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How to check screen time on Android: Make sure you're using your time wisely

Smartphones can be time suckers, as well as unhealthy!
By
March 6, 2022

We use our phones daily to communicate with people via text, phone call, email — you name it. But we are also guilty of wasting time on our phones. These little gadgets are time-sucking machines that can keep you staring for hours. But how much time do you think you actually spend on your phone every day? You might be surprised to learn how much screen time you clock daily. Here’s how to check screen time on Android devices.

Also read: 13 tips and tricks to make Android faster

Editor’s note: Steps on this article were put together using a Google Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12. Some of these instructions may differ, depending on your hardware and software.

QUICK ANSWER

The easiest way to check screen time on Android is by using the Digital wellbeing menu. Go to Settings > Digital Wellbeing and parental controls > Dashboard and check the time under Screen time.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to check screen time on Android

Digital Wellbeing Google App - Managing screen time

If you navigate to your Android Settings, you can either search for or scroll down to find Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.

Let’s look a little deeper at what Digital Wellbeing is and how it can help you. Here, you can see where you spend your time, how many times you unlock your phone, and so much more. You can also tap on the Dashboard to see more details and check your exact Screen time.

You might want to learn how to handle your screen-on time better and take back control of your life. Keep reading if you think you’re looking at your phone too long!

Here’s a step-by-step guide, just to keep things more organized.

How to check screen time on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.
  3. Hit Dashboard.
  4. Check the time under Screen time.

What is Digital Wellbeing?

Google I/O 2019 Digital Wellbeing Logo - Managing screen time

Digital Wellbeing is a built-in way to check and monitor screen time on your, or your child’s, Android device. Aside from checking how much time you’re spending in each of your apps, you can set goals and timers for yourself to help lessen your time in front of your screen.

Related: A few days in with Digital Wellbeing, and it’s already changing my life

It’s no secret that our phones are important and necessary, but do they need to take up such substantial time chunks out of our days? Google created Digital Wellbeing to help people easily disconnect throughout the day and at the end of the day.

How to use Digital Wellbeing on Android

Digital wellbeing focus mode - Managing screen time

Using Digital Wellbeing on Android is as simple as opening it. It comes pre-installed on your device, and you don’t have to log in to anything to access your screen time information.

Navigate to your Settings menu. Then, tap on or search for Digital Wellbeing and parental controls. As soon as you tap on this, you can see all of your recent screen time for all your apps. If you tap on a specific app’s name, you can see a breakdown of your historical time spent on that app.

There are a few different features within Digital Wellbeing that you can customize to fit your needs. For a brief overview, keep reading.

Or, take a more in-depth look: Digital wellbeing: How to form a better relationship with your phone

Digital Wellbeing App timers

If there is a specific app that you can’t force yourself to stop using or cut back on, this feature is excellent. You can allow yourself a particular amount of time each day on various apps. Once you’ve hit your screen time limit for the day, you cannot use that app until the timer resets at midnight.

How to set app timers:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.
  3. Hit Dashboard.
  4. Tap on Show all apps.
  5. Find the app you want to set a timer for.
  6. Select the hourglass icon to the left of the app.
  7. Pick how long you want to be able to use the app daily.
  8. Press OK.

Digital Wellbeing Bedtime mode

Bedtime mode can do multiple things to help you keep screen time to a minimum. For starters, you can turn Do Not Disturb mode on, set the screen to grayscale, and keep the screen dark. Bedtime mode allows you to pick which of these features are activated. You can set the times and days you want to use bedtime mode, and it’ll automatically turn on and off, so you don’t even have to worry about remembering it. Additionally, you can make it so that Bedtime mode only turns on while the phone is plugged in during charging.

How to set Bedtime mode:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.
  3. Hit Bedtime mode.
  4. Select when you want Bedtime mode to be activated.
  5. Hit Customize.
  6. Pick which features you want to be turned on during Bedtime mode.

Digital Wellbeing Focus mode

Focus mode is one of the best things Digital Wellbeing has to offer. Focus mode grays out disabled apps. This forces you to stop using your phone as a crutch and get stuff done. You can choose which apps are allowed and which apps are not.

Of course, you can turn Focus mode off and on whenever you please. So it will ultimately be up to you to exercise willpower and not turn Focus mode off until you’re finished with your task. When all of your apps are grayed out, it serves as a reminder that you need to focus. Hopefully, that will motivate you to keep screen time to a minimum!

How to use Focus mode:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Digital Wellbeing and parental controls.
  3. Hit Focus mode.
  4. Tap on Show all apps.
  5. Select distracting apps.
  6. Hit Turn on now.
  7. You can also tap on Set a schedule to pick when you want Focus mode to go on and off automatically.

Digital Wellbeing Parental controls

Google Family Link Home Page - Managing screen time

Digital Wellbeing is a great way to monitor your child’s screen time as well. To use the parental controls through Digital Wellbeing, you will need to download the Family Link app from the Google Play Store. Then, you have to set everything up on your phone and then your child’s phone.

Related: 5 best Android parental control apps and other methods

Once everything is set up, you can monitor your child’s screen time, set time limits for them, disable their apps at bedtime, and more.


FAQs

Q: Why should I limit my screen time?
A: There are multiple reasons why spending too much time on your screen isn’t the best use of your time. For starters, too much screen time is usually linked with health issues. This is generally because we don’t tend to be physically active if we’re staring at a screen all day. Not to mention screens tend to affect our sleep. Also important is the fact that it eats your time, though. Instead of endlessly scrolling through social networks, you can spend that time with your family, working, exercising, and more.

Q: What other ways are there to reduce screen time effects?
A: Strictly speaking about sleeping issues, there are multiple ways to improve screen time’s negative effects on us. You can use adaptive brightness to dim the screen when it’s dark, for starters. Just go to Settings > Display > Adaptive brightness. You can also use Dark Mode or Night Light to ease the strain on your eyes and mind. Both are in the same menu as Adaptive brightness.

How much screen time is healthy?
A: There is no magic number of hours that can be considered healthy for screen time. According to the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, adults should limit their screen time to less than two hours a day (outside of work). Otherwise, people should spend that time exercising or doing other activities.