when you exceed a daily use limit and/or during certain hours that you specify.

It's not perfect, because you can go in and turn off the daily limit and adjust the hours, as far as I can tell.

I'll be watching this thread with interest.
posted by delight at 2:39 PM on May 1, 2017

I should note that the notifications are repeating, so it's not one that you dismiss, it's one every few seconds to deter phone use.
posted by delight at 2:42 PM on May 1, 2017

If your iOS version is jailbreakable, you can easily schedule your iPhone to turn off (and back on) wifi / data at a certain time with Activator.
posted by Nerro at 3:36 PM on May 1, 2017

We set our router to turn off the wifi on kids tablets and their accounts on laptop from 9pm to 8am. On my phone I have all sorts of stuff limited to wifi only. Using NetGuard. So if wifi off and apps not allowed to use data might work???
posted by Ftsqg at 3:43 PM on May 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have relied on Freedom to successfully limit my internet use for several years. It's available for macOS & iOS. There's a trial, and at premium levels I can set whitelists of sites to visit as well as discrete schedules for iPad and Mac. When its locked mode is on, it's undefeatable on a Mac. It is possible to get around it on iOS, but it requires many steps and they seem to change a lot.


I purchased a lifetime subscription; they often run 40% or 50% sales, and even $120 was worth it for me.
posted by Jesse the K at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2017

Stop having a phone charger in your bedroom for 7 days. This means you don't fall asleep right after looking at your screen, or wake up and immediately look at your screen.

Let your phone charge in the kitchen, for a week, while you sleep.

It's a good approach to additionally use other apps to help you kick the habit. On Android I use Twilight to dim my screen, and a 'go to bed alarm' at 930pm. Combined, both remind me to kill screens and switch gears: I like light fiction, in physical book form, at night.
posted by enfa at 7:02 PM on May 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

My nephew has his phone through Verizon, his mom has parental controls set so there's no access after 10pm.
posted by Marky at 7:44 PM on May 1, 2017

Response by poster: For future readers: this thread turned me onto parental control apps, which ended up being an excellent solution for "time-based app blocker" functionality.

Currently, I'm using the free version of OurPact with a "schedule" for every day. When the schedule is active, the icons for all internet-using apps disappear from the home screen (including Safari, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger, which were my specific targets). There is a known bug where icons are out of order when they reappear; in iOS 9 you can fix this by downloading Icon Fixer. Not sure about iOS 10.

The free version of Curbi has the same functionality but seems less polished. Freedom is extremely well-done, but doesn't have a free version.

Here is a good list of various parental control apps, including surveillance apps and app blockers. There are some productivity apps that are relevant as well, but the iOS options seem to be better in the parental control app category.

Happy anti-internetting :)
posted by danceswithlight at 8:00 PM on May 16, 2017

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