Unpluq, a digital wellbeing startup that helps people reduce their mobile screen time and improve their mental health, announced the release of its first-ever iPhone app. Unpluq for iPhone aims to change people’s habits with a physical ritual that gives customers digital control of their phones. The launch follows the success of the Unpluq Android app, which has been downloaded by over 40,000 users and has a 4.5-star rating across +350 reviews.

According to Unpluq’s data, 77% of its customers have achieved their goal of reducing their screen time by using the app, while Unpluq customers who also utilize the Unpluq Tag have recovered an average of 78 minutes of screen time per day. The Unpluq Tag is a silicon-coated NFC tag that introduces friction between people and their most tempting apps by requiring them to physically retrieve the keyfob tile in order to open specified apps that the customer chooses to block.

The Unpluq app was developed to address the growing concern around the negative impact of mobile screen time on mental health, particularly among young people. Research shows that increased mobile screen time is linked to negative mental health outcomes such as anxiety and depression, and reduced mobile screen time is associated with health benefits. 

“The apps we use every day, like social media, non-strategy games, dating apps, and even news are impacting our executive attention and ability to focus. Apps are engineered to keep us addicted. It’s a reflection of the attention economy in which we live, but this has unintended consequences on human well being that we must take action to mitigate. Unpluq gives people the most effective tool to reclaim their attention on their smartphones, in a way that they control,” says Caroline Cadwell, co-founder and CEO of Unpluq.

Unpluq works by adding intentional friction before you can access selected apps on your phone. Users choose which apps to block and require the Unpluq Tag to be tapped before using them. This action discourages customers’ unintentional scrolling and instils a habit of being deliberate with their screen time. The app also includes digital app barriers like tapping buttons or shaking your phone. It offers both free and paid subscriptions.

The Unpluq app was designed based on the rational override theory. Tim Smits, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Unpluq, explains that rational override theory “states that adding a layer of intentional friction to unwanted habits can help people to successfully change.” Unplug’s data shows that 63% of users are still using the Tag months later, reflecting its value to customers in seeing success with reducing screen time and improving mental wellbeing.

Unpluq’s new iPhone app has been completely redesigned with iOS 16 and is the world’s first app that has a physical ritual to unblock apps. It works with Apple’s Screen Time API, which was made available to app developers in September 2022. 

As people seek to take control of their digital habits and improve their mental wellbeing, tools like Unpluq are becoming increasingly important. The conversation around screen time has become urgent in families, workplaces, and schools, and Unpluq is leading the way in providing solutions to this growing problem. With the launch of its new iPhone app, Unpluq is poised to help everyone take control of their screen time and improve their mental health.