How to Set Time Limits on iPhone & iPad Apps with Screen Time

Mar 26, 2020 - 2 Comments

Select which apps to limit

Want to set a time limit for app usage on iPhone or iPad? Screen Time lets you do just that.

At a time where we all perhaps use our iPhones a little too much, knowing exactly how long we spend with it in our hand can be useful. Knowing which apps we use most can inform our decisions around usage habits, too. But if all that fails simply setting a time limit might be the only way to go. Apple makes it easy to do exactly that by setting time limits on specific apps and how long they can be used for on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Setting an app time limit is a great way of preventing yourself from spending all day watching Netflix, YouTube, playing games, using too much social networking like browsing Twitter or checking out what your friends are doing in Instagram. It can also be really useful to enable on a family device or a kids device if you want to limit their usage of particular apps to a specific time. And if you’d rather avoid the news, that’s an option as well. You can limit any apps you want with Screen Time as you’ll see.

How to Add a Time Limit to an App on iPhone & iPad

Setting up Screen Time limits for apps on iPhone and iPad is easy:

  1. Open the Settings app and then tap “Screen Time” to get started.
  2. Tap “App Limits.”
  3. If you have any limits already set, you’ll see them here. Tap “Add Limit” to set a new one.
  4. Tap the circle beside an app category to set a limit for all apps that fall under that category. You can see which apps those are by tapping the category itself. You can do that If you’d rather set a time limit for a specific app, too. Tap the app or category you want to limit
  5. Press “Next” when all of the apps you want to set time limits for have been selected.
  6. Now it’s time to set the limit. Use the time picker to select the hours and minutes that you’d like to limit the app to. You can also customize which days the limit takes affect by tapping “Customize Days,” too. Tap “Add” when ready.

Once the Screen Time limit is in effect for that app, say for an hour, when the time limit is over a message on the screen will appear notifying the user of the screen time limit being reached. You can override it at any time if you know the passcode.

By the way, if you are adding time limits to apps and need to change the Screen Time passcode on iPhone or iPad to one that someone else using the device doesn’t know, you can do that too.

How to Add a Time Limit to a Child’s iPhone or iPad via Family Sharing

You can set a time limit for an app on any child’s device that is part of your family, too. This is possible with the Family Sharing iCloud feature available for iPhone and iPad.

The process is the same as above, except you should tap the person’s name at step 2 above. The steps are identical from there on out.

  1. Open the Settings app, then tap on Screen Time
  2. Tap on the persons name
  3. Now tap on “App Limits.”
  4. Tap “Add Limit” to create a new limit for an app
  5. Tap the circle beside an app category to set limits for app categories, recall you can see which apps are included by tapping the category directly. If you wish to set a specific Screen Time Limit for a particular app it’s done there too. In Screen Time you can tap the app or category you want to limit
  6. Tap “Next” once you have select the app(s) or category to set screen time limits for
  7. Next, set the limit itself by using the time picker choose hours and minutes to limit the app usage to, for example 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, etc, you can optionally choose what days to set the limits for by selecting “Customize Days”
  8. Tap “Add” when finished configuring to set the screen time limit

Alternatively, if you don’t use iCloud Family Sharing then you can set the time limit on their device directly instead, using the same instructions as shown earlier.

Using Family Sharing to set screen time limits is particularly useful for parents and caregivers though, because if you set them from your iPad or iPhone, you can do it without them knowing, which is even more fun!

What Happens Next with Screen Time App Limits?

Whenever an assigned time limit has been reached your iPhone will tell you.

At that point it’s up to you whether you want to continue using the app, or not.

If you do, tap “Ignore Limit” and select how long you want the limit to be out of action for.

Ultimately a lot of this comes down to your own willpower. If you really want to use the app you’ll just override the timer.

You can also remove the Screen Time limits on iPhone or iPad if you wish.

At least if you set a timer for a child they’ll need to know the Screen Time PIN to override it, though. Speaking of Screen Time PINs, remember that you can change the Screen Time password on iPhone and iPad at any time.

Of course if you disable Screen Time at any time too if you decide you don’t want to use the feature.


Related articles:

Posted by: Oliver Haslam in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. expobill says:

    Can I use my dell xps to read these fine and informative articles?

    • Paul says:

      Yes certainly, you can read from any web browser. Or if you sign up for the email newsletter, from any email app.

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