It can be very easy to spend too much time on your phone, checking social media posts, news updates, video clips, messaging apps and then backtracking. Before you know it, half an hour or more has passed and you’ve accomplished very little.
If you’re looking to achieve a better balance between the time you spend looking at your phone’s screen and the time you spend doing everything else, Android has a tool that can help you. It’s called Digital Wellbeing, and like Screen Time for the iPhone, it can tell you about your phone usage and help you set limits.
Digital Wellbeing is enabled by default, so the first time you open it, you should find that it’s already monitoring what you do on your phone. It’s available on Android devices from all manufacturers, so you should be able to access it whether you’re using a Google Pixel, a Samsung Galaxy, or any other Android phone.
To find Digital Wellbeing, open Settings and scroll down to Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls. If you have your children set up through Google Family LinkYou can use Digital Wellbeing to set limits on what your kids can do on their devices, but here we’ll focus on how to use it yourself.
Track phone usage
The opening screen of the Digital Wellbeing app shows you how you’ve been using your phone so far, with a pie chart showing the time spent in each app and how much time you’ve been on your phone in total. Below that, you can see how many times you’ve unlocked your phone that day and how many notifications have arrived.
- Tap anywhere on the pie chart to see a bar graph showing your stats for today compared to other days of the week, along with a list of recently used apps. That screen is called your Panel. You can also access it by choosing Control Panel from the main Digital Wellbeing screen.
- Tap any bar to see the minute breakdown by app.
- Swipe left or right on the bar chart to jump between weeks. Below the chart, you will see today’s date; You can tap the arrows next to the date to scroll day by day.
- Tap on the Screen time drop-down menu above the bar chart to switch between Screen time, Notifications receivedand Open hours. The bar chart will update to reflect your choice.
Below the bar chart, you will get a list of apps, arranged in order. Depending on what is selected from the Screen time menu, you’ll see the apps you’ve spent the most time on, the apps with the most notifications, or the apps you’ve opened the most at the top.
Set app limits
From the dashboard, you can set time limits on any specific app.
- Tap the stopwatch icon next to the app name. If you don’t see the app you want, tap Show all apps at the end of the list.
- Choose the time you can spend on the app per day. The dialog box lets you choose between five minutes and 23 hours and 55 minutes, so there’s a lot of flexibility.
- Tap OK to confirm your choice. The stopwatch icon next to the app changes to show the time limit you just set; Tap it again to edit or delete the stopwatch.
When you have one minute left before the timer starts and your app usage is limited, Android will gray out the screen; when the time is up you will see a message on the screen and after tapping OKthe application will close.
It’s not the most effective tool for limiting screen time because you can go back to Digital Wellbeing and give yourself more time, but together, with a little willpower, you may find that it can improve your phone habits.
This is for those times when you need to study, work, or spend time with family and you don’t want your phone to interrupt you. It’s basically a more efficient way to set app limits.
- From the main Digital Wellbeing screen, tap Focus mode. You’ll see a list of the apps on your phone, with those that send the most notifications at the top.
- Select all the apps you want to silence while focus mode is active. Not only will alerts from these apps not appear or make any sound, but you won’t be able to open them either.
- Tap Activate now to start a focus mode session immediately or Set a schedule to turn on automatically at the same time every day.
When focus mode is active, you will see a persistent notification icon in the status bar. Open the notification and you’ll have the option to turn off focus mode or temporarily disable it for five, 10, or 15 minutes.
There’s one more feature you can use that helps you take a break from your phone when you especially need it: when you want to get some sleep.
- From the main Digital Wellbeing screen, tap Bedtime mode so your phone gives you a gentle nudge when it’s time to go to sleep. You can turn your phone screen into grayscale, enable “do not disturb” and dim your phone wallpaper.
- You can choose a time for bedtime mode to start or start it manually. Once you’ve been using it for a while, a summary of how well you’ve been using it will also appear here.
- Through the Personalize link, you can configure what happens at bedtime and which of the options (such as grayscale display) you want to enable.
In addition to Bedtime mode, you also have other options that you’ll see in Digital Wellbeing, taken from other parts of Android’s Settings screens: You can set your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” mode (a more sophisticated version of Focus mode). , for example, as well as control which apps have permission to send notifications.