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How to Use Screen Time in iOS 12

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple in iOS 12 introduced Screen Time, which is designed to provide you with information on how you're using your time on your iPhone and iPad.

With Screen Time, you can see how often you pick up your iOS device, which apps you're using, which apps are sending the most notifications, and other details.


Accessing Screen Time

There's no dedicated app for Screen Time, so it might not be immediately obvious how it's accessed when you first install iOS 12. All Screen Time features are actually available in the Settings app.

  1. Open up the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to the "Screen Time" section that's grouped with Notifications, Sounds, and Do Not Disturb.
  3. Tap on "Screen Time" to see your usage statistics.
Screen Time Syncing

Screen Time statistics are collected from all iOS devices running iOS 12 where you're logged in with your iCloud account. That means it will aggregate data from all iPhones and iPads that you use during the course of a day.


You can view your data across all devices or on a per device basis. To view other devices, tap on the "All Devices" label on the main Screen Time screen and then choose "Devices" from the upper right hand corner.

Info Available in Screen Time

When you open up Screen Time, a chart is displayed with information on your last 24 hours of iPhone usage, organized by each individual app or which app category you've used the most, such as Productivity, Games, Creativity, or Messages.


If you tap on that chart, you can see even more information from either the last 24 hours or the last 7 days, including your longest usage setting, the number of times you picked up your device during the day, and how many notifications you got, along with details on which apps are sending you the most notifications.

Other Screen Time Features

In the Screen Time section, you can set scheduled Downtime for yourself to restrict yourself (or a child) from using apps outside of those that have been allowed with App Limits, you can set specific time limits on app categories like social networking or games, and you can access Content & Privacy Restrictions, useful if you're managing a child's device.


If you use Family Sharing with a spouse, friend, or child, and you're the family manager, you'll also see family members' names listed under "Family" and will be able to see and control their app usage.

These features are relatively simple to use, but we'll be looking into them in more depth in future how tos.

Disabling Screen Time

If you don't want to use Screen Time, you can turn it off in the Settings app.


  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap "Screen Time."
  3. Scroll down to "Turn Off Screen Time" and tap it.
Turning off Screen Time on your device will delete all app, website, and notification history. You can re-enable Screen Time at any time, but it does not save data nor does it begin collecting data until enabled.

Article Link: How to Use Screen Time in iOS 12
 

scottct1

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2012
257
332
Connecticut USA
Hopefully they fix it, as I installed the beta on my sons phone and turned on Screen time from my iPhone so he can't use his phone after 10pm at night.

He found two ways to disable it.

1) When Screentime goes on and it shuts off his apps, he can still get into settings then into Date and Time settings and change the time to a time when Screentime restrictions are not in place.

2) Even easier is he set his phone to be in 24 hour mode and for some reason Screentime does not understand 24 hour mode so Screentime never kicks in at 10pm, since its 22:00 instead.
 
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midkay

macrumors regular
Jan 27, 2008
233
447
1) When Screentime goes on and it shuts off his apps, he can still get into settings then into Date and Time settings and change the time to a time when Screentime restrictions are not in place.

2) Even easier is he set his phone to be in 24 hour mode and for some reason Screentime does not understand 24 hour mode so Screentime never kicks in at 10pm, since its 22:00 instead.
Wow, hope you reported these bugs with Feedback. Those are both GLARING loopholes.
 
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xDKP

macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2011
1,514
1,129
Denmark
Wow, hope you reported these bugs with Feedback. Those are both GLARING loopholes.

Well aren’t we supposed to use some kind of parental control for the situations like this?

They very clearly said on stage it would remind you to turn off the app but you could continue if you wanted?
 
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bkaus

macrumors regular
Sep 26, 2014
222
259
Hopefully they fix it, as I installed the beta on my sons phone and turned on Screen time from my iPhone so he can't use his phone after 10pm at night.

He found two ways to disable it.

1) When Screentime goes on and it shuts off his apps, he can still get into settings then into Date and Time settings and change the time to a time when Screentime restrictions are not in place.

2) Even easier is he set his phone to be in 24 hour mode and for some reason Screentime does not understand 24 hour mode so Screentime never kicks in at 10pm, since its 22:00 instead.
Should of course be addressed. You filled out feedback requests documenting the problem?

Easy fix of course is to take away the device.
[doublepost=1531960348][/doublepost]
Well aren’t we supposed to use some kind of parental control for the situations like this?

They very clearly said on stage it would remind you to turn off the app but you could continue if you wanted?

There is a setting that “suggests” the apps not be used, or t can be set to block.
 
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Billberryjuice

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2014
269
192
UK
Hopefully they fix it, as I installed the beta on my sons phone and turned on Screen time from my iPhone so he can't use his phone after 10pm at night.

He found two ways to disable it.

1) When Screentime goes on and it shuts off his apps, he can still get into settings then into Date and Time settings and change the time to a time when Screentime restrictions are not in place.

2) Even easier is he set his phone to be in 24 hour mode and for some reason Screentime does not understand 24 hour mode so Screentime never kicks in at 10pm, since its 22:00 instead.
Just wow. Has this been fixed in the live version?
 
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thewebb

macrumors regular
Jul 22, 2014
204
198
AZ
I’ve found some of the screen times inaccurate. If the app was still open in the background it’s counting it as screen time for example Reddit. It’s still a bit buggy.
 
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cknibbs

macrumors 6502
Dec 12, 2012
264
714
I’m still seeing lots of bugs with screen time. For instance it shows my son played 1h 27m of games yesterday, but only shows 28m of total time yesterday. Also it won’t let me get reports on my other kids iPods. I hope they sort this out quick. I was hoping it would be all resolved once iOS 12 GM was released.
 
