How to Schedule Downtime on Mac

Jun 17, 2021 - 1 Comment

How to Schedule Downtime on Mac

Do you want to limit the amount of time you or your kid spends on their Mac on a daily basis? Fortunately, this is pretty easy to do with Screen Time, as it allows you to set time away from the screen during which most apps remain inaccessible.

Screen Time allows you to keep track of device usage and also set parental controls and restrictions for the Mac. Downtime is an integral part of Screen Time, and it’s the period during which you use your Mac the least or not at all. Interested in trying this out? Let’s check out scheduling downtime on a Mac.

How to Schedule Downtime on Mac

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

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

    How to Schedule Downtime on Mac
  2. This will open a new window on your Mac. Here, choose “Screen Time” to proceed further.

    How to Schedule Downtime on Mac
  3. This will take you to the app usage section in Screen Time. Click on “Downtime” located in the left pane.

    How to Schedule Downtime on Mac
  4. Here, you’ll see that Downtime is “Off”. Click on “Turn On” to start taking advantage of this feature.

    How to Schedule Downtime on Mac
  5. Once you turn this on, you’ll be able to customize the schedule. You can set a daily schedule by choosing the “Every Day” option as shown below.

    How to Schedule Downtime on Mac
  6. If you want to set different timings or disable downtime for specific days of the week, you can choose the “Custom” option and adjust it accordingly.

    How to Schedule Downtime on Mac

That’s how you can set a downtime schedule on your Mac with Screen Time.

Thanks to this nifty feature, you don’t have to be too worried about yourself or your kid spending all day on the Mac browsing the internet, playing games, or watching shows. That being said, we highly recommend you to use a Screen Time passcode to prevent other users from changing your Screen Time settings.

When you set Downtime on a Mac, it gives you a reminder five minutes before the downtime starts. Once it begins, you will not be able to access the apps that aren’t whitelisted. By default, apps like FaceTime and Messages are whitelisted. However, you can add or remove more apps to this whitelist to make sure they remain accessible at all times. For example, you can add educational apps to the “Always Allowed” list on your kid’s Mac.

Apart from limiting apps that can be accessed using Downtime, you can also limit the contacts the Mac is able to communicate with during this period. Plus, if you use iCloud, Downtime will be applicable to all devices that are using iCloud for Screen Time – including iPhones and iPads.

Do you use downtime scheduling on a Mac to restrict daily usage? What are your overall thoughts on Apple’s Screen Time functionality? What other parental control features do you use to restrict device usage? Do share your valuable opinions and experience in the comments section down below.


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

One Comment

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  1. Does it allow to blacklist some websites without blacklisting Safari as a app?

    e.g. I imagine kids needing computer for some homework stuff, while at same time having blocked access to e.g. Facebook

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