How to See How Much Time is Spent in Apps on iPhone & iPad

Jun 15, 2017 - 9 Comments

See how much time iOS apps are used for

Have you ever wondered just how much time you spend in a particular app on your iPhone or iPad? Whether you’re curious how long you spend in Messages, or you’re concerned you’re wasting time all day in an app like Facebook or Minecraft, you can use a neat little iOS trick to see exactly how much time has been spent in any particular app used on a device.


This handy feature is nice for finding out how much time is spent in all apps on the iPhone or iPad for not only yourself, but you can also use this trick to see how much time apps are used on another device, perhaps a kids device or even at work device, making it helpful for parents, educators, and employers too.

Using this tip you can see exactly how long in hours and minutes all iOS apps have been used within the past 24 hours as well the past 7 days, foreground and background app activity are differentiated too, which is nice.

How to See Exactly How Much Time is Spent in Specific Apps in iOS

You’ll need a vaguely modern version of iOS to have this feature, older releases do not contain detailed information on app usage. This is the same on iPhone and iPad:

  1. Open the “Settings” app in iOS, then choose “Battery”
  2. Go to Battery settings

  3. Scroll down to the “Battery Usage” section of settings and then tap on the little clock icon
  4. Tap the clock to see how much time each app is used for

  5. Under the app name in question, see exactly how much time an individual app has been used
  6. See exactly how much time an app is used for

It’s important to differentiate between “on screen” and “background” (shorthanded as ‘screen’ and ‘backgd’ in the iOS settings sometimes).

On Screen is time the app is spent in the foreground in active usage, meaning the app is actively on the screen and in usage – this is likely the most important time noticed since it lets you know exactly how long a particular app is being used actively.

Background activity is how long an app is active and doing something in the background, meaning it’s not in active usage but instead running in the background on its own, perhaps updating, downloading, playing music or podcasts, listening, or some similar background task.

See an app that is used constantly and taking up all your time (or battery)? You can take action, either by being conscious of using it less, or maybe by uninstalling the app completely from iOS if you’re particularly concerned about it.

Note that even if you have background app refresh turned off you will still often find apps running in the background (often to detrimental effect to battery life which is why turning it off can help on iOS), this has been the case with iOS for quite some time, so maybe it’s a feature, if it is a bug it has been overlooked and not fixed.

This is a nice feature that is intended to monitor precisely how long a battery lasts on iPhone and specifics to battery life and what apps are hogging your battery and running down battery life, but it’s equally as useful as a way to monitor the amount of time spent in apps in general. Gaming and social media addicts may find this particularly useful since it can reveal exactly the amount of time in a day and a week is spent in apps, so if you find yourself spending 5 hours a day in Facebook or Minecraft you might want to put some thought into that.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

9 Comments

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  1. steve says:

    “App in USE” not “in usage”.

  2. Alan Barrington-Hughes says:

    Great post Paul thanks. I had used the screen before, but hadn’t noticed/ touched the clock icon. This is a great educational screen to show my daughter just how long she spends on snapchat!!

  3. Mike Sanders says:

    there is no clock icon iPhone 7+

    TIME SINCE LAST FULL CHARGE

    Battery information will be available after using iPhone for a few minutes.
    Which iPhone are you using?

    • Ian Cesa says:

      Every iPhone running modern iOS has this feature, as does every iPad.

      You haven’t been using your iPhone long enough if you don’t see the option, that is why it is telling you “Battery information will be available after using iPhone for a few minutes.” Use it for a day while not plugged in, and at the end of the day take a peak in the time section to see the usage data.

      • Luis says:

        Apparently it doesn’t show usage per app in every device. I own an iphone 6s and an ipad air 1. On the iphone I do see the battery percentage per app as described, as well as the clock icon to toggle the usage time display. On the ipad, however, all I see is “time since last full charge” with total usage and standby times below it but no app list.

        • Luis says:

          UPDATE: I did get the app list on the ipad after I finished writing the previous post…I guess it just takes more time for that to be displayed. My mistake, sorry about that.

  4. Lynn says:

    What a great tip. I never noticed this. I love all the tips and tricks you teach us. I have learned so much. Thank you!!!

  5. FreddyNoel says:

    Thank you for all the great tips. I discover something new with every post from you guys. Awesome. Please, carry on!

    For the time spent on a specific app, one still needs to cumulate the timings it has been used on each separate device… iPhone, iPad, iPod and Macs… BTW, How can one check the timings on Mac OS?

  6. Hamilton says:

    I have an iPhone SE and have been using this battery feature since I got my phone. Recently I’ve noticed that, instead of the two options to see within the last 24 hours or the last 7 days, it is changing to different labels, such as only displaying the usage in the past 19 hours and not being accurate with usage time. Has anyone else had this problem? Any thoughts on how to fix?

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