Top tips for using your phone in lockdown

Your smartphone can make life easier, even when you’re stuck indoors.

07 Jan 2021

Another lockdown is upon us, but your favourite tech can help make things more bearable.

According to recent studies, the average adult spends an extra hour a day on their smartphone during lockdown. That’s fine, just as long as you’re using your time wisely and not doomscrolling (it’s a new word to describe the bad habit of endlessly surfing through worrying news). To help you avoid that, we’ve come up with a few top tips for getting the most out of your mobile over the next few weeks.


Be more mindful


One of the very best ways of using your phone during stressful times is for a spot of mindfulness. In other words, to give yourself a chance to sit somewhere peacefully, and calm your thoughts.

There are lots of good mindfulness and meditation apps out there, so head to your app store and check them out. Headspace has to be our favourite. It’s available for iPhones and Android, and it’s incredibly effective and easy to follow.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll be eased gently into the basics of meditation with a free 10-part trial. Each session lasts three, five or 10 minutes, so you can easily fit them into your schedule – even if you’re working from home all day. Once you’ve completed the free trial you can pay for a regular subscription. It’s not too expensive, and if you’re feeling the benefit it’s surely worth considering.


Turn off those stressful notifications

There are good notifications, and there are not-so-good notifications. So it’s worth taking some time to think about the ones that stress you out. Do you really need those ‘bad news’ flashes and social updates constantly pinging on your phone? If not, get rid of them - and leave your notifications for things like meditation reminders.

If you’ve got an iPhone, tap ‘Settings’ and head to ‘Notifications’. Then simply tap an app you want to hear less from, and move the slider to turn off notifications.

If you’re an Android user, swipe up on the home screen, long press on the app, go into App info, and turn off notifications.


Pay attention to your digital wellbeing

The latest smartphones now have inbuilt tools to help you look after your digital wellbeing. Search your settings for ‘Screen Time’ on iPhone, and ‘Digital Wellbeing’ on Android. They’re easy to use, and let you see how often you’re using certain apps. You can then set time limits if you think you need to cut down.

Digital wellbeing isn't just about spending less time on your phone. It’s all about making that time more meaningful and efficient. So you can get more important things done, and focus on things that matter in your life – just like the mindfulness we’ve already mentioned above!


Finally, try and save some money…


Cast your mind back to this time last year, and how you were using your phone. Chances are you were out and about a lot more, and using loads more of your monthly data to check out vids on the daily commute, scroll through social feeds at lunch time, and play Candy Crush during important work meetings.

During lockdown? Not so much. You’ll be on your home Wi-Fi most of the time, and using a lot less data. The good news is that you might be able to save some cash, or save your data for a less rainy day.

Ask your network provider if you can switch to a plan that uses less monthly data. If you’re on a month-to-month SIM only contract, this should be quite easy. If you’re out of contract, you might even want to consider switching networks to get a better deal. But if you do this, bear in mind that you’ll want to swap up for a deal with more data when lockdown has ended. Yes, it’ll happen one day soon!

Even if you’re on a long-term contract, you might be able to roll over your unused monthly data rather than losing it. Once again, it’s worth asking your network provider to see what you’re entitled to, and if they’re offering any extra assistance or perks during lockdown.

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