The grayscale hack that will have your kids handing your phone back.


It’s 2019 and we are all addicted to our phones.

For those of us who might want to… cut back on our usage, there is finally a way.

Turning your phone to greyscale mode makes everything black and white.

It sucks the fun out of your device, making it a practical rectangle that sits in your pocket until you actually need to contact people.

And that’s entirely the point.

According to Go Gray, turning your phone black and white helps to reduce the bright shininess of the screen, replacing it with more calming colours.

They explain that it’s like “turning your favourite dessert into your least favourite vegetable” which does not sound appealing but explains that it is, in fact, good for us.

Here’s how to give it a try.

For those with an iPhone, you need to go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> Display Accommodations, and turn on colour filters. You can then select “Grayscale”.

For those using an Android, you need to use The Digital Wellness Application by Google.

After entering the app, swipe down the top menu and click the edit icon, then drag the icon along the Grayscale, depending on how bleak you want your screen to be.

For older models of Android without the app, it’s a little more complicated, and you can find full instructions here.

But… does it work?

The hack was featured on this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud, and many listeners tried greyscale out for themselves.

The Mamamia Outloud Team weigh in on the Greyscale hack. Post continues after audio.


The results were very satisfying.

For adults, the hack meant living life in the moment, not through a screen.

“As a serious scrolling zombie, my screen time has decreased so much because sifting through social media no longer stimulates and excites my brain… the coolest thing is that now whenever I look up from my phone, I notice and appreciate the subtle colours of the real world so much more,” wrote one listener.

“I did it. It made my phone really boring, which was good. But I only lasted a few hours! Teacher sent me photos of my daughters class through the dojo app and I couldn’t find my kid in all the greyscale faces. Had to turn to colour to spot her,” added another.

And for the parents, it meant finally getting kids off the phone. For good.

“My kids’ interest in my devices has also dropped dramatically!” wrote one listener.

“I think it’s very effective for the scrolling and have made the shortcut so I can quickly turn back to colour to check my Whatsapp etc. And yesterday at swimming lessons my youngest asked to look at my phone, saw the colour and said “it’s broken” and gave it back! So that’s a win,” wrote another.

For others, the hack made their phone incredibly boring… which is the whole point.

Based on our (entirely anecdotal) evidence, here are the ups and downs of turning your phone grey.


  • Less screen time.
  • Buying less clothes online.
  • Kids are no longer interested in using it.
  • Using the phone is less stimulating and addictive.


  • Can’t see photos after they are taken.
  • Can’t see any… colour.

It’s important to remember all the amazing things phones give us access to, but if you’re consciously trying to cut down, the black and white screen is worth a try.