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Going grayscale on iOS and Android to use your smartphone more mindfully

Android and iOS phones in grayscale side-by-side

Phantom vibration is the feeling you get when your phone vibrates in your pocket and, when you pull it out to check, it turns out it was a weird tactile hallucination. 90% of people have apparently experienced this phenomenon. Maybe you’re nodding your head.

Smartphones are little dopamine delivery machines. This fact is not lost on phone makers and app developers. Their job is to push our buttons to keep us coming back to push theirs. Phones are powerful tools at our control… but when you pull your phone out of your pocket at every micro-moment of inactivity, you can start to wonder who actually holds the power in the relationship.

There are many ways we can wrestle control back from our smartphones. As an interesting aside, there has been a bit of a resurgence in feature phone interest, which is arguably a direct response to the shiny smartphone’s near irresistible allure.

If a feature phone feels like too much of a step back (agreed), this Ting Tip is a great way to take the power back without giving up the convenience of having a tiny, powerful computer in your pocket.

One way you can make accessing your phone a more mindful activity is to switch your display to grayscale. We’ll show you how.

Going grayscale On iPhone

  1. Tap the Settings app and choose Accessibility.
  2. Select Display Text Size.
  3. Tap on Color Filters and toggle Color Filters on.
  4. Tap Grayscale.
The iPhone screen with the Grayscale feature turned on displaying the background, apps and notifications without color

Going grayscale on Android

In Android 9 and newer

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers.
  2. Tap the pen icon, locate Greyscale, tap and drag into your tiles list.
  3. Tap the icon any time to enable grayscale.

On pre-Android 9 devices

1. Open Settings.
2. Swipe down to the bottom and tap About Phone.
3. Swipe down to the bottom to find Build Number.
4. Tap on the Build Number seven times. You’ll receive a notice that you’ve enabled Developer Mode.
5. Return to Settings page.
6. Tap to open the new Developer Options settings menu item.

Now switch over to grayscale

1. Swipe down to the Hardware Accelerated Rendering section.
2. Tap on Simulate Color Space.
3. Tap on Monochromacy option.

Looking for more tips and tricks?

Start with our guide to lowering your mobile data use. We’ll show you how to make the most of Wi-Fi, unplug from your phone and save big on your bill.