Addicted To Our Devices

This began as a story about being addicted to smartphones but ended up being about notifications in iOS 5 instead. A recent article from CNN claims that we are addicted to our smartphones and launches a list of reasons and symptoms to support his claim, and finally gives a solution – lock your devices up in another room when you go to bed.

Seriously, if you are losing out on sleep because of a temptation to “check your devices,” I suppose you really do have addiction issues and probably should remove that temptation. Not being someone who is addicted probably makes me more cynical and critical of those who are.

I value my sleep and refuse to let any of my devices interfere with my slumber time. My devices are there to serve me, I’m not a slave to them. Both my iPad and iPhone are on my nightstand all night. The iPad ends up resting there because I read before going to bed. A simple flip of my mute switch ensures the device won’t be interrupting my rest. The iPhone stays next to me for two reasons. First, I listen to the pzizz sleep app to put me into my deep sleep. Second, my iPhone is my alarm.

The only complaint I have about the new iOS 5 is the way notification settings are implemented. In the previous iteration of notifications, I was able to turn off all notifications with one simple swipe in the settings. In fact, I could even specify a period of time that notifications were not to bother me at all. I had all notifications disabled between the hours of 10PM and 7:30AM. This worked for all seven days of the week for me. All I had to do to keep the iPhone quiet through the night was to disable the cellular radio. Notifications made sure I wasn’t bothered by any apps, and Airplane Mode guaranteed I wouldn’t be bothered by any drunk calling or texting to the wrong number, which inevitably would always seem to lead directly to my number.

In iOS 5, however, the notifications have to be enabled/disabled individually for each application, making my job silencing the iPhone for the night a bit more complicated. Yes, I could simply put the iPhone into Airplane Mode, but that would defeat my iCloud backup that now occurs when wifi is enabled, plugged into power, and asleep – during the same time that I’m asleep. But this is exactly what I do throughout the work week because it’s the most simple solution – put it in Airplane Mode and I’m never bothered. On Saturday I’ll risk being awakened in order for my backup to go through. After all, I can sleep all day if I wanted to that day.

But I digress. This was supposed to be about moving these devices out of our rooms at night so that we wouldn’t be bothered by them. As the final couple sentences of this article implies, get rid of these distractions. “You sleep better.”