Since Google asked...

I was chatting with my friend Rob a few hours back and while discussing I don't know what I ended up seeing these two questions right here in the Google results:

screenshot of google's "people also ask" section containing two questions about how to make a phone minimal

A while back—damn more than two years ago—I wrote about my quirky and minimal iPhone setup. A few things have changed since then—and that includes, like, the state of the world—but also my phone. And with that my setup. So I guess it's time to write another post about stupidly minimal phone setups and answer a few common questions while I'm at it.

Asking "How do I make my phone minimal" is, in my opinion, a dumb question to begin with. Minimal means nothing. "No phone" is the most minimal phone. So grab your phone and chuck it into the sun. There, problem solved, you now have the most minimalist of all the minimal phones.

What you saying? You still want to have a phone after we're done? Ah, my bad. Ok, easy fix: go into accessibility settings and turn on grayscale mode. Done, colours are gone, your phone is minimal, and if it wasn't for Covid we could high five each other.

Now what? You ain't gonna tell me that you still want the colours but also want a minimal phone? Ugh...

All right, all right. We need to dig deeper into the topic apparently. Let me ask you a question: what does minimal mean to you? Because to me, minimalism is not an objective. It's a tool to achieve a goal. And that is why to me the question "How do I make my phone minimal" makes no sense. A better question should be "How do I configure my phone to achieve goal X, Y or Z".

Turning on grayscale doesn't make your phone minimal but helps making it less appealing and that can help you being less engaged with whatever is on the screen. A minimal icon set can help you achieve a more curated visual aesthetic so if that's what you're after then that's the way to go. To me, the best icon is no icon which is why my iPhone right now looks like this:

The current home screen of my iPhone containing no icons and a simple dark gradient
When minimalism goes too far

Now, I'll be the first to admit this is probably a bit extreme for most people but hey, if you're after minimal, that's as minimal as it gets, at least on iPhone. No dock, no notch, no icons. Also have no notifications and no sounds. Silence is golden. This is as close as I can get to have no phone while still having a phone.

How do I use a phone like that you're wondering? Well, everything goes through the spotlight search. I swipe down and type to search for an app. And speaking of apps, the easiest way to have a minimal phone is to only have the essential apps on your phone to begin with. Don't keep 500 apps on your phone. You probably don't need 490 of those. So go through your library and throw that shit away.

As for the wallpaper I'm using, it's something I made for myself. It visually hides both the ugly empty dock at the bottom and also makes the notch almost invisible. I think Carl is going to release a set of wallpapers based on this concept in the future either on the mimo shop or as a bonus perk for mimo members. Or you can make one yourself, it's not that hard.

So, TL;DR: how do you make your phone minimal? You don't. You ask yourself what you want out of your phone and then you set it up in a way that helps you achieve your goal. Keep asking questions, keep experimenting. Delete what can be deleted, turn off what can be turned off.

If you want to discuss your goals in particular hit me up via email. Always happy to have discussions with people.

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