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Check (See) Screen Time and Limit App Usage on Samsung Phones and Tablets

Progress in mobile technology has fueled increased usage, and while you sense you might be relying on your devices excessively, you may not have a clear picture of your own and your child's screen time. 

Come with us as we explore Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls, where it is possible to see your daily and weekly screen time and implement preventive measures, including app timers and screen time goals. 


Screen Time on Samsung

Check Screen Time using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls

Find yourself immersed in excessive digital consumption, which adversely affects both your physical and mental health, and search for a means to assess and manage your phone or tablet usage? 

Samsung and remaining Android-based devices running Android OS Pie (9.0) or higher have a specialized menu that displays detailed information on the daily and weekly usage of all installed apps including the timestamps for when the apps were opened, the number of notifications sent, and how frequently these notifications resulted in unlocking your device.

It serves not only for assessment but provides features to control and limit mobile usage as well, including setting screen time goals, app timers, and parental controls.

Here is how to check screen time using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Tap 'Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls'.
    1. Check screen time, see the most used apps, set screen time goals and app timers, and set limits to help your children balance their screen time.

Check Screen Time using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (1/2)
Check Screen Time using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (2/2)

At first glance, screen time presents a summary indicating the current day's total screen time and the duration spent on the most used individual categories or apps.

Additionally, it includes a detailed dashboard that requires just a single tap to access

Within that dashboard, you are able to explore all applications' screen time, choose previous and next days, and swipe left or right to review earlier or more recent weeks.


Monitor Screen Time Dashboard on Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls

Add Screen Time and App Timer Widgets to Home Screen

Without navigating to the Digital Wellbeing dashboard in Settings, it is possible to access a concise summary of screen time and app timers by adding widgets directly to the home screen

They are basically a convenient way to quickly view your daily summaries and create shortcuts for easy access to relevant information and controls

Here is how to add screen time and app timer widgets to the home screen:

  1. Tap and hold any empty space on the home screen.
  2. Tap 'Widgets'.
  3. Select 'Digital Wellbeing'.
  4. Tap 'Screen Time' and 'App Timers' widgets.
  5. Tap 'Add'.
    1. Tap and hold the widget in order to adjust the settings (color, width, and so on).

Add Screen Time and App Timer Widgets to Home Screen on Samsung (1/2)
Add Screen Time and App Timer Widgets to Home Screen on Samsung (2/2)

Add Screen Time Widget to Lock Screen

As you near your screen time limit, are you reluctant to unlock your device out of concern that you might end up spending too much time in apps again?

Accessing a quick summary of your daily screen time, along with details about the apps used and their usage duration, can be done without even unlocking your Samsung.

Here is how to add a screen time widget to the lock screen:

  1. Press 'Power Button (Side Key)' to wake up the screen.
  2. Tap 'Clock' on the lock screen.
  3. Swipe up until the end of the screen and tap 'Settings'.
  4. Enter your current PIN or use biometrics to unlock.
    1. After the initial setup, there is no need to unlock.
  5. Toggle on 'Digital Wellbeing'.
    1. Close the tab.
  6. Press 'Power Button (Side Key)' to put the phone or tablet to sleep.
  7. Press 'Power Button (Side Key)' again to turn on the screen.
  8. Tap 'Clock' on the lock screen.
    1. 'Screen Time' widget will be shown on the lock screen.

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Add Screen Time Widget to Lock Screen on Samsung (2/2)

Add Digital Wellbeing App to Apps Screen

Whenever attempting to open Digital Wellbeing, there is no need for extra touches on the screen, as it can be added as an app icon to both the home and apps screens

Here is how to add the Digital Wellbeing app icon to the home and apps screen:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls'.
  3. Tap 'three-vertical-dots ︙' on the top right.
  4. Tap 'Settings'.
  5. Toggle on 'Show Digital Wellbeing on Apps Screen':
    1. To add it to the home screen: open 'Apps Screen' by swiping up on the home screen > tap and hold 'Digital Wellbeing' > tap 'Add to Home'.

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Add Digital Wellbeing App to Home and Apps Screen on Samsung (2/3)
Add Digital Wellbeing App to Home and Apps Screen on Samsung (3/3)

See Screen Time using Bixby

Just as screen recording or scanning a QR code, Samsung's voice assistant, Bixby, is a perfect alternative to find out your screen time

However, there is a particular limitation—it displays the correct menu only when prompted with the voice command 'Can you show/open Digital Wellbeing?' or something equivalent.

In contrast, phrases such as 'Could you show screen time?', either demonstrate the incorrect menus or provide no relevant information which is why it is crucial to use the exact voice command.

Here is how to see screen time using Bixby:

  1. Open 'Bixby':
    1. Say 'Hey Bixby',
    2. Tap 'Bixby' app icon on the home or apps screen, or
    3. Press and hold 'Power Button (Side Key)':
      1. For the last option to work, 'Press and Hold' action for 'Power Button (Side Key)' should be set to 'Wake Bixby': Settings > Advanced Features > Side Key > select 'Wake Bixby' for 'Press and Hold'.
  2. Say exactly 'Can you show/open Digital Wellbeing, please?'.

