- Scheduled blocking stops the "I'll just check X before I start work," spiral
- Block internet access entirely for truly distraction-free sessions
- Locked mode to prevent sneaky social media sessions
- Not available for Android devices
- Informal support system
- Free trial has limited features. Why? If you want us to buy it, let us try it!
When I was a student writing up my thesis, I used to ask my flatmate to take my internet cable to work with him in the mornings. No internet = major increase in productivity. However, in these days of ubiquitous Wi-Fi access, it’s a lot more difficult. That’s where the Freedom app comes in. Freedom can block the internet, or specific websites, on your computer or cell phone for a specified amount of time allowing you to work distraction-free. This Freedom app review will tell you all you need to know to setup and use Freedom to increase your productivity.
A Guaranteed Way to Get Stuff Done: Freedom App Review
How Much Does Freedom App Cost?
Unlimited access to Freedom for one month. Monthly Billing. Cancel Anytime.
Unlimited access to Freedom for one year. 60 Day Money Back Guarantee. Billed $29 annually.
Unlimited access to Freedom forever. 60 Day Money Back Guarantee.
What Do You Get With Freedom?
Freedom is not a plugin but an app you download on your PC, Mac or mobile device. Subscribing to one of the paid plans above gives you unlimited blocking sessions, of unlimited websites on an unlimited number of devices for the duration of your plan. Freedom also offers a guaranteed 60-day money back guarantee on their monthly and lifetime plans.
How Does Freedom Work?
Register for a Freedom account and then download and run the installer from the Freedom website to install Freedom on your PC or Mac. Once you’ve installed the app, set up your blocklists and start blocking websites. The slideshow below will walk you through setting up and using Freedom.
- Register for an account with Freedom.
- Choose your plan.
- Choose your payment method and click Subscribe.
- This is what your dashboard looks like before you’ve downloaded the app and added your devices. Download the app now.
- Choose your system and follow the simple instructions. For the rest of this demo, we’ll be using Windows.
- Once the app is installed on your desktop, you’ll be asked to log in again and a cute little butterfly icon will appear in you status bar.
- It’s important to change your time zone on your profile page so your scheduled Freedom sessions start at the time you expect them.
- This is how your dashboard looks after you’ve downloaded the app to your device.
- For a simple Freedom session, click start now, enter the duration, select your blocklist(s) (more on this on slide 12), select your device(s) and click start.
- Set a Freedom session to start later by selecting the start time, end time, your blocklist(s) and device(s) and clicking save.
- Set a recurring Freedom session by selecting the start time, end time, the days you want the block, your blocklist(s) and device(s) and clicking save. Add more sessions by clicking Add a session.
- Freedom has a preinstalled blocklist called Social which contains many social media sites. You can add or remove sites by clicking on the plus or tick. You can also add sites by entering the URL.
- Give your new blocklist a name and add sites to it. You can create blocklists for your favorite blogs, sports sites, email etc. Click save when you’re done. You can edit it later.
- You can create a blocklist to block all sites by clicking block all websites.
- Here’s an example session: A 5-minute block on my social blocklist on my Windows PC. Just click start.
- The session is in progress. You can hover over the butterfly in the status bar to see how long is left.
- Oops! No tweeting for me for the next 5 minutes!
- There’s no need to open the website every time you want to start a session. You can set Freedom sessions by clicking the butterfly symbol in your status bar and selecting your settings. You can quit Freedom sessions (unless you have lock mode activated) by selecting Quit.
Freedom Review Criteria
For something that only has one job to do (blocking websites), Freedom comes with some pretty neat features. Being able to schedule recurring Freedom sessions at times you know you are going to be working is a great feature. Being able to create your own blocklists is useful if you want to do some internet research but not be distracted by email or social media. And the locked mode is invaluable for those of us who just can’t keep away from our favourite websites.
However, there is one major feature that is missing. While you can download Freedom for your Windows PC, Mac, iPad and iPhones, there is no Android client at the moment. The Freedom website says there is one in development, but until it is available the 80% of cell phone users with an Android device can too easily resort to their phones for a sneaky peak at Twitter. Once the Android client is released, I’d rate Freedom as an almost perfect app.
Here are some of the other features of Freedom:
Cover All of Your Devices
Freedom blocks distracting websites and apps on all your devices. Covered devices include:
- Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9), Yosemite (10.10), and El Capitan (10.11)
- Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10
- iOS 9 on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
- Android client in development as of 24-June-2016
Block Apps and Websites
Create unlimited lists of websites and apps that distract you. Just imagine how much more you could get done by just by blocking access to Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube. Mix and match them during the day. Of course, you can block the entire internet for truly distraction-free sessions.
Schedule Freedom Sessions
Build new, productive habits with the scheduling feature. Set it and forget it! Want to write for an hour every morning before work? Set your Freedom session to coincide with your alarm clock and you’ll have an hour of distraction-free writing with your morning coffee.
Build Habits with Locked Mode
Locked mode gives your willpower an extra boost! No sneaky restarting your device to get around the block. For those with a real internet addiction!
It couldn’t be simpler to create an account, pay for your plan and download the app. Once you’re logged in you can start your first Freedom session with a single click. Setting up custom blocklists and recurring scheduled Freedom sessions is simple and intuitive and is explained in full in the slideshow above.
Ease of Use
Once you’ve set up your blocklists and recurring Freedom sessions, there’s not much more you need to do. If you discover a new website that you can’t keep away from, just add it to your blocklist. If you want an unplanned Freedom session, just click the icon in the status bar, select your settings and click go. It took me a little while to get my recurring Freedom sessions right, but once I did I found my productivity really increased as I got into a routine of working distraction-free with a short reward, kind of like the Pomodoro technique.
There is a support section on the website that should answer most of your questions. Further support is managed via a Twitter account where most support requests appear to be dealt with in a friendly and prompt manner. When further details are required, an email can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. It appears support requests occasionally fall through the cracks which is the downside of an informal support system instead of a ticket system where support request can be logged and tracked properly. Freedom is very easy to setup and you shouldn’t have any problems so I wouldn’t let this worry you too much.
Value for Money
This app is worth its weight in gold. You could make back the $119.99 cost of a lifetime license in a couple of days just by using all that distraction-free time to write a couple of quality posts with solid affiliate links. Of course, Freedom is a bit like joining the gym: it’s only good value for money if you use it. And if you do, I guarantee you’ll see an increase in your productivity.