Screen Time Settings

With the arrival of iOS 12, Apple made a big song and dance about digital wellbeing. The App Limits feature that came with it lets lock apps after a given amount of time. Here’s how it works.

App Limits is precisely what it sounds like; it limits the amount of time you can spend using a particular app. You specify the apps (or whole categories of apps) and iOS will refuse to launch them when you’ve reached the allotted time. It’s great for limiting how much time children spend on apps like YouTube, for example, but can also help you if you struggle setting limits on things like your social media addiction.

By the way, even after you reach an App Limit, you can override it by entering a passcode. That means you will never be locked out of your apps completely (unless you don’t know the code), but setting the limit still might be enough to give you pause when opening Instagram for the millionth time at 3 am.

How to Set an App Limit for a Specific App

To kick things off, open the Settings app and then tap “Screen Time.”

Tap Screen Time

You’ll see a graph at the top of the next screen. Either tap the graph or the “All Devices” option directly above it.

Tap All Devices

Scroll down to the list of apps you’ve been using and then tap the app for which you want to set a new limit.

Tap the app you want to limit

Tap the “Add Limit” button at the bottom of the screen.

Tap Add Limit

Finally, set a time limit by scrolling the hours and minutes. If you’d like to set a limit for different days of the week, tap “Customize Days.”

Select a time limit

Tap “Add” to apply the changes and set the app limit.

Tap Add

How to Set an App Limit for a Whole Category of Apps

Again, the process starts in the Settings app. Tap “Screen Time” to view all settings related to digital wellbeing.

Tap Screen Time

Next, tap “App Limits.”

Tap App Limits

Tap “Add Limit.”

Tapp Add Limit

Tap to select any categories for which you want to create a new limit and then tap “Next” to continue.

Select categories, tap Next

Select the time limit you would like to apply and again, if you want to set different limits for specific days, tap “Customize Days.” Tap “Back” when complete.

Select a time limit

You’re all set, and you can set additional limits if you want, too.

Profile Photo for Oliver Haslam Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam is a professional freelance writer with nearly ten years of experience. His work has been published on Macworld, PCMag, 1Password's blog, and other websites. He writes about all things Apple.
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