How To Use Screen Time on Mac

Screen Time is a useful feature that was introduced with the release of the macOS Catalina. It allows Mac users to check and keep track of the usage of specific applications and set specific limits on the time that the device is used. In practice, Screen Time can act as a powerful parental control system. Users can stop their children from accessing certain applications or impose time restrictions on using apps, visiting websites, etc. 

Enabling Screen Time

  1. Go to 'System Preferences' using your preferred method.
  2. Locate and launch Screen Time.
  3. Click on 'Options' 
  4. Locate the 'Turn On' button in the upper-right corner of the window and click it.

Adjusting Screen Time via Options

The 'Options' window allows you to adjust several different settings. By enabling the 'Use Screen Time Password' feature, users can protect their Screen time settings from unwanted modifications. The password also can be used to extend the time limits imposed on other accounts. 

If you want to share screen time across several devices to better track your online habits, you can enable this feature by checking the box for the 'Share Across Devices' feature.

Checking Application Usage and Setting Limits

To see a breakdown of your application usage on the system, follow the steps:

  1. Open 'System Preferences' and launch Screen Time.
  2. From the sections listed in the sidebar, pick 'App Usage.'
  3. To get a more granular perspective, you can see your app usage sorted by day, by specific app, or by category. 

Now, let's set a limit on the time you spend using applications

  1. Open Screen Time but this time select 'App Limits' from the sidebar.
  2. Click 'Turn On' to activate the feature.
  3. Now, add an app category via the 'plus' button.
  4. Select the created app category and adjust its usage limits via the available button. You can set the chosen limits to be active every day or create a custom schedule.
  5. When you are ready, click 'Done.'

How to Approve Screen Time Requests on Mac

If you plan to use Screen Time as a parental control tool, it may be useful to learn how to accept screen time requests from limited user accounts. 

  1. Open Screen Time.
  2. Select 'Requests' from the sidebar.
  3. All pending requests for more allowed time will be listed here. You can select each request and decide whether to grant it by choosing 'Approve' or deny by selecting 'Don't Approve.' For accepted requests, you can choose whether to grant them 15 more minutes, an hour, or a whole day via the options in the drop-down menu.

Setting Up Content and Privacy in Screen Time

  1. Open Screen Time.
  2. From the sidebar, open 'Content & Privacy.'
  3. Now, to enable the feature, click the 'Turn On' button in the upper-right corner of the window.
  4. Inspect the various options available under 'Content,' 'Stores,' 'Apps,' and 'Other.' Adjust them according to your particular needs by checking the boxes for the items you wish to be allowed.