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one more

macrumors 68000
Aug 6, 2015
1,891
1,616
Earth
Disabling it altogether is another great option. Spending extra time staring at the screen trying to figure out how much time we spend staring at the screen is kinda ironic!
 
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Kagio

macrumors regular
Feb 26, 2008
221
235
My screentime section shows a WRONG iPhone Name. Its showing the name of the family iMac and my iCloud account is not even signed in in the iMac, what is this?

I used the iMac to install iOS 12 clean, that’s all.

Any thoughts? The rest of the iPhone naming sectiona ahow the name I wrote on the “About” section!
 
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mtngoatjoe

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2008
253
38
I, for one, am really glad Apple added this feature. It may have some bugs, but I'm thankful I can finally monitor how much time my daughter is using her device. She was really hacked when she found out I set a limit, but the next night was not a big deal.
 
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carbonrain

macrumors member
Jul 28, 2011
33
27
Austin, TX
Hopefully they fix it, as I installed the beta on my sons phone and turned on Screen time from my iPhone so he can't use his phone after 10pm at night.

He found two ways to disable it.

1) When Screentime goes on and it shuts off his apps, he can still get into settings then into Date and Time settings and change the time to a time when Screentime restrictions are not in place.

2) Even easier is he set his phone to be in 24 hour mode and for some reason Screentime does not understand 24 hour mode so Screentime never kicks in at 10pm, since its 22:00 instead.

Ah, how rebellion breeds ingenuity. :D
 
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MrZippyUK

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2016
73
45
I reported loads of cosmetic bugs with screen time, none fixed by the GM. Most annoying is when you change a setting it drops back two menu levels most of the time so you have to go back in two menus deep to continue configuring. Also it sometimes shows the bundle ID until you go back on and in when viewing restrictions for apps.

Poor poor show for a headline new feature.
 
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jonnysods

macrumors 604
Sep 20, 2006
6,724
3,591
There & Back Again
This is going to be handy to keep tabs on the kids and how much they use their devices.

Soon once we figure out some parameters I'll be able to help them get some control over their device usage. I even need that in my own life!
 
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Graphikos

macrumors member
Oct 26, 2007
56
145
I'm not sure what I'm missing but I'm unable to see my spouse's screen time report. She has her own iCloud account but we are set up under family. I can see my Son's iPad just fine. I want to say she can see my activity but I haven't got back on her phone to double check that.

I wish it had a dedicated app rather than digging into the settings which seems awkward.

I love it though. I like these type of stats (I use the Timing app for Mac) and having more control over my Son's device(s) is already been nice.
 
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MrZippyUK

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2016
73
45
I'm not sure what I'm missing but I'm unable to see my spouse's screen time report. She has her own iCloud account but we are set up under family. I can see my Son's iPad just fine. I want to say she can see my activity but I haven't got back on her phone to double check that.

I wish it had a dedicated app rather than digging into the settings which seems awkward.

I love it though. I like these type of stats (I use the Timing app for Mac) and having more control over my Son's device(s) is already been nice.
I haven’t checked but assume you can control kids, not adults accounts screen time.
 
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scrapesleon

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2017
870
1,299
Jamaica
Hopefully they fix it, as I installed the beta on my sons phone and turned on Screen time from my iPhone so he can't use his phone after 10pm at night.

He found two ways to disable it.

1) When Screentime goes on and it shuts off his apps, he can still get into settings then into Date and Time settings and change the time to a time when Screentime restrictions are not in place.

2) Even easier is he set his phone to be in 24 hour mode and for some reason Screentime does not understand 24 hour mode so Screentime never kicks in at 10pm, since its 22:00 instead.
Typical kids always beating the system
 
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blkdogedit

macrumors newbie
Sep 20, 2013
4
0
I haven’t checked but assume you can control kids, not adults accounts screen time.
I am seeing nothing under my family settings. I am actually not seeing Family settings at all. My Family is listed under iCloud. Can someone walk me through how to add Family in Screentime?
 
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Graphikos

macrumors member
Oct 26, 2007
56
145
I haven’t checked but assume you can control kids, not adults accounts screen time.

Yea, I don't necessarily want to control my wife's screen time (hmmm...) but rather just see the report.

I am seeing nothing under my family settings. I am actually not seeing Family settings at all. My Family is listed under iCloud. Can someone walk me through how to add Family in Screentime?

I can see my son's iPad under both Settings > Apple ID/iCloud > Family Sharing > Screen Time and under Settings > Screen Time. I believe the settings to turn it on are under Family Sharing. Again, I wish they put all this under a dedicated app.

If you aren't seeing it then some sign out/in on all the devices seems to fix things.
 
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Gregmart

macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2018
1
0
I hate new stuff being turned on automatically. I almost always have to go hunting around to find out how to disable the bells and whistles.[/QUOTE]
 
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C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
51,378
19,422
I hate new stuff being turned on automatically. I almost always have to go hunting around to find out how to disable the bells and whistles.
Was it automatically enabled? (That aside, normally it's certainly not a bad idea to go through settings and review things after a major update.)
 
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Palmsos1980

macrumors newbie
Sep 25, 2018
1
0
Just wow. Has this been fixed in the live version?

No it hasn’t. I just trialed it and it automatically unlocks everything just as it was nothing. There are a few ways to catch if someone changed the time however.

In messages, if a text was sent or received under the changed time it will show that date it arrives. For example, if I change the time for two days from now, receive a message, it will still show that two days from now date even when I change it back to the current time.

It also resets the usage when they go from one day to another and doesn’t log the time properly either.

One way to truly block it until they fix the problem is to allow a one minute “free” unblocked time. So the kiddos will have to change it every minute as it will block them. Pretty cruel and crude way of doing it, but screen time is useless until they fix it.
 
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