Smartphones are amazing but let’s be honest, they have a way of taking over our lives. Thanks to our phones, time that should be spent accomplishing tasks can easily be wasted scrolling through social media or playing games. And on the flip side, time that could be spent relaxing and unwinding can be interrupted with work emails, annoying phone calls and even more scrolling.
If you ever get the feeling that you spend too much time staring at your phone, Apple has a fix for you. That’s right, a company that depends on people using their phones also wants to help curb smartphone addiction. With iOS 12, Apple introduced Screen Time on iPhone – a feature that helps you manage your phone usage.
With Screen Time on iPhone, you can:
Follow this guide to learn how to set up Screen Time and start taking control of your iPhone usage.
To get started, you’ll need to update your phone to the latest operating system – iOS 12 – if you haven’t already. Once you’re running iOS 12, here’s how to enable Screen Time on your iPhone:
On the last step, you might have noticed the option for selecting This is My Child’s iPhone. With this option, you can either set up Screen Time directly on their iPhone by following the steps above, or you can use Family Sharing to configure their Screen Time settings from your device. Here’s how to set up Family Sharing so you can use your device to set up Screen Time on your child’s iPhone:
Follow the prompts on your screen to set up Family Sharing and add devices to your family group (you’ll need to set up Apple IDs for each device before you add them to the group)
To get an idea of how you’re using your iPhone (or of how your kids are using their phones), you can pull up your Screen Time report to see:
Here’s how to access the Screen Time report:
You can then filter by time range and see different usage categories (if you’ve enabled Share Across Devices, you can also see your usage on other devices that you are signed in on with your Apple ID)
From your Screen Time report, you can also set limits on how much time you can use specific apps and view certain content. Here are some helpful Screen Time settings to try:
If you worry you’re spending too much time scrolling on social media or gaming in apps, you’ll want to check out this feature. App Limits allows you to set daily time limits on app categories. Here’s how:
Need help unplugging at the end of the day? The Downtime feature is perfect for mitigating temptations to use your phone. With Downtime, you can set specific times during your day to shut out distracting notifications. During these times, your phone will only notify you about calls and apps alerts that you choose. To set up Downtime:
If you set up Downtime or App Limits but want to make sure you can still easily access essential apps, the Always Allowed feature is the way to go. With Always Allowed, you can choose which apps you’ll be able to access at all times. Here’s how to set it up:
This feature can help you block certain types of content and help you manage what kind of information your phone shares about your usage. Here’s how to set up Content & Privacy Restrictions: