iOS 12 introduces a new feature called Screen Time. As part of Apple’s efforts to address iPhone addiction, Screen Time tracks how long you spend using a particular app, or category of apps, and lets you set restrictions that will hopefully help users develop healthier relationships with their mobile device and apps. As Apple describes it:
Empowering customers with insight into how they are spending time with apps and websites, Screen Time creates detailed daily and weekly Activity Reports that show the total time a person spends in each app they use, their usage across categories of apps, how many notifications they receive and how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad. By understanding how they’re interacting with their iOS devices, people can take control of how much time they spend in a particular app, website or category of apps.
For example, users can limit the amount of time that iOS will allow access to Facebook, schedule a period of Downtime every night that restricts access to games, or block certain websites and apps entirely. And even if you don’t want to go so far as to set actual restrictions, Screen Time will still provide a chart detailing how much time you spent using various categories of apps and services.
But not every iPhone user needs a feature like Screen Time. It can also be a privacy issue, not from Apple but in the sense that anyone who has access to your iPhone can see which apps you’re using and for how long. For those who don’t need or want a feature like this, here’s how to turn off Screen Time in iOS 12.
Turn Off Screen Time on Your iPhone or iPad
First, an important note: when Screen Time is first enabled, it can be configured for an adult or a child. If it was configured for a child, you will need the adult’s passcode to turn off Screen Time.
- From your iPhone or iPad, launch Settings and select Screen Time.
- Swipe down to the bottom of the list and select Turn Off Screen Time.
- Tap Turn Off Screen Time again to confirm.
With Screen Time disabled, your iOS device will no track your application usage time and any limits or restrictions based on Screen Time settings will be lifted. Note, however, that from a privacy perspective, application usage may still be visible via the Battery Health and Usage information in iOS Settings.
Turn Screen Time Back On
If you later decide that you want to use Screen Time and its related features again, you can turn it back on by heading back to Settings > Screen Time and selecting Turn On Screen Time. You’ll need to go through the entire setup process again, however, and any previous Screen Time data will not be restored.
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