How to Restrict App Usage on Mac with Screen Time

Jun 1, 2021 - Leave a Comment

How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage

Do you want to limit the amount of time your kid spends playing a game or using a certain app on a Mac? Thanks to Screen Time, setting up app restrictions like this is a fairly simple and straightforward procedure.

Apple’s Screen Time functionality is integrated into macOS, iOS,, and iPadOS, it allows users to keep track of their device usage, as well as bringing restrictions and parental control features to the table. The ability to set time limits for app usage is one such tool that could prove to be extremely useful if your kid is spending too much time playing a game, watching Netflix, chatting on Facebook, or anything else you’d like to limit. You get to decide how long a specific app can be used for, on a daily basis.

Interested in setting this up on a Mac? Whether it’s for yourself or a child, we’ll show you how you can use Screen Time to restrict app usage on macOS.

How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage

Before you go ahead with the following procedure, make sure your Mac is running macOS Catalina, Big Sur, or later, since Screen TIme isn’t available on Mojave and older versions. The feature is enabled by default on macOS, unless you changed those settings.

  1. Head over to “System Preferences” on your Mac from the Dock, or the  Apple menu.

    How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage
  2. This will open a new window on your Mac. Here, choose “Screen Time” to proceed further.

    How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage
  3. This will take you to the app usage section in Screen Time. Click on “App Limits” located in the left pane.

    How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage
  4. You might notice that App Limits is turned off. Click on “Turn On” to start using this feature.

    How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage
  5. Next, click on the “+” icon located in the right pane to add a limit to a specific app.

    How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage
  6. Now, you’ll be able to find the app based on its category. You can expand a category to find all apps under it. Or, you can use the search field to make it easier. Check the box right next to the app’s name to select it. You’ll have the option to set a daily time limit or a custom time limit for specific days of the week as shown below. Once you’ve configured it according to your preference, click “Done”.

    How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage
  7. The app will show up in the list of apps with limits turned on. To disable the app limit, you can simply uncheck the box. Or, if you want to change the time limit, you can do so by clicking on “Edit Limit”.

    How to Use Screen Time in MacOS to Restrict App Usage

There you go, you’ve learned how to use Screen Time to restrict app usage on your Mac.

With this enabled, you don’t have to worry about a kid (or yourself) spending too much time on an app or a game.

It’s a good idea to use a Screen Time passcode, and update it from time to time to prevent other users from changing your Screen Time settings if they know the password.

In addition to blocking apps and games, you can also set time limits for websites that were accessed using Safari on your Mac in an identical way. You just need to scroll to the very bottom in the app categories menu to find all the websites. Thanks to this, you can restrict how much time your kid spends on social networking websites and video-sharing platforms like YouTube. And you can block websites completely with Screen Time too.

Apart from putting time limits on apps, games, and websites, Screen Time can also be used to completely block access to specific websites that you don’t want your child to see.

If your kid uses other Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, or even iPod Touch, you can use Screen Time on iOS to set time limits on apps in a very similar way too. And if you’re worried about unauthorized charges to your credit card via the ubiquitous In App Purchases, you can turn off in-app purchases on an iOS or iPadOS device with Screen Time as well.

We hope you managed to set time limits for apps installed on your Mac. What are your overall thoughts on Apple’s Screen Time functionality? What other parental control features do you use to restrict your Mac’s usage? Share your own thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments.

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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

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