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Grayscale on an iPhone – what is it and why it’s cool.

digital parenting smartphones technology and tech devices Jul 18, 2020



Some of us love black and white movies, but today, the vast majority of movies are made in full, bright, robust color.  Why?  Because, duh, colors stimulate us and on the big screen this is just plain VIBRANCY.  But what about on little screens?

When we think about iPhones and iPads, we may not always want or need that vibrancy.

Think of it this way: would your child find his favorites cartoons VIBRANT if they were in black or white?  Or what about your daughter’s favorite TikTok videos? Or your son’s favorite Minecraft gamer explaining something on YouTube?  I think we can all agree, that using grayscale will reduce some of the vibrancy and perhaps some of the attraction.

Not convinced? A few brave souls have tried living the grayscale life and reported back.

  •  “My smartphone usage plummeted overnight when I activated grayscale mode.
  • If you want to use parts of your phone in color, follow this habit-stacking formula: After I deactivate grayscale mode to browse social media, I will reactivate it.
  • The purpose of grayscale mode is to make smartphones less addictive, to reduce poor-habit formation, and to avoid Digital ADD.” (Josh Hoffman, Medium)

Wired magazine says “try grayscale mode to curb your phone addiction” and even provides tips to create grayscale on Android and Samsung models.  And Mozilla employees also took the Grayscale challenge and found that it was helpful. 

Of course, not everyone enjoys grayscale, so feel free to change back to color – after you’ve given grayscale a proper try-out, of course.

Personally, I think it’s pretty cool that, Tristan Harris, former Google design ethicist, asked Apple to create the grayscale functionality in order to help parents reduce iPhone use. 

Anything that helps parents in the digital age is AWESOME in my book. 

Technology IS absolutely fabulous and our role as digital parents is to guide our children to use internet, social media and technology responsibly and safely. And quite frankly, sometimes LESS is MOREn.

You can see a cool newsclip about Tristan here and check out the Center for Human Technology for more information about responsible tech use during the pandemic.

Now go give that grayscale a try – and let me know how it goes.

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