By Kirk Miller / April 24, 2019

Tim Cook Says You Should Use Your Phone Less. Here’s How He Does It.

At the Time 100 Summit, the Apple CEO offered up a simple trick to limit phone use

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook has a simple hack for using your phone less (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Even the CEO of Apple thinks you should put down your phone.

Speaking at the TIME 100 Summit this week, Tim Cook noted that “Apple never wanted to maximize user time. We’re not motivated by this from a business point of view, and certainly not by a values point of view.”

Irony aside that this comes from the head of a company that’s allowed app makers to pretty much ping you whenever and wherever — and from the same people who now want you to subscribe to everything you read, watch and hear through their products — Cook does offer a very simple solution:

Turn off those notifications. “We’re telling people how much time they are spending in apps [see: Screen Time], here’s how many notifications you got,” he says. “If you have an iPhone, I would encourage you to do this. I’ve gone in and gutted the number of notifications I receive. Do I really need to get thousands of notifications per day? If you’re looking at your phone more than you’re looking into someone’s eyes, you’re doing the wrong thing.”

iPhone notifications screen

TechCrunch rightly points that Apple pretty much allowed this behavior for 10 years and Apple could have built mechanisms to give users more control (timed notifications, a dedicated news feed of app updates, etc.). Still, with news that putting down your phone may help you live longer, Cook’s long overdue advice is welcome.

Good news it that it’s pretty easy to limit or turn off your notifications. In iOS 12, for example, notifications are grouped into stacks and you can customize how they’re grouped. You can also go into the Notification Center and toggle if you want to be notified from each app, set (or turn off) sound alerts and set banner notifications to temporary or persistent.