Phone app alerts users to look up while walking

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Android users will receive a notification telling them to stop looking at their mobile phones while walking, a leaked new tool suggests.

The feature is being tested in an update to the Digital Wellbeing app, tech blog XDA Developers reported.

Screenshots of the app show a notification will appear on the screen of the phone, with a prompt to look up.

“Get a reminder to focus on what’s around you,” the tool by Google’s Android says.

Heads Up

The feature, called Heads Up, is built into the Digital Wellbeing app – one designed to help users manage how much they use their phones.

For example, you can set a limit on certain app use, or silence notifications at set times.

According to XDA Developers, the notifications can be switched on and off in the phone’s settings.

Jay Prakash Kamat tweeted screenshots of Heads Up after spotting the update on his Google Pixel 4a phone.

“Heads Up doesn’t replace paying attention,” screenshots from the new tool warn.

The notifications would say things like “be careful”, “look ahead” and “watch your step”, accompanied by a “playfully related emoji”, technology news website 9to5google has previously suggested.

The BBC has contacted Google for comment.

“This seems like the latest in a string of digital wellbeing tools baked into the devices we use all the time to help us stop using them all the time,” said Becca Caddy, author of Screen Time: How to Make Peace with Your Devices and Find Your Techquilibrium.

“However, the execution often falls short… there isn’t one way to change all of our behaviour in one neat notification feature – we just don’t work like that.”

A notification when trying to use your phone quickly and efficiently while walking would personally “just be really annoying” but it could help others, she added.

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