How to turn your iPhone gray -- and why

To curb smartphone addition, should parents drain the color from their kids' phones?

From Is the Answer to Phone Addiction a Worse Phone? in Saturday's New York Times: 

“You don’t buy black-and-white cereal boxes, you buy the really stimulating colored one, and these apps have developed really cool tiles, cool shapes, cool colors, all designed to stimulate you,” Ms. McKelvey said. “But there’s a vibrant world out there, and my phone shouldn’t be it.”

She decided to make the switch to gray as well. But it was tricker than she expected.

“It took like 40 minutes to figure it out. They buried the setting,” she said. “You have to really want to do it.”

Here's how (from Lifehacker):

In iOS 10, go to Settings > General > Accessibility >Display Accommodations >Color Filters. Switch Color Filters on and select Grayscale. To easily toggle between color and grayscale, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut > Color Filters. Now, you just press the home button three times to enable grayscale. Triple-click again to go back to color.

The idea comes from former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris, who made the media rounds last summer, long before the California State Teachers Retirement System asked Apple to make it easier to parents to curb iPhone use.


  1. Jonathan Mackenzie said:
    I wondered if she also watched black and white TV. I tried to click in the article to read it, but unfortunately it was in black and white and I quickly lost interest.

    January 13, 2018
  2. David Drinkwater said:
    Yup. It’s definitely Apple’s job to make sure no-one wants to use (or buy) its products.

    There’s a book on manufacturing (effectively) entitled “The Goal”. In summary:

    “The Goal is to make the products that our customers want to buy.”

    It’s just not that complicated.

    January 13, 2018
  3. Fred Stein said:
    What about the “OMG” addiction?

    People are addicting to blaming, to “OMG’ing”. In TV, if it bleeds it leads. In print, the story generally has to expose someone or something, general the ‘other’, or the big.

    January 13, 2018
  4. John Kirk said:
    Can we stop using the term “Smartphone Addiction?” I use my car a lot, but I’m not addicted to it. I use my microwave a lot, but I’m not addicted to it. I might be addicted to my heater in the winter and my air conditioner in the summer because I wouldn’t want to live without them. But I doubt either qualifies as an addiction.

    Two things:

    First, there is ZERO evidence that anyone is addicted to their phone. Please show me a single study, then have it peer reviewed, then have it replicated, and I’ll start to take this all seriously. Until then, I’ll just treat this as another example of people panicking over new technology. It’s been going on for a very long time and I doubt it’s going to stop anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean we should encourage it.

    Second, phones are useful. Really, really useful. We’re not addicted to our phones, we’re addicted to doing stuff we like to do and need to get done. Phones are sort of a swiss army knife device, without the drawbacks. They do a whole bunch of things really, really well. OF COURSE we use our phones a lot. We’d be fools not to take advantage of a tool this powerful, this versatile and this useful.

    January 15, 2018

Leave a Reply