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Google launches Digital Wellbeing beta for Android 9.0 Pie (Update: Much easier now)
Update, August 9, 2018 (12:55PM EST): The beta program for Google’ new Digital Wellbeing suite of tools just got a little easier to access. You still need a device running Android 9.0 Pie (currently a Pixel phone or the Essential Phone only) but you don’t need to wait for an email and click a special link, as described below.
Eventually, Digital Wellbeing will be a part of Android 9.0 Pie and you won’t have to run through any of these steps. But that won’t happen until the app is out of beta, so give it a try and let Google know some feedback.
Original Article, August 6, 2018 (01:00PM EST): At Google I/O 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spent a great deal of time talking about Google’s responsibility for the amount of time people spend on their smartphones. He referred to this as our “digital wellbeing.”
As part of Google’s efforts to help people take more control of how much screen time they consume each day, Android 9.0 Pie is introducing a new feature appropriately called Digital Wellbeing. The beta of this new tool is open now to anyone with a Pixel device running Android 9.0 Pie.
You can click the button at the bottom of this article to visit a sign-up form that will put the Digital Wellbeing app on your Pixel device. There is no other official way to get Digital Wellbeing for now.
Digital Wellbeing comes with four major features that will help you put your phone down for at least part of the day and enjoy your non-digital life:
This easy-to-read chart gives you a quick glance at how much time you’re spending on your device and which apps occupy the largest percentages of that time. It also tells you how many times you’ve unlocked your phone and how many notifications you’ve received.
If you notice you are spending way too much time using the YouTube app, for example, you can use the App Timer tool to notify you when you’ve hit a certain time limit. You can easily customize the limit for each app. However, all App Timer does is notify you that you’ve hit the time limit and then gray-out the icon for the rest of the day; you can still use the app during these times.
Do Not Disturb
The Do Not Disturb function of Android is still here, but now gets an extra tweak. Now, when you enable DND mode, the sounds and vibrations of notifications are still silenced, but the visuals of those notifications are also silenced. This means that you will have no idea that you have any notifications at all until you turn off DND mode.
This brand new feature will help remind you that it’s time for bed. At a time you choose each evening, your phone will turn on the Night Light, switch on Do Not Disturb mode, and fade the screen to grayscale. These actions will help remind you that it’s 11:00, and you need to stop scrolling through Instagram.
Sign up for the beta
The Digital Wellbeing app will be a standard part of Android 9.0 Pie when it gets a full release by the end of this year. However, Pixel owners on Pie can sign up for the beta version by clicking the button below. The app will automatically install on your device within 24 hours of signing up.