On Tuesday, Thrive Global reported on how the mindfulness app Space was banned from the App Store.

Ramsay Brown, cofounder of the app’s development studio, Dopamine Labs, told us that an App Store Review rep told him that “any app designed to help people use their phones less is unacceptable for distribution in the App Store.”

That’s apparently changed. Brown says that on Tuesday, Apple told him that the company will allow Space into the App Store — it’s slated to be there at the end of the month. Apple’s reported turnaround comes after Sunday’s 60 Minutes, where Dopamine Labs was featured as one of several thought leaders in the movement for ethical software design, called Time Well Spent. (Thrive has reached out to Apple for comment.)

The way Space works is pretty straight forward. Upon signing up, you get a replacement icon for your social media platform of choice. Mine is Twitter, and instead of a solid blue bird, the icon is a spacey bird silhouette.

Upon opening the app, it asks me to breathe for 10 seconds or so. The idea is that if you’re mindlessly checking the app, the breathing prompt will lead you to invest your attention elsewhere so that you only really use the app if you consciously decide to.


“As someone who cares about what technology does to people’s minds, I have to be optimistic that Apple is taking steps toward responsible persuasive computing,” or recognizing the power software has over people’s minds, Brown says.

To learn more about what devices are doing to our individual minds and society as a whole, read our Q&A with Time Well Spent leader and former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris.

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com


  • DRAKE BAER is a deputy editor at Business Insider, where he leads a team of 20+ journalists in covering the shifting nature of organizations, wealth, and demographics in the United States. He has been a senior writer at New York Magazine, a contributing writer at Fast Company, and the director of content for a human resources consultancy. A speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other conferences, he circumnavigated the globe before turning 25. Perception is his second book.