Apple hopes to help you better manage your time with Screen Time

Manage your family’s time on Apple devices using an iOS, iPadOS, and macOS feature called Screen Time.

There seems to be a new wave of features and applications coming to increase your “digital wellbeing”. Google was one the scene first with the release of the Android P.

ButApple quickly followed suit with the release of its Screen Time feature in iOS 12+ and macOS Catalina+.

But just what is Screen Time and what does it do?

What is Screen Time?

It’s no secret that we spend way too much time on our various handheld devices. Regardless of whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, Android phone, or something else, there’s a display somewhere.

Kids and adults alike are spending less time outdoors and more time with their eyes glued to screens. Screen Time aims to help you curb that bad habit with a series of charts and graphs.

Hidden in the Settings app on your iPhone, you will find a new Screen Time option on iOS 12+. This provides access to your activity dashboard, along with a few extra tools.

Screen Time Overview

Before diving into your Activity Dashboard, Screen Time offers an overview. This is where you access various settings and tools to help you step away from your devices.

There is an overview of your usage, broken down into various categories. Additionally, there are four more subsections for the following:

  • Downtime: Schedule time away from the screen.
  • App Limits: Set time limits for apps.
  • Always Allowed: Choose apps you at all times.
  • Content & Privacy Restrictions: Block inappropriate content.

Also from this overview, you can set a passcode to be able to access Screen Time. You can also turn Screen Time off so that you won’t be guilt-tripped into using the “wrong” apps.

Further down the line, you can set up “Screen Time for Family”. This takes advantage of Family Sharing and allows parents to keep an eye on what their children are doing.

Activity Dashboard

When you open the Activity Dashboard, you will be presented with a bunch of information. At the top, you can view today’s usage, or see the usage from the last seven days.

General Usage

Below that, there is a graph showing different types of apps being used and the length. There is more breakdown of these numbers directly below, along with more information.

Depending on the apps that you are using, the categories listed may vary. These range from Social Networking and Entertainment, all the way to Productivity and Games.

Two more sub-sections reveal how long your “longest session” lasted, along with your usage after bedtime. This is determined by your usage and calculated within the app itself.

Most Used

To be as thorough as possible, Apple breaks down your usage stats even more. The first way is through the “Most Used” section. This shows which apps or categories of apps are being used the most.

For example, in the screenshot above, you can see that Andrew has spent over an hour on Social Networking apps. Along with 39 minutes on Twitter, 32 minutes on games, and just 25 minutes in Productivity apps.

The hourglass to the right of each option allows you to set specific app limits. These can be applied to specific apps or categories of apps such as Social Networking or Games.


One question that I have always wondered is – How many times do I pick up my phone? With iOS and Screen Time, that question has been answered.

The Pickups section shows you a breakdown of how often you pick up your device. There is an average per hour in the top left, total count in the top right, and even how often you pick up your phone (or iPad).


The final section here is one of the most important – Notifications. Apple has made a real stride with iOS and watchOS to improve notifications across the board.

With the help of Screen Time, you can see an overview of all of the notifications received. There is a time graph at the top showing when the most notifications arrived.

Further below, the chart is broken down on a per-app basis. The apps that sent the most notifications will be at the top, with the least amount placed below in numerical order.


Screen Time is an interesting way to see exactly how you are using your phone. However, the real fun comes when you need to step away from a game for a few hours, or stay off of social media.

Let us know what you think about Screen Time and if you think it is a viable option to keep you off of your devices.


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