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How to Practice Digital Minimalism with Your iPhone

iPhone helps you stay away from the screen as well as be productive

Photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash


What actually comes to your mind when you hear the term “phone”? If you were asked this question a couple of decades back, you would probably say a “phone” is a device that we use to communicate with one another. But if this was asked somewhere between 2000–2005, you may see the “phone” in a different aspect rather than what the previous generation saw in a couple of decades back.

It was not another device which you keep at home such as the computer, radio and it was kind of a mobile device where you can take it with you. But once the iPhone was introduced to our world, this concept changed completely. The “phone” became a device which we use not only to talk to other people but also we use as our personal computer with an inbuilt camera and capable of setting into our pocket quite comfortably.

Today we don’t actually use the term “phone” and now it’s the multitasking “iPhone” which we spend most of our time during the day. So, no matter, whether you’re a student, graduate, research intern or a kind of employee, you know the benefits you gain by using an iPhone.

[It doesn’t matter whether you’re not using an iPhone and you’re sticking into some other brands, you know how much these smartphones are essential in today’s world. Since this article is all about Apple iPhones, I will be only talking about the benefits, features and feasibility of using an iPhone]

Let’s get started and see how your iPhone helps you to practice digital minimalism and make you stay focused on your work. In this article, I will be mainly talking about different features on the iPhone that help you to keep yourself away from the iPhone screen while you work and how to get the best out of those features.

1. Do Not Disturb (DND)

DND plays a major role in every iPhone and it’s very useful in day to day life. Especially if you’re a student, you can turn on DND while you’re in a class, lecture or lab to get rid of the distractions from your iPhone.

What DND basically does is, when you turn this feature on, it will turn off the WiFi, Bluetooth of your iPhone and silence all calls and notifications. But if you need to receive important calls and calls from your family members, you can add those contacts to the favourite list and allow receiving their calls while you’re in DND turned on. Also, you can manually turn on WiFi and Bluetooth once again if you really need to get them functioning.

Suppose you’re in class and you need to google more information about what your lecturer said and at that time you can turn WiFi on and search for the necessary information without getting distracted from other notifications which you usually get. Actually, DND helps us to keep ourselves away from the iPhone and allow us to fully focus on our work. But it won’t restrict you from achieving your freedom and it always gives you an option to choose what functionalities you really need.

There are more options DND brings to you and I will briefly list them out as below.

  • You can schedule the Do Not Disturb and let it automatically activate for the time period you select.
  • You can select whether the DND silent calls & notifications every time you use the iPhone or silent them only while your iPhone is locked.
  • As I mentioned earlier you can still receive the important calls while DND is activated; so what you have to do is add those contacts to the favourite list and allow that list in the “Allow Calls From” section.
  • You can set DND to activate automatically on different occasions such as you’re driving your car and your iPhone is connected to the Car Play.
  • You can send auto-replies for those who called you while DND is turned on.

Likewise, you can get these benefits from your iPhone via the DND feature and keep focusing on your work or studies. This really helps you to practice digital minimalism and be more productive with the other stuff too. If you’ve not yet used this feature on your iPhone, give it a try and use it for a couple of days and you will realise how important this feature is.

2. Screen Time

A general user might use an iPhone about 2–3 hours a day[these figures can be changed according to the usage of different users] but if you used to watch Apple Tv+ movies, tv-series and stream music on Apple Music, Spotify more often, then these figures will obviously change.

You can see your daily, weekly iPhone usage using Screen Time on your iPhone. This is a really nice feature that let you practice digital minimalism while limiting unwanted apps and their notifications[If you’re using multiple Apple devices, this can be enabled on those devices and share the information].

Screen Time basically provides different functionalities such as Downtime, App Limits, Communication Limits, Always Allowed and Content & Privacy Restrictions. First, we will briefly look into these functionalities and then see how these are important for us to practice digital minimalism and continue our work more productively.

  • Downtime -this allows the user to set a schedule to stay away from the iPhone and only the apps and phone calls selected by the user will be allowed during that period.
  • App Limits -using App Limits you can set daily time limits for different apps and app categories. The user can limit the entire app category such as Social, Games or only a single app such as Facebook, YouTube and allow them to be functioning only during that time limit[ex: you can set the App Limit for Facebook app and give it only 15 minutes a day and once that 15 minute time exceeds you’ll not be able to use the Facebook app and you won’t get any notification. But if you really need to use it after the allocated time, you can select ignore the limit and use it once again as before].
  • Communication Limits -this helps you to select who you can communicate with during the allowed time. Also, in this section, you can select which contacts you would be allowed during the Downtime.
  • Always Allowed -in this section, you can select the apps that you want to function always even during the Downtime.
  • Content & Privacy Restrictions -this lets you block or disable irrelevant content.

The objective of using Screen Time on your iPhone is to make yourself aware of your daily usage and limit the apps and their notifications to mitigate the distractions you receive while you study or work.

So, in this way, you can set limits for your different apps and avoid being distracted while you work and continuing this would definitely help you to practice digital minimalism and stay focused on what you do.

3. Bedtime

As we know, proper sleep will always help us to recover from stress and help to fix damages in our minds. Whether you’re a student, employee or CEO of a company you know and already have experienced how sufficient sleep is important to both our health and our work or studies.

In today’s world, we spend most of our time with all these digital devices and digital screens. Therefore, having a night of proper sleep is really essential to our body. Sometimes people would say 3–4 hours of sleep is enough and you might have seen videos on YouTube that some are showing working 15–20 hours continuously. This can be true for some occasions such as when you’re heading to a final exam, you’re working on a project submission or you’re fixing a bug/defect in your code. But in general scenarios, it’s recommended to have 6–8 hours of sleep(this varies according to the people’s age and different stages in life) and it will obviously make you more comfortable with your studies or work on the following day.

Let’s see how the Bedtime feature on your iPhone help you to have a night of proper sleep. You can set up Bedtime either on the Clock app or the Health app on your iPhone. You can set up your Bedtime schedule according to your preference and once you set it up it will turn on Do Not Disturb during that time period and dim your lock screen to minimise the distractions[but still you can receive important phone calls after you set them allowed].

Also, you can set up a Wind Down which reminds you of the Bedtime schedule a few minutes before it actually starts. This will help you to settle all your work and get ready for bed. Suppose you set the Wind Down for 15 minutes and your Bedtime schedule starts at 10 pm. Once you reached 9.45 pm, you will get a Bedtime reminder and activate the sleep mode to reduce distractions. Wind Down allows adding apps and shortcuts to your lock screen which can help you relax before bedtime.

Once the Bedtime activates you can keep your iPhone away and have a proper sleep 😴

Likewise, the Bedtime feature on your iPhone makes you comfortable for the next day work avoiding distractions to your sleep.


These are the features that I actually wanted to point out and talk about. I, myself personally get benefits from these features on my iPhone. So, I wrote this article with my experience and I know how much they’re helpful for me to achieve my goals.

So, I invite you to have some experience with these features on your iPhone and if you’re using some other brands, definitely they will also provide such features to help you reduce the distractions from your smartphone. All you need to do is, google and see how these features work on your device and their compatibility with the device you use.

Also, don’t forget to let me know your experience and how you benefited by using these features on your iPhone in the response section below👇

Thank you for reading!

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Kalhara Randil Tennakoon

Kalhara Randil Tennakoon

Technical Writer | DevOps | Python | Software Engineering |

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