Stanford computer science students want Apple to make a mode for the iPhone that only allows calls, texts, and photos (AAPL)

Stanford University students

  • A group of Stanford students including computer science majors have started a group called “Stanford Students Against Addictive Devices.”
  • The group held a protest on Saturday at an Apple Store in Palo Alto, California.
  • They recommend that Apple creates an “essential mode” which would limit the iPhone to making calls, sending and receiving texts, and taking photos. 

Apple founder Steve Jobs gave a famous commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 where he reminded students their “time is limited.”

Over a decade later, a group of Stanford students are doing something to take their time back — by protesting Apple for making addictive devices. 

A new group called Stanford Students Against Addictive Devices held a protest at an Apple store in the heart of Silicon Valley over the weekend, according to the Stanford Daily and Palo Alto Online

It turns out the group is being led by Stanford computer science majors — people who are learning the exact skills that are needed to build the systems that many blame for device addiction. 

The Stanford students explained why they were protesting Apple specifically in a pamphlet on their website.

“iPhones are our gateway to addictive services (read: Facebook and company), so Apple is uniquely capable of helping us curb our dependence,” they explained. “Even though Apple’s business model does not rely on device addiction, they fail to take common sense steps to address the issue.”

Three students leading the group, Sanjay Kannaan, Evan Sabri Eyuboglu, and Cameron Ramos, are senior computer science majors, according to the Stanford Daily. They’re joined by Divya Gupta, a physician at Stanford Hospital. 

The group also outlines a way for Apple to “take phone addiction seriously.” They recommend Apple build new features into the iPhone including one that tracks phone usage, more fine-grained control over notifications, and proposes an “essential mode” that only does calls, texts, and photos. 

In the meantime, the students recommend users turn their notifications off and try using their phone in a grey mode “to minimize dopamine hits.” 

It’s unclear how many people attended Saturday’s protest. Palo Alto Online said a “steady stream of friends and supporters” joined them through the afternoon. The Facebook invite for the event said nine people attended and 28 were interested. 

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