2020 New Year’s resolutions for iPhone users

As each new year begins, it is tradition to take some time to reflect on our lives and our habits. We take stock of our lives, our behavior, and our habits, and we resolve to make some changes in the new year.

There’s no reason you shouldn’t resolve to eat better, quit smoking or vaping, get more exercise, keep your house cleaner, or whatever else you have on your list, but don’t leave out your iPhone! We spend hours a day with these little glass rectangles. They contain a stunning amount of information about our lives, and are increasingly an integral part of them. It only makes sense to make New Year’s resolutions that center around our iPhones.

Here are a few suggestions for positive changes you can resolve to make as we begin the new decade. Some may be specific to the iPhone, others to your use of Apple products or your broader digital life, but all are worth your consideration.

Get your notifications under control

We probably all use our phones too much. Of course, having a surprisingly powerful computer with a nonstop internet connection, a good camera, and tons of sensors in your pocket all the time is bound to be compelling—and useful! But the never-ending dopamine drip of social media and freemium gaming is downright unhealthy.

notifications IDG

For every app, choose how intrusive notifications will be. For most of them, you should seriously consider disabling notifications entirely.

The best way to reduce your phone use, without reducing your phone usefulness, is to severely limit your notifications. When your iPhone isn’t buzzing and chirping every 20 minutes, you’re far less likely to just pick it up for one unimportant thing only to get sucked into staring at unimportant things for half an hour.

Start by going into the notifications settings and examining the settings for nearly every app on your phone. No, seriously, every app—it won’t take as long as you think! Our notifications guide shows you how the settings work.

Consider adhering to these principles:

  1. If you actually need to take immediate action on an app’s notifications right away (as with a smart doorbell, home security app, or Messages) then leave on banners and sounds.

  2. If you only need notifications to tell that something happened but don’t need to take action, then turn off sounds and banners, and maybe even lock screen notifications and badges, too. You’ll see those notifications in the Notification Center. Nearly all of your social media apps should be set this way.

  3. Finally, for apps you only rarely use or those where you open the app several times a day anyway, just turn off notifications entirely. Games are a great example. Play when you want to, not when the game says, “Hey! Play me now!”

When it doubt, err on the side of fewer and less intrusive notifications. You can always go back in Settings later and make them more permissive if you find you’re missing important stuff.