Reclaim your time with parental controls

Life comes at you fast.

Brook Shelley
Mar 3, 2017 · 3 min read

Why should I?

For so many of us, 45’s presidency, regular news of death, violence, and danger, as well as work, social, and application pings are overwhelming. If you’re like me, you likely spend your day in front of computer, or near screens and get plenty of this information, but having a device alongside you all day and night that can inject sadness and interruption into every moment is too much. For some, self-control means knowing when to open or not open apps, but if you’ve ever struggled not to check Twitter, or look at your email during dinner, this guide might be for you.

Be your own parent.

Apple designed parental controls as a way for a parent to ensure their child isn’t using their iPhone or iOS device to do things they would deem inappropriate. Today, we’re going to use this feature to make sure we aren’t bombarded by apps, news, and emails.

Delete. Delete. Delete.

First, make a backup of your phone , Really. This will help if you ever want to go back to your previous state.

Next, delete. everything. Really. All your apps.* Everything that Apple lets you delete. This includes all of Apple’s built-in applications other than Settings, Camera, Safari, Messages, App Store, Find iPhone, Health, Photos, Phone, and Clock. We’ll deal with these later.

Perhaps at this stage, you think, “Wow. I feel so free!” and want to put the few Apple apps you don’t use into a folder, then move along your merry way. That’s totally fine! But if you really want to keep away from distractions, work, or whatever, keep on reading.

*You might want to keep Maps. I definitely need to use it, and don’t find it distracting to find somewhere to eat, or a way to work.

Take control.

Go to Settings, then General, then Restrictions. You should see the following screen:

Go ahead and “Enable Restrictions”. Take a deep breath. Now tap the switch next to everything. Disable Safari through In-App purchases. Don’t worry about the content section… that’s actually for kids… but take this opportunity to peruse the privacy section and take a look at what you’re sharing. It will be minimal, because the apps you’re using will be minimal, but it never hurts to read through this stuff. Below that is a section about changes for Accounts, Cellular Data Use, etc. This stuff won’t factor into what we’ll be doing with our phone.

Great success.

(Pay no heed to the extra dots at the bottom. I wasn’t able to delete everything while writing this article bc of work stuff).

Your phone should look like this now, give or take. I kept the other apps Apple won’t let me delete on another page, but perhaps you want the clock app or something like maps in the dock, or on your home screen. Doesn’t this feel good? Lookin’ minimal as hell, folks.

Enjoy your day.

This article can’t help you pay attention, talk to a therapist, claim a spiritual practice, or reach enlightenment, but at least it helps you limit what your phone can do. Maybe this helps you feel better every day, or maybe you decide that you want to add a few applications back in — you know, the good ones. *Wink* Spring cleaning feels good sometimes, but I trust adults like yourself to know what the appropriate level of limits and minimal app load-out is for you. Let me know on Twitter @brookshelley or on here how this has helped.

Brook Shelley

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