One of the new software features OnePlus announced during its recent launch event for the OnePlus 7 Pro is called something Zen mode. Enable Zen mode puts your phone on a kind of shutdown: you won't see or hear any notifications, you can't access your apps, and you can't send messages.
The only two things Zen mode allows you to do is make and receive phone calls and snap photos. Once activated, the Zen mode remains for 20 minutes.
If you realize that you need to do something on your phone like sending Zen mode, such as sending a text, you're not happy. Even if you restart your device, it stays in Zen mode until the full 20 minutes have elapsed.
According to reports, OnePlus created Zen mode in response to impressed members of the OnePlus community Google's digital well-being initiative and OnePlus wanted to add something to the movement. Zen mode is apparently what the company offers to help wean us from our constant use of smartphones.
However, I'm still wondering what exactly Zen mode will use. For me, it looks like a core option. It becomes even more confusing if you think that OnePlus already offers a much more elegant "notification fatigue" solution.
Why Zen mode looks crazy
The first thing I thought when I heard about Zen mode was, "Why don't you just use the warning chip?" On every OnePlus smartphone since OnePlus 2, there is a physical alert slider that allows you to quickly place the phone in a silent mode. On recent OnePlus devices, you can set the alert shift to activate Don't worry about Android mode, which stops all notifications until it is disabled.
If you feel that you need to focus and want your phone to stop bothering you, the warning chip is a simple and elegant solution that already exists on OnePlus phones.
Zen mode seems to be similar to a bazooka to a knife fight.
Granted, don't disturb and the warning chip won't stop you picking up your phone and opening Reddit. But there it is already some apps This will help you avoid opening things like Reddit and Facebook, including of course Google's own Digital Wellbeing (which is unfortunately not completely available on OnePlus phones).
By using the warning shift and a time management program in tandem, you get all the benefits of Zen mode without the need for a total shutdown. Zen mode seems to be fighting a knife compared to a bazooka.
Why Zen Mode May Be Popular
A few hours after I found out about Zen mode, I had more time to process it. I realized that there are specific situations where perhaps something like the Zen mode could be a better option than using the warning shift and / or a time management program.
The first and most obvious reason is "quality time" scenarios, such as family dinner. I can easily see the appeal of everyone in the family to put their cellphone in Zen while they sit down. Doing so will prevent the children (and the face, parents) from spending time on their phone rather than focusing and paying attention to the family relationship.
Of course, turn your phones off or simply put them down in the DnD and leave them in a living in the lounge just as well.
There are situations where Zen mode can be useful, but in each there is an alternative, less extreme solution.
Another possible reason why Zen mode can be useful is to help you sleep. When you put your phone on the nightclub, you probably don't want to switch it off, as you're probably using it as an alarm. To set this up will not be disturbed. This will prevent you from being affected by notifications, but the temptation to retrieve the phone and spend a few minutes on Instagram may be tempting. By turning on Zen mode, you force yourself to ignore your phone and actually fall asleep.
Again, there is another solution to this scenario: to have the willpower to ignore and sleep.
I hope Zen mode is not a sign of the future
I think my main problem with Zen mode is that it assumes that there are people so addicted to their smartphones that they should have the equivalent of someone taking it out of their hands to stop using it. While I'm sure there are people like that out there, it's a depressing thought that there are enough of them that OnePlus thinks we need Zen mode.
When I first used Google's Digital Wellness, it woke me up just how much I use my phone. It was eye-opening, sure, but I never had the desire to hide my phone and didn't find myself able to do it. This is the problem that is trying to solve Zen mode.
Are we so far away? Is Zen Mode not just a fancy new smart phone feature, but a vital necessity for our lives? I definitely hope not.