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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

Wasting Time: The Moment App

There is a statistic out there—I’m not sure where it comes from to be honest—that says that the average smartphone user looks at their phone around 150 times in a day. The average user, the person who primarily has a smart phone for Facebook and Instagram, not for some work-related purpose. If each look at the phone takes a minute (and probably takes many more,) that’s at least two and a half hours out of the day. It’s probably safe to say that the phone is becoming or already is an issue.

Image Credit: Mac Magazine

That’s what the app Moment is designed to help resolve. The app, written by Kevin Holesh, is designed to track how much you use your phone, where you use it, and suggest when you have hit the limit you set for yourself with the idea being that once you’ve hit the limit you’ll step away from the device. I decided to download and use Moment for a month and see what it’s all about.

The app costs $4.99 and is available only for iPhone and iPad. In order to utilize the app and track your usage you have to enable location services and it has to be continuously running in the background. You are able to set up your own daily limits and you can also set up other little “nudges” as your day goes along to keep you on top of your usage. I decided to use it with a 150 minute usage limit, but didn’t actually pay attention to the limit for the first couple of days. I wanted to see how often I really use my phone which, as it would turn out, is a lot more than 150 minutes per day.

Moment is very simple to use and I appreciated that I could compare my daily use data to see patterns. Those two things were the absolute only things I liked about this app. Everything else was problematic. For starters that whole absolutely have to have location services on thing was really, really troublesome. On an app meant to track how often you use your device does it really need to know where you are all the time, too? That data may be useful to some users, but it’s not something that I need or want to know, not to mention it being a serious safety concern. Additionally the constant use of location services increased my data usage as well as decreased my battery life.

Having to have the app with it’s location tracking on constantly also ate through my battery in an abnormally rapid fashion. My phone always felt hot to the touch. The app is designed to make you more aware of how much you use your phone so you can make changes. Well, I made changes pretty quickly when my phone, a brand new iPhone 5S, was dead by noon every single day.  If you can’t use your phone because the app is draining the power of it to the point it’s dead halfway through your day that will change your habits in a hurry. And annoy you.

And as for those limits you set in-app? I found them to be pointless. Yes, when I went over the time allotment I set for myself an alarm would go off, but that was it. It didn’t lock my screen. It didn’t power off the phone. It didn’t even really provide me any feedback for why I had hit my limits (as in it just went with number of minutes, not how I spent my time.) To avoid the annoyance I just had to hit a button and keep on going. I’ve read some reviews that state there is, in fact, an in-app feature that will shut your phone down once you’ve reached your limit, but I was never able to find and access it. For $4.99 I got absolutely no value out of the app and all I discovered about my cell phone usage is that I do not live a life where I can just use my phone for 40 minutes a day. I do too much of my work in the digital world for it to be useful to me.

Just a few days shy of using the app for a month, I’ve requested a refund from iTunes. The endless draining of my battery by the app is just too much for me to handle considering I get absolutely no value from this app. None. And more than that, why do I even need an app to tell me that I’m using my phone a lot. I know that. What I wanted to know was how was I using my phone and how to learn to change that, but as the app only tells me how long and wear, I still have no idea what my actual phone habits are. On one of the days I went very far over on my allotment of time I happened to be spending a good chunk of time on the phone with my mother. I don’t consider this to be wasted time as she lives hours upon hours away from me. The time spent talking to her is not the same as the time I spent messing around on postal media, but Moment doesn’t make the distinction.

In summary, I found this app to be pretty but useless. I cannot recommend this application to anyone. It’s too expensive, too invasive, and delivers very little for all that it requires.

Moment is available in the iTunes store.

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