This iPhone Hack Will Help You Get in and out of the Grocery Store Much Faster

published Aug 11, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

My biggest distraction while grocery shopping (besides you, snack section) is my phone. I’m usually picking through the parsleys, deciding which is my soulmate, and my device dings. It’s often a trivial alert, but then I’m sucked into screenland — a 10-minute paralysis in the produce aisle. If that parsley could talk, it would probably dump me then and there. 

I’m a big fan of making paper lists to help me stay on track, but they always get lost mid-shop, crumpled, or become illegible after the ink brushes up with the parsley. I’d often snap a picture of a list before a grocery run, or jot the items down in my Notes App, but this just has me checking my phone more with even more access to it. Which means more distractions!

Then pandemic hit: Mask wearing meant I’d flunk the Face ID scanner every time, and my lock code is annoyingly complicated (If only we could go back to phones with home buttons and Touch ID). In an act of desperation, I opened up my phone’s wallpaper settings, and set my lock screen to a screenshot of my shopping list

Credit: Aliza Gans

It isn’t Nobel Prize-worthy, but this 10-second trick of tweaking my lock screen to my list has changed my whole shopping experience and cut my time spent in the store by half. Now when I’m shopping and I pick up my phone (it’s an innate habit at this point), I instantly see a clear path to checkout. I just glance at my phone (no unlocking, no navigating through the apps!) and get a refresher of what I need.

One more tip: I’ve also gotten in the habit of turning on the “do not disturb” mode so that I can stay focused, and so that push notifications don’t obscure my lock screen list. Then, while I’m waiting in the checkout line, I can get back to doomscrolling, turn “do not disturb” off, and switch my background back to that 2004 Disney World family photo for my constant dose of amusement. 

And guess what else? That screenshot of my grocery list remains in my photo library to help me meal plan, keep me mindful of food waste, and avoid impulse-buying later in the week. Now when I’m planning a grocery run, I just open up the template I made in my Notes App, fill it in with this week’s flavors, and hit the supermarket more efficiently than ever.