I tried a new app designed to curb obsessive cell phone use - and it's already working wonders


FILE PHOTO - People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

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It's a bit ironic - a smartphone app intended to help people cut down on smartphone use - but within the first few days of using Onward I could tell I needed it.


Launched in Apple's App Store on April 4, Onward is an app that monitors screen time and issues daily, weekly, and monthly reports that reveal how often (and in what ways) people use their phones.

The goal is to help people achieve what Onward co-founder Gabe Zichermann calls "tech-life balance." People might not be addicted to their devices, per se, but Zichermann still recognizes people may struggle with overuse - however they define it - and crave a healthier relationship with those devices.

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"Onward is designed to have the minimum amount of screen time with you, and then turn you in a different direction," he tells Business Insider.

As someone who compulsively checks Twitter or Gmail whenever I step into an elevator, wait for the subway, or generally have a few seconds free, I was anxious to give Onward a try.