Screen Time And Setting Limits For Ourselves And Our Families

Do you know how much time you spend in various apps and on your device? Do you want to gently be reminded of how much time you’re staring at screens and maybe even be limited in how much you can be lost on the screen? 

First, let’s Let’s do this limiting the time you can be on the device in the first place, using a feature of Screen Time called Downtime:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Screen Time
  • Tap Downtime

Tap on and then set the start of Downtime and the stop of Downtime. Tap back on Screen Time in the upper left hand corner of the screen. Now, let’s setup an app limit for social apps (because really, most of us are on those wayyyy too much:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Screen Time
  • Tap App Limits
  • Tap an app category (e.g. Social Networking)
  • Set the number of hours you can use that type of app (note, if you set 23 hours and 59 minutes you are totally cheating)
  • Tap Add

Should you want to remove those limits you created, just tap Delete Limit. Or better, just configure apps that are allowed to bypass the limits you’ve made by tapping Always Allowed and adding apps that are always allowed to work. This allows you to limit all your apps except, as an example, Maps and Camera. 

Another option in Screen Time is Content and Privacy Restrictions. To configure these:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap on Screen Time
  • Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions
  • Turn Content & Privacy Restrictions on by tapping the slider
  • Tap on iTunes & App Store Purchases

Here, you can limit installing apps, deleting apps, or making in-app purchases on the device. You can also just force a password in order to make any purchase from iTunes, Book Store purchases, or App Store purchases

  • Tap the back button
  • Tap Allowed Apps
  • Use the indicator light to disable any app you don’t want to be able to access on this profile
  • Once all apps are configured, tap the back button
  • Tap Content Restrictions

There are a lot of restrictions available. Most are mirrored with a profile and so can be controlled by an MDM as well:

  • Country: Start with the country your ratings are set for. 
  • Music, Podcasts, & News: Then, choose what whether or not explicit content is allowed (and by content we really mean music, podcasts, & news). 
  • Music Profiles & Posts: Then choose whether the device is allowed to publish music options and posts about music. 
  • Movies: Then set a maximum AFTRA rating (e.g. PG-13 or R) for content.
  • TV Shows: Select the TV ratings allowed (e.g. TV-G or TV-MA for mature audiences)
  • Books: Luckily, Tipper Gore never got her way so there’s no true rating systems for books. Just select Clean or Explicit.
  • Apps: Choose an age that ratings for apps are most appropriate
  • Web Content: Limit access only to specific websites, limit access to adult websites, or provide unrestricted access to web content
  • Web Search Content: Allow Siri to access the web to search
  • Explicit Language: Allow or restrict Siri from using dirty words
  • Multiplayer Games: Allow or deny access to multiplayer games
  • Adding Friends: Allow or deny access to add friends within the Game Center app
  • Screen Recording: Allow or deny access to screen recordings

Next, go back and in the privacy section, configure what apps are able to access Location Services, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Share My Location, Bluetooth Sharing, Microphone, Speech Recognition, Advertising, Media And Apple Music. 

Finally, under allow changes, configure whether you’ll be able to make changes to Passcode Changes, Account Changes, Cellular Data Changes, Volume Limits, Do Not Disturb While Driving, TV Providers, and Background App Activities.