See Screen Time on Samsung using Bixby

Find Screen Time of Individual Apps

Instead of sifting through screen time details for all apps and getting lost in the specifics, are you only interested in knowing how much time you have spent on any individual app such as Samsung Galaxy Themes, Private Share, or any social media app?

The precise dashboard found in Digital Wellbeing is accessible in the 'Apps' menu in Settings as well which provides insights into the selected app's daily and weekly usage patterns, the number of notifications sent, and the instances where those notifications resulted in unlocking your device.

Additionally, it includes specific preventive measures like an app timer to limit usage for each day and notification settings to block the app from sending all or particular alerts

Here is how to find out screen time for individual apps:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Apps'.
  3. Tap app you want to check the screen time of.
  4. Tap 'Screen Time'.
    1. Swipe left or right on the dashboard to see the previous or next day.
    2. Tap 'Weekly/Daily' to check the details on a week-by-week or day-to-day basis.

Find Screen Time of Individual Apps on Samsung (1/2)
Find Screen Time of Individual Apps on Samsung (2/2)

View Screen Time using Battery and Device Care

Are you familiar with the 'Battery and Device Care'? 

It is a settings menu that displays the battery usage of apps on your phone or tablet, represented in minutes and corresponding battery percentages since the last full charge

Furthermore, the battery logs and shows the time spent in both the foreground (active) and background.

Despite not being explicitly designed for screen time tracking, as it resets battery usage metrics after a full charge and excludes screen on time during charging, it still provides an alternative representation of screen time over the past 7 (seven) days.

Here is how to view screen time using the Battery and Device Care:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Battery and Device Care'.
  3. Tap 'Battery'.
  4. Tap 'Usage since Last Full Charge'.
    1. Tap any app to see active (foreground) and background use detail since the last full charge and last 7 (seven) days.
    2. Screen on time on Battery and Device Care does not include any time when your phone or tablet is charging and after a full charge.

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View Screen Time using Battery and Device Care (2/2)

Look Up Play Time using Gaming Hub (formerly Game Launcher)

Are you a gamer more focused on monitoring your gameplay duration rather than overall app use?

Featuring unique gaming elements such as in-game screenshots and game plugins, Samsung Gaming Hub (formerly Game Launcher) showcases the playtime information for both your gaming time and those of other Galaxy Gamers.

Playtime data covers up to the last 32 (thirty-two) weeks, regardless of whether the games are currently installed or have been uninstalled

Here is how to see play time using Gaming Hub:

  1. Open 'Gaming Hub' (formerly Game Launcher).
  2. Tap 'Gamer Profile' on the top right.
    1. A Samsung Account might be required.
  3. Swipe up and find 'Play Time'.
    1. Playtime preview shows the most played games, tap on 'Play Time >' to select a particular app and see the details.

Look Up Play Time using Samsung Gaming Hub (formerly Game Launcher) (1/2)
Look Up Play Time using Samsung Gaming Hub (formerly Game Launcher) (2/2)

Limit Screen Time and App Usage

Set Screen Time Goal

Upon reviewing your screen time, have you observed an unhealthy imbalance between your screen-based activities and other crucial aspects of life, such as work, physical activity, and face-to-face interaction? 

Are you interested in setting a daily screen time goal to better manage your phone or tablet usage and mitigate potential adverse effects on physical and mental health?

Fortunately, Samsung phones and tablets (along with other Android-based mobile devices) come equipped with a preventive feature known as 'screen time goal'. 

With that, it is possible to set a daily screen time target, like 3 to 4 hours, and receive alerts when you approach your daily screen time goal

Plus, it additionally keeps you informed about the remaining time to reach your daily screen time target and the excess time beyond your goal

Here is how to set a screen time goal:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls'.
  3. Find 'Screen Time Goal' and tap 'Set Goal'.
  4. Set a screen time goal (2 to 3 hours are optimal) and tap 'Done'.
    1. Tap 'Screen Time Goal' to see used, remaining, and over goal time.

Set Screen Time Goal to Limit App Usage using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Control (1/3)
Set Screen Time Goal to Limit App Usage using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Control (2/3)
Set Screen Time Goal to Limit App Usage using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Control (3/3) 

Set App Timers

Do you find yourself playing a mobile game for almost 8 hours a day or losing track of time while watching videos on social media platforms and looking to set a daily usage limit for those applications?

Meet the 'App Timers', a functionality to apply daily time limits for selected apps

At the time the timer runs out, the chosen apps or games are temporarily disabled, turning grey until the following day, and that cycle continues for the selected days.

What to know is that timers cannot be set to apps in Secure Folder, Dual Messenger, and other essential applications (phone, messages, and so forth).

Here is how to set app timers:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls'.
  3. Tap 'App Timers'.
  4. Select the apps and games and tap 'Set Timer'.
  5. Select the days, set the timer, and tap 'Done'.
    1. Subsequent to the time running out, tap:
      1. 'Change Timer' to decrease or increase the timer for the current day,
      2. 'Add Time for Today' to extend the timer (with options 10m, 30m, 1h, or no limit for today), and
      3. 'Close' to exit the app and disable it until the following day.

