Popular Science

Our brains can't quit our gadgets—that didn't happen by accident

These are some of the design tricks that keep us hooked.
People texting at dinner

Approximately 81 percent of Americans admit to looking at their smartphones during dinner.

Deposit Photos

Google and Apple are two of the biggest technology companies in the world. They’ve made their fortunes—and gained global dominance in the process—by encouraging us to spend as much time as possible on our smartphones, laptops, and other devices. But in the spring of 2018, both companies announced plans to help users spend less time glued to their screens.

In May, Google announced it would be making over its entire suite of products, with many changes made in the name of moderation. “Great technology should improve life, not distract from it,” Google said in its announcement of a new Digital Wellbeing initiative. The upcoming Android P software update will introduce dashboards that give users daily insight into the amount of time they spend on their phone, including data broken down by specific apps. It will also allow users to set limits on how much time they get in a given app before the screen goes greyscale. YouTube, which is owned by Google, will soon have “custom breathers” that users can schedule at various intervals to remind them just how long they’ve been watching.

Meanwhile, Apple announced the , which provides similar

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