Forest: Helps You to Stay Phone-free by Inspiring You to Plant Trees

We all have the internet and our smartphones to which we are obsessed and addicted. We may all thank these internet and smartphones for our short attention spans. When you keep checking your phone every few minutes you’ll find it takes double the amount of time which would normally take a few seconds to complete. Forest is an app that will help keep you focused on your work instead of scrolling through your social media accounts without a blink.

You can purchase Forest on iOS devices only for $1.99. You can also do many in-app purchases which will help you receive more coins per virtual tree planted. For example, you can get a bottle of Sunshine Elixir for $0.99, or $1.99 for a box of Sunshine Elixir. These in-app purchases are not necessary, you can definitely enjoy the app without them.

The Forest app interface; Image Source:

Trees for the Future is non profit organization that says, “We aren’t just planting trees. We’re changing lives through regenerative agriculture.” It works to end hunger and poverty by planting trees that help feed families in need. The Forest app partners with them to plant real trees across the world.

The mission of Forest app is to help users to stay focused on their work. Its aim is to train people to manage their time and become less dependent on their phones in a fun, purposeful way. Users will be able to grow virtual trees and earn coins if they spend time away from their phones. Later these coins can be used to help plant real trees in five countries in Africa, which are Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, and Tanzania. The app also gently shames you if you don’t successfully complete your goal, which is apparently the component, the push that is missing in other productivity apps.

General instructions in the Forest app; Image Source:

By planting a virtual seed in Forest, you’ll get to watch it gradually grow into a virtual tree. But if you leave the app to answer a text message or check any social media or start browsing, then the plant immediately dies and you’ll have to start over again. But you aren’t faulted the first time you exit out to access a different app. The first time you exit out the app, a banner pops up to warn you that your tree is going to die. If you do it a second time, you’ll have to start over.

After downloading Forest, all first-time users are welcomed with a simple set of instructions. The app explains that it will encourage users to stay focused and be more present in their daily lives by planting virtual trees. The trees will take certain time to grow from seeds, which you can customize depending on how long you want to abstain from your device. The app allows you to set the timer for a minimum of 10 minutes, a maximum of 120 minutes, or any 5-minute increments in between. Remember, trees can only grow if the app remains open.

Warning when you try to give up or leave the app; Image Source:

For the purpose of visualization, let we set the timer for 10 minutes. After setting timer you have to hit the “plant” button. Forest graciously gives you 10 seconds to cancel your impending phone-free commitment, just in case you are not ready yet. After the 10-second grace period expires, the cancel countdown will be replaced with a button that says, “Give Up”. You can press this at any time but remember, doing so will prompt the guilt-ridden question: “Are you sure you want to give up? Your cute little tree will die.”

If you’re not the type to admit defeat by clicking the Give Up button, you always have the option of leaving the app of your own free will. But before killing your virtual tree the first time you leave the app, Forest will send a push notification which reads, “Go back to Forest immediately to prevent the tree from dying!” You have less than a minute to return to the app and save your tree.

Image of planting real trees by the Forest app; Image Source:

Without any in-app purchases, it is possible to earn 43 coins from a 120-minute timer. But to plant a real tree, you need to 2,500 coins! The way the system works is that each time a user spends 2,500 virtual coins on a real tree, Forest donates real money to Trees for the Future, which uses that money to plant a tree in Africa. But unfortunately, due to budget constraint, the number of real trees each user can currently plant using the app is limited to five.

There is also a collaborative feature available through which you can create a room and invite friends and family members to join you. If any one of you exits the app when the timer is running, then the shared tree will automatically die. So you can encourage all your invited family members to stay focused!

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