Digital Wellbeing is one of the bigger features with landed with Android 9 Pie—though it seems like Google is keeping it separate and distinct in the Pixel-only public beta. I've spent the last week using it to analyze my use patterns and place restrictions on how I use my phone, and while the tool brings together a lot of options for precise configuration, I've found the data it actually provides is a bit lackluster. But I think there are ways it can be improved. Read More
Sometimes you install an app on your phone then notice there's no direct way to launch it. This happens with launchers, which simply get triggered when you tap the Home button, and with other apps you use but don't need to access per se, such as keyboards. One newcomer in this hidden app category is Google's Digital Wellbeing, which started its beta on Android 9 Pie and hides inside your Android phone's settings menu. But what if you want to quickly access it? Now, there's an easy way to do so. Read More
Android Pie is ready to look after your digital health, but only if you let it. The suite of features that were announced as part of Digital Wellbeing at I/O 2018 finally came to life when Pie 9.0 was released earlier this week, but you had to sign up for them, wait for an email, and then join the beta to get them on your device. Now, the process is much faster. Read More
As they say, "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything." Most of us probably don't realize that there's more to the subject than just diet and exercise, and how we use our phones can have an impact, too. Once upon a time, our work/life balance was separated by real, physical distance, but thanks to the magic of mobile phones, we can all carry our work home with us in the form of life-interrupting notifications. That's not to mention social media's constant dopamine drip, which keeps us all scrolling like zombies and wasting away the best years of our life envying the lives of Instagram "influencers," or learning random, pointless facts from Reddit. Read More
Today is P-Day, ground zero for the Android 9 phone invasion, but Google has an extra health-related surprise waiting with Pie's release. The Digital Wellbeing features shown off by Google at I/O didn't make an appearance during the Android P developer previews, but a test for the health-related tools has just launched. Interested Pixel-equipped parties can enroll in the beta starting today.
In June, we found out that Facebook was developing tools to help users limit use of its social media platforms. The feature was spotted in an incomplete form in the Facebook app, and a Facebook representative confirmed that tools were coming to both Facebook and Instagram in the near future. Now, Facebook has formally announced the new features, which will be "rolling out soon." Read More
We spend a crazy amount of time looking at our phones. Tech companies seem increasingly aware of this, as many have started introducing tools to help us track and manage the time we spend with technology. Now Facebook is jumping on the bandwagon: the social network is crafting a time-management feature it's calling "Your Time on Facebook." Read More
As digital wellbeing becomes an ever more popular subject among consumers, tech giants such as Google have no choice but to increase their focus on the healthy use of our various gadgets. Android itself is getting its own suite of features to help battle smartphone addiction later this year, and the YouTube app already has a setting that reminds you to take a break.
Since its introduction last month, it's only been possible to set these break reminders for predetermined intervals — 15, 30, 60, 90, or 180 minutes — but this is changing to give us greater control. We now get the ability to choose a specific reminder frequency in hours and minutes. Read More
You would think that Google wants you on your phone as much as possible. That's where it can sell you ads and services in order to make money — that's its bread and butter. Yet Google CEO Sundar Pichai made a surprising announcement at Google I/O today. Upcoming new features in Android are going to help you get away from your phone and spend more time by yourself or with your family. Read More