I used to be a big fan of Facebook. It was where all my friends shared interesting links and posted photos. Unfortunately, it’s now a wasteland, filled with older relatives and that weird guy I met in 2011. Everyone’s moved to Instagram.
The problem was that my default procrastinating behavior didn’t change. If I was waiting for a train or had three minutes to kill, I’d—barely consciously—navigate to Facebook and start mindlessly scrolling past posts that didn’t interest me. It was energy sapping, but it was a hard habit to break. If you’re in the same situation, here’s how to kick your Facebook addiction on your iPhone.
Uninstall the App
The first step (and this goes a long way on its own) is to delete the official Facebook app from your phone. If you want to access Facebook, you can use the mobile site. This makes it a little trickier for you to open Facebook and start scrolling automatically.
For a lot of people, this is all that’s necessary. That one small extra step is enough of an obstacle that they only use Facebook when they want to. The website is also that bit slower than the app, which makes the experience even less rewarding. If, like me, this isn’t enough, then read on.
Set Up a Screen Time Limit
In iOS 12, Apple added Screen Time: a feature that tracks how much time you spend using different apps. You can also use it to set limits on how much time you can spend either on social media as a whole or just using Facebook.
If you just want to spend a bit less time on Facebook—and it works with both the app and the website—then you can set a Screen Time limit. Screen Time will alert you when you get close to your limit and, once you hit it, stop you from opening the app or visiting the website—although you can get around this by just tapping Ignore Limit. So, it might not break your addiction, but it at least will make you more aware of how much time you’re spending on it.
Kill the Newsfeed
The final step, if you really want to stop yourself from scrolling mindlessly through your News Feed, is to remove it entirely. The free app Feedless uses iOS’s Content Blocking features to hide the newsfeed entirely from Facebook’s website. You can still post statuses, check notifications, and do everything else: you just can’t mindlessly scroll. (Note: Feedless can also block your Instagram and Twitter feeds in Safari for $0.99/month).
To set it up, download Feedless from the App Store. Go to Settings > Safari > Content Blockers and enable Feedless.
Now, when you visit Facebook in Safari, you won’t see any posts in the News Feed. If you want to, you can disable it, but that means giving in.
Breaking any addiction is difficult, and a Facebook one is no exception. By using a combination of the website, Screen Time, and Feedless, I’ve managed to kick my habit. You can, too.