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How to Use Screen Time to Stare at Your iPhone Less in 2023

If you haven't yet, it's time to turn Screen Time on your iPhone "on."

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In 2018, Apple rolled out "Screen Time" (as part of iOS 12) and it's been baked into every new iPhone since. The simple feature is shows you how much time you spend staring at on your smartphone each day and week, giving you detailed graphs and reports, but it also can be a really powerful tool for those who want to manage their device usage and change their habits.

Screen Time has a bunch of useful features that you can take advantage of. You can set daily time limits for specific apps; for example, if you only want to be able to use Instagram or Twitter for an hour each day. You set "downtimes" or times when you can use certain apps (or even your iPhone) throughout the day; say you don't want to be able to access social media between noon and 5pm during a work day. You can sync Screen Time across your iPhone or iPad so you can't cheat by switching devices. And if you have kids, you can manage how much time they spend on certain apps, as well.

If you've never used Screen Time before, you'll need to turn it on — it's off by default (if you haven't set it up when first setting up your iPhone).

How to turn on Screen Time

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select "Screen Time."
  3. Select "Turn On Screen Time."

    Once turned on, Screen Time will automatically keep track of your iPhone usable — how much time you spend staring at your screen each day and how long you're using each app for.

    How to set up App Limits

    If you don't know how much time you spend using your iPhone or a specific app each day or week, we recommend not adjusting any settings within Screen Time for a week. Then, when the week is done, check out your stats and then adjust your perimeters (App Limits and Downtime) accordingly. But once you know, you set time limits for specific apps — here's how:

    1. Open the Settings app.
    2. Select "Screen Time."
    3. Scroll down and select "App Limits."
    4. Select "Add Limit."
    5. Find and select the app (or category of app, like Games).
    6. Select "Next."
    7. Set how long you want to be able to use that app each day.
    8. Select "Add" in the top-right corner.

        You set the app limits to apply to certain days and you can turn them off at any time by going into Screen Time within the Settings app.

        How to turn Screen Time into a widget

        We recommend making turning Screen Time into a widget on your iPhone's Today View screen, that way you can access more easily to check up on your progress. Here's how:

        1. Swipe right from your Home Screen or Lock Screen (to access your Today View).
        2. Scroll down and select Edit.
        3. Select the Plus icon (+) in the upper-left corner.
        4. Search for "Screen Time" and add.
        5. Afterward, you can move the widget higher up on the Today View by long-pressing the widget and dragging it up.

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