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Minimalist Phones & Hating On Smartphones: A Natural Reaction to Digital Overload

Recently, I’ve noticed more and more “minimal phone” concepts popping up. The Light Phone, the e-ink phone from Hisense, and even YouTubers modifying their iPhones to the point where they can hardly use most of their features. I think it’s a natural reaction against what phone use has become, and the septic waste splashing into our faces almost every time we open our smartphones.

Let’s start with the obvious. With an average screen time of 4 hours a day, the body must produce a reaction. The horrible thrill-seeking content spiced up with death, gore, war footage, and news updates paired with disgusting narratives aiming to polarize humanity in every possible way make it increasingly tiring to enjoy phone use. Thankfully, I have been aware of this for years, and I manage to keep my screen time under 1 hour daily, including short video meetings, WhatsApp, and email.

My Minimal Phone Requirements

The main features I need are:

  • NFC Payment: Quick and secure transactions on the go.
  • A Good Camera: To capture moments with my son.
  • Email and WhatsApp: For essential communication.

The rest can wait until I sit down at my desk. Complex tasks are far more efficiently handled on my laptop with multiple screens.

Embracing Greyscale Mode

Talking about screens, for a few weeks now, I’ve been using my mobile in greyscale mode. Once I had to turn the colors back on, and I was shocked at how vivid they were. When you get used to greyscale, you won’t notice the difference, but the colors were so saturated I almost got dizzy. I’m sure they do it purposefully, to keep you looking at the screen rather than the real world around you.

The Benefits of Minimal Phone Use

I think the concept of using our phones less is fantastic, and I am happy to encourage everyone to reduce their phone use to a necessary minimum. Here are some benefits:

  • Reduced Stress: Less exposure to negative content can significantly reduce stress and anxiety.
  • More Productivity: Fewer distractions mean more focus on important tasks.
  • Better Sleep: Reduced screen time, especially before bed, can improve sleep quality.
  • Enhanced Real-Life Interactions: More time to engage with the world and people around you.

The Viability of Digital Detox Phones

I am not sure about the long-term viability of digital detox phones, as occasionally you might need the features of a smartphone. However, the push towards minimal phone use is a step in the right direction. It’s about finding a balance that works for you – using your phone for essential tasks and limiting exposure to the constant stream of content that can overwhelm and polarize.


The rise of minimal phones is a natural and healthy reaction to the overwhelming nature of modern smartphone use. By reducing screen time and focusing on essential functions, we can reclaim our time and mental well-being. Whether through greyscale mode, setting screen time limits, or considering a minimal phone, every small step towards reducing phone use can make a big difference. Let’s embrace this movement and encourage a healthier relationship with our digital devices.

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