How to Set Up Screen Time on Your iPhone

Turn on screen time to see how long you really spend browsing!
1 minute

Screen Time, which came out with iOS 12, is a handy feature that helps you understand and limit your iPhone usage. This feature allows you to see how long you use your apps, browse the web, see your weekly and daily average iPhone time spent, and limit the use of particular apps. You can even set downtime (time away from your iPhone screen) so that you can spend time on the things that matter most and boost your productivity.

Because it can be so easy to get caught up scrolling through Instagram, playing your favorite mobile game or chatting on Snapchat, being able to see charts that represent your iPhone usage can be a bit of a wakeup call, but it can also help you reprioritize and set goals. Let me give you a rundown of some of the features screen time offers so that you can use screen time effectively.

Screen time features

  • Weekly reports- Weekly reports of your iPhone usage per the apps, app types, and hours spent using them.
  • Downtime- Downtime is a feature you have to manually turn on that allows you to schedule downtime (time away from the screen) on certain days at certain times (of your choosing). You can even block your iPhone during downtime, so you got get tempted to use your iPhone anyway.
  • App limits- You can limit all apps, specific apps, or even all apps of a certain type (like social media apps). You can set the limits you prefer. Most people allow themselves a couple of hours a day of social media apps and the like.
  • Communication limits-If you notice you spend too much time chatting with friends instead of getting work done, you can limit the amount of time you can communicate via FaceTime, Messages, and the Phone app. You can even set it to only allow specific contacts.
  • Content and privacy restrictions- This feature is the heftiest of the bunch. There is a ton you can do with content and privacy restrictions. For example, you can decide between allowing and not allowing the use and changes of Photos, iTunes and App Store Purchases, and restrict specific content such as specific websites.
  • Screen time passcode- Your screen time passcode is usually the same as your iPhone passcode by default, except when setting up screen time for a child.

In this guide, I show you how to set up screen time on your iPhone, if you are looking to set it up for a child or minor, we also have a handy guide on how to set up screen time for your child.

Note: These steps can be completed on other iOS or iPadOS devices as well, though steps may slightly vary. Steps may also vary slightly depending on your iOS version, so make sure you are up to date before continuing.

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Open Settings

First, go to your home screen and find the Settings app. This can often be found in the utilities folder.

Click "Screen Time"

Then, click "screen time" so we can turn on screen time.

Turn on Screen Time

Now, click "turn on screen time."

Click "Continue"

Review the information given by Apple about some of the main features that come with screen time (which I outlined above). Then, click "continue."

Chose the Product Type

For the purposes of this guide, we are choosing "this is my iPhone." Setting up screen time on a child's iPhone comes with some extra steps which I have outlined in a separate guide!

Voila!

Done! You have enabled screen time.

For the next 24 hours, use your iPhone as per usual. Then, give your iPhone screen time activity a peek. This will give you an accurate read of your daily use.

To check your screen time activity follow the steps below:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click "screen time."
  3. Review the activity. I prefer to click "see all activity," and view it there.
Customize your favorite contact's ringtones!
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Sometimes, when you are busy or out and about and your iPhone starts ringing, you don't want to pick it up, but you know it might be so-and-so with that important call you've been waiting on.