App Review: AppBlock

As a student, one of my biggest weaknesses is technology. Scrolling on Reddit is just so easy, and studying can be so hard. When distractions are readily available and tailor-made to suit our interests, they become hard to avoid.

Using my phone isn’t always a problem – I’m not against it in general – but there are certain times where I know that using my phone will only hurt what I’m trying to do. Those times are during studying, during a class, and, most of all, right before bed.

man on couch with laptop, text says: oh man it's 3 in the morning I should really get off the computer and go to bed. the next panel shows the man in bed on his phone still

I was losing sleep over my phone so I knew it was a problem. Besides, anything that distracts me from studying, socializing, AND sleeping is obviously not something I want to leave unchecked.

That’s where an app called “AppBlock” comes in.

AppBlock works exactly as its name suggests: Download the app and then you’re free to block whichever apps you want, whenever you want. The apps can be stock apps, like text messaging and Chrome (or Safari, for the iOS-savvy), or they can be downloaded apps like Messenger, Candy Crush, and Reddit.

You can set up a series of AppBlocks that repeat weekly, and they can be for any time range you choose, whether that’s between 8:30am and 12:30pm for your morning classes on Wednesdays, or 10pm to 6am the next morning on weekdays so that you can go to sleep knowing that you won’t use your phone because you simply can’t.

You technically can use your blocked apps if you really need to. If you choose to leave the period “unlocked,” then all you have to do is deactivate the app. If you “lock” the period on AppBlock, then you can still deactivate it and access those blocked apps, but your phone has to be plugged in in order to do so. I think it’s the perfect little check for using your phone: it requires enough effort to make you think about what you’re doing, but it’s not so far out of the way that it’ll actually cause a problem.

a man an woman sitting at a table in a coffee shop with text saying: I am so not addicted to my smartphone because I have an app that warns me if I'm tunring into an addict and it hasn't gone off yet.

While AppBlock is a simple app, it can really help your school year. By far, my most overused app is YouTube: I love watching videos of Super Smash Bros melee. The rest of the time, I’m using Chrome, so when I have AppBlock periods, I make sure to turn these off first because they’re rarely productive, and often counter-productive. Then I can use apps like Gmail to look at my teacher’s notices to the class without worrying about getting distracted by my phone.

What app do you use the most? Leave a reply in the comments!

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