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Overcoming Social Media Addiction Leveraging iPhone Features: A Personal Journey

Manish Kumar
5 min readFeb 17, 2024

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In today’s connected world, more and more people are finding themselves addicted to social media, which can eat into their productivity and peace of mind. I faced this problem too, especially during my final university year when Facebook was taking up a lot of my time. It took me two years to overcome this habit.

At first, I tried to stop using social media through sheer willpower. But willpower doesn’t always work in the long run. It was fine on good days, but on bad days, it wasn’t enough to keep me away from social media.

In his book “Atomic Habits," James Clear presents a better way to break bad habits. He outlines a four-step process:

  1. Make it invisible: Get rid of anything that triggers your bad habit.
  2. Make it unattractive: Focus on the benefits of not doing your bad habit.
  3. Make it difficult: Make your bad habit hard to do.
  4. Make it unsatisfying: Make sure you see the drawbacks of your bad habits.

When I was trying to stop using social media, especially Facebook, I focused on steps 3 and 4. I deleted the apps from my phone and reminded myself of the peace of mind I’d get from not using social media. But this wasn’t enough to completely break the habit.

Then, in 2018, Apple introduced a feature called Screen Time. This lets you set a timer on your apps, limiting how long you can use them. But the real turning point came when they added a passcode feature to override the timer.

Let’s look at how I used these iPhone features to help me stop using unproductive apps:

Scenario 1: I deleted very unproductive apps like Facebook and Instagram from my phone. This led to a big drop in usage because it took effort to use these services in a web browser or to reinstall the apps.

Scenario 2: Some apps, like WhatsApp, Twitter, and YouTube, are both useful and addictive. I put a timer on these apps, which cut down on the amount of time I spent on them.

Scenario 3: To make the timer even more effective, I added a passcode. To make it even harder to cheat, I had someone else set the passcode. In my case, I asked my wife.

Scenario 4: I blocked websites that were somewhat useful but very addictive using a feature on the iPhone called web restriction.

Through this journey, I learned that managing social media use is not just about self-control but also about understanding and managing our habits. Tools like the iPhone’s Screen Time feature can help us take control of our time and productivity.

Steps to set app limits without a passcode

  • Navigate to ‘Screen Time’ from settings
  • Select ‘App Limits’
  • Choose ‘Add Limit’
  • Select the app you want to restrict
  • Set the timer. After setting the timer, an option to customize it day-wise will appear

Set an app limit with a passcode:

  • Navigate to “Lock Screen Time Settings”
  • Set your Screen Time password
  • Skip the option to enter your iCloud password
  • Proceed to “App Limits.”
  • Select an app where you already have a limit.
  • You will be asked to enter the passcode you just set to alter the settings.
  • You will now see an option named “Block at End of Limit.”. If you enable this option, you won’t be allowed extra time after the timer is over. If someone else sets this passcode for you, it becomes impossible to use the app beyond the time limit.
    For example, I have enabled this for YouTube but disabled it for WhatsApp because sometimes I need to reply beyond the timer on WhatsApp.

How to Add Restrictions to Websites

  • Navigate to Settings > Screen Time
  • Select “Content & Privacy Restrictions”
  • Choose “Content Restrictions”
  • Select “Web Content”
  • Enable the “Limit Adult Websites” option
  • Add the desired website

Final Thoughts

I’ve discussed various scenarios where you might become addicted to certain counter-productive or semi-productive apps and how to overcome this addiction. Depending on your level of control, you can configure your phone to make browsing these apps more challenging.

I recommend initially uninstalling semi-productive apps. However, if you find them necessary in the future, you can reinstall them. Just ensure that you set a usage timer.

In a world where every company strives for your attention, don’t let them easily consume your valuable time. Self-control is ideal, but it isn’t always effective. Therefore, I recommend James Clear’s approach.

These strategies can also assist individuals in maintaining control over adult content browsing.

Although I enjoy sharing my experiences to help others going through similar phases of life, I primarily write about productivity and healthy lifestyles. If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, please follow and subscribe. If you find my content helpful, show your appreciation by giving me a clap. Your support encourages me to create more!

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Manish Kumar

Sharing wisdom on how to become best version of yourself. Topic includes physical/mental fitness and food habits. Reading, writing, meditating along the way!