Stay focused with a new distraction filtering app

Just a few weeks into 2022, we see many new apps promising to solve your various problems in innovative ways. For example, do you sometimes text reminders to yourself? A new note-taking app with a chat interface will make this habit a little more practical. Another app wants to help you stay focused by removing distractions on all your Apple devices.

Created by Michael Tigas, Ochi was released as a free download on February 1 on the App Store. You can also upgrade to the Pro version by paying a monthly subscription of $3.99 / £3.49 / AU$4.99, or an annual subscription for $19.99 / £17.99 / AU$21.99 . You can avoid any subscription fees by directly purchasing the Pro version for the single price of $49.99 / £44.99 / AU$53.99.

This new app lets you create filters for different apps and websites, so you don’t get distracted when trying to complete important work. You can block certain social media accounts, for example preventing you from accessing specific applications or associated web pages via web browsers. Ochi lets you choose the apps and web pages you need to silence while you focus.

It’s easy to get distracted when using your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Although Apple has its own features to help with distractions – such as Do Not Disturb and the relatively new Focus feature in iOS 15which can hide apps and change your home screen – Tigas wanted to create something that goes further.

having tried Ochi over the past few weeks I remember an app I used to use called Self controlwhich was available on my old 2013 MacBook Air computer. SelfControl automatically closed apps and blocked websites when I was concentrating on writing my college thesis.

But Tigas’ app is suitable for the modern age, where you have multiple devices with the same account. If you create a filter to block Facebook on your iPhone, for example, that same block will be transferred to your desktop iPad or iMac without any additional action on your part.

Ochi on macOS

(Image credit: Ochi)

And the app design on iPhone and macOS is attractive, both simple and colorful, with useful widgets to activate filters or show you how much time is left until Ochi unblocks the apps and websites you want. have specified.

Ochi also appears in the macOS menu bar, allowing you to easily suspend filtering if you need to access any of the apps or sites you’ve blocked.

A conversation with the developer of Ochi

Speaking with Tigas after launching Ochi, I asked what prompted him to create the app.

“Ochi was inspired on a whim, by the idea of ​​blocking out distractions on all my devices, keeping me focused when my willpower was at its lowest,” Tigas explained. “During the day, while focusing on a task, I block apps like Twitter on my Mac with the Focused Work app. But sometimes I use my iPhone or iPad to test apps I’m working on. becomes very easy to scroll the doom with them instead.

Apple has been busy looking at how we manage our time on our devices, from Focus in iOS 15 to the ScreenTime feature in iOS 13. We asked Tigas what specifically differentiated Ochi from these third-party Focus apps.

“Rather than motivating people to focus on completing a particular task, Ochi instead helps people get away from distractions so they can stay focused for longer periods of time.”

“It’s a flexible utility, which can integrate seamlessly with various workflows, especially if they take advantage of the automation capabilities of iOS (and to a lesser extent – macOS),” said Tigas. “You can create timed filters that block access to iOS apps, Mac apps, websites, and website categories including social media, chat, and news.

It’s also possible to seamlessly activate filters on your iPhone and iPad from a Mac with shortcuts – a first in the distraction blocking space.

Ochi shortcuts on macOS and iOS apps

(Image credit: Ochi)

Since Ochi solves a concentration problem by targeting distractions, we wondered in which situations Tigas found the app particularly beneficial.

“Outside of work and when it’s time to go to bed, Ochi has been very helpful to me when playing online games with friends,” Tigas explained. “I sometimes tend to pick up my phone between Apex Legends or PUBG matches and disengage from group chat. It’s a bad habit, and Ochi keeps me going in those fun times.

Even though the app was only recently launched, we wondered if there were any new features in development.

“I’m really excited for the next phase and have kept an open mind to keep Ochi as flexible as possible!” Tigas exclaimed. “On Mac, Ochi can rely on Shortcuts & Focus to automatically block distractions on iOS devices via automation in the Shortcuts app. But since automation support is not available in Shortcuts for Mac, I want to bridge that gap to seamlessly apply filters on the Mac from my iPhone or iPad (or even my Apple Watch).

Tigas told me that he would really like to add support for scheduling recurring filters.

“This will be especially useful for automatically blocking apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit from 1 a.m., without needing to run this every night,” Tigas said. their working day.

About Raymond A. Bentley

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