Set App Timers to Restrict Daily App Usage using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (1/3)
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Set App Timers to Restrict Daily App Usage using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (3/3)

Screen Time Monitors while Driving/Walking

Perhaps many individuals addicted to mobile technology may not be conscious of the extent of their screen time while walking or driving, unknowingly putting lives at risk and creating serious safety hazards but Samsung is.

With single privacy permission (Customization Service), Digital Wellbeing and Parental Control addresses that issue by generating screen time reports while walking or driving, revealing a reality that Galaxy members should be concerned about and encouraging them to consider reducing or eliminating such risky behaviors.

Here is how to monitor screen time while driving and walking:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls'.
  3. Tap 'Walking or Driving Monitor'.
  4. Turn on 'Customization Service'.
    1. Toggle on 'Digitial Wellbeing' and go back.
  5. Tap 'Walking or Driving Monitor' again.
    1. Screen time while driving and walking will appear here.

Set Screen Time Monitors while Driving/Walking using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (1/2)
Set Screen Time Monitors while Driving/Walking using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (2/2)

Set Up Parental Controls

Digital wellbeing encompasses not only personal management for adults but also involves a second aspect: Parental Control, a crucial feature enabling you to supervise and manage your children's digital activities, including the ability to set limitations on device usage.

Here is how to set up parental controls to manage your children's digital activities and set screen time limitations:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls'.
  3. Tap 'Parental Controls'.
  4. Tap 'Get Started'.
  5. Select 'Parent' for who will be using this device.
  6. Install 'Google Family Link' app.
  7. Select your Google Account (Gmail address) and tap 'Continue as (Your name)'.
  8. Tap 'Yes' if your child has a Google Account (Gmail address), tap 'No' to create one.
  9. Get your child's device ready:
    1. Open 'Settings' on your child's phone or tablet.
    2. Select 'Google' and 'Parental Controls' respectively.
    3. Follow the instructions on the screen to set up parental controls
    4. Tap 'Done' on your (parent's) phone or tablet when you have finished setup on your child's phone or tablet.
  10. Open 'Google Family Link' app.
  11. Tap 'Set Up' under 'Daily Limit'.
  12. Set a daily limit, select the days, and tap 'Done'.
    1. Supervised device will lock when the time is up.

Set Up Parental Controls to Supervise Your Child's Phone or Tablet using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (1/5)
Set Up Parental Controls to Supervise Your Child's Phone or Tablet using Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls (2/5)
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App Restriction using Modes and Routines

Are you familiar with 'Modes and Routines', particularly 'modes'? Essentially, a mode represents a feature for automating and modifying your device settings in response to meeting specific conditions or your location.

It includes preset modes like sleep, focus, work, and exercise, and the option to design custom modes, seamlessly integrated within Digital Wellbeing. 

Operating similarly to app timers but with a subtle distinction, it provides a means to regulate app usage.

Android system automatically includes 8 apps (Clock, Galaxy Wearable, Play Store, Messages, Modes and Routines, Phone, Samsung Kids, and Settings), and lets you choose additional apps to remain usable and receive notifications exclusively when the mode is active.

The rest of the apps, excluding the initial 8 and the chosen additional ones, are restricted, appear in grey, and remain inaccessible until the mode is manually turned off or automatically deactivated after a set period

Here is how to restrict app usage using Modes and Routines:

  1. Open 'Settings'.
  2. Select 'Modes and Routines'.
  3. Tap '+ Add Mode' to create a custom mode or select a preset (sleep, theatre, driving, or relax).
    1. Enter a mode nameselect the mode icon and color, and tap 'Done' (for a custom mode)
  4. Toggle on 'Restrict App Usage' and afterward tap to expand.
    1. Select additional apps (i.e., Samsung AR Emoji) to use and receive notifications and tap 'Done'.
  5. Tap 'Turn On' to activate mode.

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Restrict App Usage using Modes and Routines (4/4)

Download 3rd-Party Screen Time Tracker Apps using Google Play or Galaxy Store

All Android phones and tablets running Android OS Pie (9.0) or a higher version include the Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls menu; however, that essential feature is not available on earlier devices.

For those with incompatible devices, the only viable solution is to resort to downloading a third-party screen time tracker app compatible with your device from the Google Play or Galaxy Store.

Here is how to download screen time tracker apps using Google Play or Galaxy Store:

  1. Open 'Google Play Store' or 'Galaxy Store'.
  2. Search for 'Screen Time' and download an app safe and compatible.
    1. Check 'Data Safety', 'Ratings', and 'Reviews' before downloading or buying.

Download Screen Time Tracker App using Google Play Store or Galaxy Store

Conclusion

Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls provide a comprehensive solution to manage and monitor screen time with the initial pair of words and empower the control of screen time for children with the final pair. 

Should you have any questions or encounter challenges related to Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls, feel free to reach out. Share your concerns in the comments, and we are here to offer the support and guidance you need. 

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