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You Can Make Instagram Less Addicting, If You Want

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Photo: Worawee Meepian (Shutterstock)

It’s not easy to quit Instagram—and you probably don’t even want to completely quit the app. The memes, updates, and reels are important to you, after all. But many of us could do with spending a little less time on Instagram.

If you feel like your Instagram usage is spiraling out of control (or you just want to dial it back a bit to a more reasonable level), here are a few of tricks you can try.

Use the Threads app to escape the Instagram feed vortex

The real secret to spending less time on Instagram, is to use a separate app from Instagram altogether. The Threads app (on Android and iPhone) was designed to help you stay in touch with your Close Friends list, but it’s evolved to be more than that.

You can think of Threads as an Instagram DM app. You’ll get access to messages from all your close friends and your DM list, plus any posts that people share over DM. So you can still have your meme and heart it, too.

You can also view the Stories from individual profiles—but that’s about it. The whole idea is to check in quickly and then bounce right back out.

Create time limits—and actually stick to them

Setting a timer can help you spend less time on Instagram, and you can approach this method in two ways. You can let Instagram alert you that you have spent your daily allowance, or you can use your device’s screen time feature to block Instagram after your time is up.

To set an alert for yourself, go to your profile in the Instagram app, tap the Menu button, and choose Your Activity. In the Time section, use the Set Daily Reminder option to set a time reminder.

How to actually block Instagram after a set amount of time will vary depending on the type of smartphone you have. If you’re an iPhone user, set up the Screen Time feature with a time limit for Instagram. If you’re using Android, try out the Digital Wellbeing feature. (If your Android smartphone doesn’t have the Digital Wellbeing feature, use the ActionDash app to replicate the functionality.)

Use the web app for a crappier experience

One way to reduce your time on Instagram is to put some roadblocks—and Instagram’s mobile website is a pretty good roadblock. The website is not the most stable, and it lacks some features, particularly when it comes to editing Stories.

On the flip side, you get access to all the major features in the web view. You can read all your messages and get access to the entire feed. But what’s great is that videos don’t auto-play, and there’s no Reels section for you to get lost in for an hour. Plus, opening the Instagram website in a browser is an added (annoying) step, and that’s an additional roadblock.

Limit your Instagram use to your computer

Another trick for spending less time on Instagram without full-on quitting is to have device separation. In other words, simply don’t use Instagram on your smartphone or tablet.Restrict use just to your computer (using the Instagram website).

If you restrict your use this way, you force your Instagram usage to be intentional, which makes you much less likely to spend hours scrolling through your feed when you’re too lazy to get off the couch.

Stop notifications from sucking you in

Instagram is really good at getting your attention—especially through notifications. It could be something as simple as a friend posting a new Story, someone going live, or the fact that your new post has oh-so-many likes. You decide to tap the notification to see the content when you have a minute, and then you end up spending a lot of time than intended scrolling through your feed. So what can you do about it? Disable notifications entirely.

Go to Settings > Notifications to customize your notifications. You can pause notifications for a while, or you can individually configure notifications for DMs, new followers, posts, stories, comments, and more (but less is better).

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