Which App Detox Is Right For You? - Steve Dolson
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Which App Detox Is Right For You?

Which App Detox Is Right For You?

Do you need an app detox?

Are you scrolling through feeds, liking posts and posting your own polished, reality-filtered photos, but are you looking at how it’s affecting your life and well-being?

Are you spending too much time on these social media, networking or dating apps?

When was the last time you had a break or detoxed from your social media channels?

Throughout my time on social media I have taken many different detoxes for different reasons.

Reasons To Take A Social Media or App Detox:

  • Spending more time looking at other people’s lives than living your own
  • Just using your app for the sake of using your app, but not using these apps as intended (networking, growing your audience, etc.)
  • You feel a need to reprioritize what’s important in your life
  • You want to reallocate your time and energy on more important things
  • You are comparing your life to other’s lives and it is becoming detrimental to yours
  • If being on these platforms are affecting your moods or provoking negative thoughts (envy, jealousy, frustration, etc.)

Much like a health detox, or a juice cleanse, you are removing the bad toxins and partaking in some self-care to make you feel better. Detoxes are a great way to refocus, recenter, and reprioritize your life.

Social media or App Detoxes can happen at different levels and can be scaled up and scaled back down, depending on your schedule, mood, effort and how much time you are devoting to these platforms.

Different Types of App / Social Media Detoxes:

1. App-Assisted Detox

2. App Detox

3. Selected App Detox

4. Total App Detox

Let’s go through them in detail!


App-assisted detoxes are important when you want limit your app or platform usage to break your smartphone addiction, but do not have the self discipline to do it. These apps help reduce the amount of time you are spending on these apps and you can set daily limits on how much you spend to force you to do other things. Seems a bit counterintuitive to download apps to better your time on other apps, but they work!

Apps to use to break addiction of other addictive apps: Offtime, Moment

When it’s right for you: When you find that you cannot beat the habit of being on addictive apps and you need help limiting the time spent. This is a good detox for people who have to be posting (business livelihood) but should be focusing on other aspects of their lives.

Recommended Duration: Set limit to 1 hour per day


When you keep your accounts, but you delete your apps on your smartphone. This is the ‘out-of-sight/out-of-mind’ approach. I find this one particularly effective because it eliminates the urge to go on them because they are absent from your device. It forces you to change your habits and fill the spots from your deleted apps with other, more positive apps.

When it’s right for you: You are spending more time than you like on your social channels and want to refocus your days or weeks.

Recommended Duration: 7 Days+


When you keep your accounts, but delete the one specific time sink app that is taking up most of your valuable time.
A lot of people find this when it comes to dating apps or Instagram that take a lot of time and effort. This is good because it refocuses your efforts on other apps, like Linkedin, to better your career and make more connections that could better your business or job advancement.

When it’s right for you: When you are just scrolling for the sake of scrolling. You are not using the app as intended, you just want somewhere to go to waste time.

Recommended Duration: 2 weeks+


This is a point in time where you deactivate your account and delete your apps. This the most serious out of all the detoxes, I would only recommend this when you try the other ones above first. This could be a permanent fixture where you could alienate and become a recluse. I don’t recommend this app unless you are absolutely convinced that you would be better off without any distractions from those apps/platforms. I know people who have completely blacklisted an app and they live more fulfilling lives. I know some people who have deleted their account and go back on it a few months later and become discouraged because they have to build their audience all over again (and it’s a lot harder the second time around).

When it’s right for you: When you are feeling that your life is about living through other people’s lives. Just escaping reality to see how other people is living. It’s your life, your interests, your actions, your preferences and your cherished time. This is when you are absolutely convinced that the app(s) are detrimental to your wellbeing and causing much more negative thoughts than positive and it’s changing you emotionally.

Recommended Duration: 1 Month+


Sometimes a detox does not have to mean getting your apps off your phone or deactivating your accounts, sometimes it just means shuffling and reorganizing your apps so they are not on the front page of your smartphone screen. This will ruin your routine and make you do added steps to get to where you want to go. It will change your habits more than you would think. Put a different app that are more towards your goals (fitness apps, meditation apps, task management apps) to replace the spot where that addictive app was.

When it’s right for you: Try it today. Move your most used apps at the very back of your phone or, better yet, put it in a subfolder at the back of your phone, so you have to click more times and use more effort to get to it.

Recommended Duration: 1 Day+

The Bottom Line

I never thought I would be crafting an article about this, but it’s something that everyone has, a small or large addiction to your phone. It can cause frustration, anxiety, depression and negative thoughts when you compare yourself to others or find that you are wasting your time, generating a feeling of you wasting your life.

I encourage you to try one of the detoxes above, experience the difference of a life that isn’t lived through an app and realize how much time you have during a day to really enjoy other passions.

After all, the best things in life are not found through an app. They are lived and experienced outside of every screen.

Hope this helps.


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