Android: Limit screen time with on-board tools

Android: Limit screen time with on-board tools

Open Digital Wellbeing

The Digital Wellbeing application is a suitable on-board tool for managing screen time. Some manufacturers also call the app Digital Wellbeing in a one-to-one translation. It is integrated in most smartphones from Android 9.0.

  1. Smartphone with Android 12
    First go to Settings. The tool can be found in the app overview and is easily recognizable by the gear icon.
  2. Smartphone with Android 12
    Within the settings, then switch to the search field.
  3. Smartphone with Android 12
    Now enter the search term “digital wellbeing” and tap on the corresponding hit.
  4. Smartphone with Android 12
    You will now see an overview in the form of a pie chart. Tap on this graphic.
  5. Smartphone with Android 12
    You will then be taken to the dashboard with the weekly overview. The current day is always selected.
  6. Smartphone with Android 12
    You can quickly switch to another day with a tap of your finger. Then scroll down a bit.
  7. Smartphone with Android 12
    Now select a program whose screen time you want to limit and tap the hourglass icon next to it.
  8. Smartphone with Android 12
    In the dialog box that opens, specify the allowed time, for example one hour. Then accept your change with “OK”.
  9. Smartphone with Android 12
    In the dashboard you can now see the specified usage time for the respective app under the hourglass.
  10. Smartphone with Android 12
    When the timer runs out, you will receive a notification that the app will be paused. Their icon on the screen is also greyed out.

The quickest way to find the little helper is to first go to the settings on your mobile device. If you haven’t already placed this tool on the home screen, you will find it in the overview of the installed apps. Most manufacturers use a gear symbol as the icon.

Within the settings it is advisable to use the search. This saves you time-consuming navigation through various menus and sub-menus. It is best to type Digital Wellbeing or Digital Wellbeing letter by letter into the search field until the right suggestion appears. On our test device with Android 12, the menu item was under Settings / Digital Wellbeing & Parental Settings.

adjust settings

After you have called up the corresponding hit, you will first see an overview in the form of a pie chart. It reveals how much time you spent with your smartphone today and what proportion is allocated to the individual applications. Tapping on the chart takes you to the dashboard.

A weekly overview appears at the top. You can switch to any day in this time slot with a tap of your finger. If you scroll down the page a little, you will see a list of all the applications you used that day. At the top is the app with the longest usage time. Generally, this is a browser or a messenger, such as Google Chrome or Telegram. The further down an app is in the list, the less you used it.

To limit screen time for a program, tap the hourglass icon next to it. This symbol is only missing for important system apps, for example the Play Store or the settings. A pop-up dialog then opens in which you can set the timer. Then confirm your change with OK.

The specified usage time for the relevant application now appears in the dashboard below the hourglass. When it’s expired, you’ll get a notification that the app will be paused. The application no longer starts, its icon on the screen is greyed out. The timer is only reset at midnight and you can access the app again.

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