How to Control Your Screen Time on Android

How to Control Your Screen Time on Android

Maybe you spent so much time in your phone without noticing it. It happens, and it’s a really common issue. Luckily, Google is willing to help you reduce the time spent on your phone, the company has embedded into Android an entire range of features that are dedicated to this very purpose.

Controlling your screen time on Android can be a great way to maintain a healthy balance between using your device and engaging with the world around you. Here are some tips for how to do it:

Using the Digital Wellbeing tool

  1. First we have to find Digital Wellbeing in our phone (if not download it from the Play Store). Open the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Scroll down until you find “Digital Wellbeing & parental controls” and tap on it.
  3. Clicking on “Digital Wellbeing & parental controls” in the Settings app.
  4. At the top of the display, a pie chart displays your usage pattern for the day and provides a view of the apps you have accessed, with the apps you’ve used the most taking up more real estate in the pie chart.

You can also see information on how many times you’ve unlocked the phone and the number of notifications you received.

Set app limits: Within Digital Wellbeing

Digital Wellbeing tool

You can set daily app usage limits for specific apps. Once you’ve reached your limit, you won’t be able to use the app again until the next day.

  1. Go to “Settings -> Digital Wellbeing & personal controls -> Dashboard.”
  2. You’ll get statistics about your daily use, notification flow, and number of times you’ve unlocked your phone.
  3. Below, you can see a list of the most used apps on a given day. Also, take note of which apps tend to send you the most notifications by switching from “Screen time” to “Notifications” using the menu on top.
  4. Armed with this information, you can decide which app needs to have limited access. Find it in the list and tap on it.
  5. Scroll down in the “Settings” area and press on “App timer.”
  6. Set the amount of time (per day or per hour) you want the app to be available to you.
    Setting app timer in Digital Wellbeing.
  7. Alternatively, you can limit the number of notifications the app sends you to minimize temptation by clicking on the other option in the “Settings” area: “Manage notifications.”
  8. You can opt to disable all notifications for the app or have only the high-priority ones go through.

What Happens When an App Timer Expires

Once a timer is close to running out, you’ll notice that the app screen turns black and white. After a short time, a small window will pop up alerting you that the app is paused, and the timer will start again tomorrow.

Use Bedtime Mode

Bedtime Mode is another component of Digital Wellbeing that aims to help you create a healthier sleep routine. If you tend to stay in bed swiping on your phone endlessly until late into the night, only to wake up the next morning exhausted, this feature may be something you need to start using. You can find it in:

Settings -> Digital Wellbeing & parental controls -> Bedtime mode.

Can I add Digital Wellbeing to my app drawer for easier access?

If you don’t want to go through Settings every time you want to tweak a setting regarding your digital wellbeing, you can add it as an app in your app drawer. Go to “Settings -> Digital Wellbeing & parental controls,” and scroll all the way down until you find “Show icon in the app list” and turn on the feature. Go to your app drawer to search for and find the app.

Is Digital Wellbeing available on iOS devices?

Features similar to Digital Wellbeing are available on iOS devices under Screen time and Focus in Settings. Using Screen time, you can set Downtime to schedule time away from the screen or set “App Limits.” Under Focus, you’ll find options, such as Personal Focus, which allows you to silence notifications and customize your screen and apps.

Another option is Sleep Focus, which is similar in function to Bedtime mode, although it comes with a few additional options, such as the abilities to customize your lock screen or home screen and add focus filters.

Are there any other options?

There are many third-party apps with features similar to Digital Wellbeing. Some, like YourHour, offer more advanced reporting capabilities, while also displaying a countdown. Another alternative is Space, a beautifully-designed app that aims to calm your mind and allow you to focus on what really matters.