How to limit screen time on your iPhone (and your kids phone)

We’re all spending too much time on our phones, so the argument goes, and Apple finally did its part to do something about it. In this case it’s “Screen Time,” a new feature on iOS 12 that tells you how long you’ve been using certain apps on your iPhone or iPad at its simplest, and which lets parents place numerous limits on app usage for kids at its most complex. (Or, if you feel like you’ve been spending too much time on, say, Twitter, you can place those limits on yourself.)

limit screen time kids

At the end of each week, you’ll get an automatic report detailing how often you or your child used the device, as well as the percentage of time spent on apps with specific categories, such as Social Networking, Games, Entertainment, and Productivity. Alternatively, you can get current information about these stats by visiting Screen Time at any time. With that information, you’ll have a better idea of where you need to place limits.

Regardless of how you want to use it, here’s how it works.

To use Screen Time and set up iPhone time limits, you need to be running iOS 12 on your device. iOS 12 is available for iPhones as far as back as iPhone 5s, iPads including iPad Air, and the sixth-generation iPod touch. You can go to Settings -> Software Update if you aren’t yet up-to-date.

On an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12, open Settings and tap on Screen Time. The Screen Time page acts as a hub for all different types of time limits, content restrictions and activity overview. You can set an iPhone time limit called Downtime, which restricts usage of your entire device on a daily time schedule.

You can also be more granular and add time limits for specific apps. Unfortunately, if you tap the App Limits button on the screen, Screen Time will ask you to select categories of apps to apply limits to. You can pick categories like Social Networking, Productivity, or Games which encompass many installed apps into a group. It’s not immediately obvious how to set an iPhone time limit for a specific app …

From the Screen Time homepage, Do not tap on the App Limits icon. Instead, tap on the graph at the top of the screen. This will show you every app that you have used recently. You can change the bar at the top to see stats for today’s or the last week.

Oskar Elmgart