I’ve recently started using Opal again and am really pleased with it, however there are a few fundamental issues that make it more complicated to set up than is necessary which originally put me off. I persisted and found a work around but small changes could improve the app significantly.
I want to use Opal for the following;
- Block social apps during work hours.
- Block work apps during social hours.
- Block work and social apps during the evening/night time/early morning.
- Block work and social apps at the weekend, but with breaks in the social app blocking.
- Block other apps or groups of apps at intermittent times through the day/week.
At first it seems as though the above is easily achieved using different sessions and app groups, however there are several fundamental issues that make this harder to achieve than it needs to be:
- Only one app group can be selected during each session.
- Sessions cannot run concurrently or overlap,
Because of these limitations to achieve my intended use of the app it is necessary to set up an individual app group for each type of session and then create a session for each discrete time period to block the groups of apps required. This is fine if you only want a couple of sessions but it quickly becomes complicated when making multiple sessions for different times and days of the week.
It seems that unless multiple app groups can be selected at once, or sessions can overlap then there is no point in having both features. It would be easier to just create a session and choose the apps for that session.
It would also be really useful if sessions could be set up in a more visual way, for example a calendar or flow chart with each app group represented as a block colour spanning the time periods that it is blocked for. These could then be overlapped, dragged or stretched in order to dynamically set sessions over the course of the week.
Overall a fantastic app, with some minor improvements it would be perfect.
The gamifying of the reduction of screen time, focus score and the comparison to peers seems like a gimmick that detracts from the apps main function. It seems as though too much attention to these elements has been paid to the detriment of some of the more basic functionality.
The cost is prohibitively high for a feature which will inevitably become part of apple’s screen time. Until that happens I’m very happy to pay for it as it’s so useful, however many of my friends and colleagues that I have recommended it to have been deterred by the cost.