Making your smartphone display grayscale

Lately I have been looking for ways to make my smartphone less addictive. With the rise in popularity of e-ink displays like a kindle, I wondered if I could get a lot of the benefits of that minimalistic approach but with all the power of my smartphone. So I set out to convert my phones to running in grayscale mode.

If your phone is rooted, just install the Grayswitch app. If your phone is not rooted, here’s what you need to do in addition to installing Grayswitch:

1) Download and extract Android SDK Platform Tools:

2) Download and extract the Google USB Driver:

3) Unlock Developer mode on your phone by tapping multiple times on the Build number field in the device information.

4) Enable USB debugging mode in Developer Options => Debugging => USB Debugging.

5) Plug the phone into the computer and use the Device Manager to Update Driver and manually select the driver you just downloaded

6) Enable USB Debugging by tapping allow on the popup that has appeared on the Android Phone

7) Ensure that no other Android phone is connected to your computer via USB.

8) Open a command prompt / terminal and go to the directory you unpacked the SDK Platform Tools to and then execute the command to give Grayswitch the necessary permissions:

cd Program Files\Android Platform Tools R31.0.3\platform-tools
adb shell pm grant com.vegardit.grayswitch android.permission.WRITE_SECURE_SETTINGS


  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Accessibility
  3. Tap Display & Text Size
  4. Tap Color Filters
  5. Toggle Color Filters On
  6. Choose the Grayscale option

Now you probably won’t want to keep it in Grayscale forever, like if you receive a text of a picture and you want to behold it in all its glory. So you can set up a quick toggle between grayscale and normal color with a rapid triple-click of the home button or side button:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Accessibility
  3. Tap Accessibility Shortcut
  4. Select Color Filters

That’s it, now you can use grayscale on your phone to make it a lot less addictive!