How to Use Screen Time on Mac

How to Use Screen Time on Mac

Apple quietly introduced the Screen Time feature in the macOS 10.15 Catalina update after its integration into iOS. Screen Time allows users to track their usage and set self-imposed limits on their Mac usage time. With today’s work from home, it is necessary to take regular breaks from office work. Using the Screen Time add-on on Mac, you can take a close look at how your previous week went in terms of productivity and work.

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Screen time on Mac

Screen Time also serves as a parental control system as it can place restrictions on what a child can access, who they can contact, and how much time they spend on apps, websites, etc. Apple first launched Screen Time with iOS 12 in 2018 to help users be more intentional with their time on the iPhone and iPad. This article will help you understand how to get the most out of Screen Time on Mac.

Turn on screen time on Mac

First, you need to check if your Mac is running at least macOS 10.15 Catalina or a newer version. After confirming this, open the System Preferences menu and update your Mac to the latest available operating system. Now follow the steps below.

Step 1: Launch System Preferences from your Mac’s Dock, from the Applications folder, or from the Apple menu bar.

2nd step: Select Screen Time in the preferences panel.

Step 3: Click the Options button in the lower left corner.

Activate screen time

Step 4: Click the Activate button in the upper right corner.

Share screen time across all Mac devices

If you constantly juggle multiple Mac devices, you should enable the screen time sharing option in the System Preferences menu. Follow the steps below to make the necessary changes.

Step 1: Click Screen Time in System Preferences.

2nd step: Select the Options button at the bottom left.

Share screen time across devices

Step 3: Check the Share on multiple devices box.

Now that you have the Screen Time option turned on, it is time to explore all the features available to users.

Screen time functions

Using the app: You can check the details of all the apps you used daily or weekly with details like how long have you used them.

Using the app

Notifications: You can see how many notifications you have received on your phone on a particular day and time.

Pickups: The menu shows you how many times you have collected your devices during the day or week.


Break time: You can set up a schedule where you only allow specific apps available for use. You will receive a reminder exactly 5 minutes before the start of downtime.

Application limits: You can set usage time limits for different apps and categories of apps.

Always allowed: You might have a list of apps that are always allowed and available during downtime.

Content and confidentiality: This option replaces parental controls in earlier versions of macOS. You can enable or disable content by type, Apple store, or specific app, as well as allow or disallow passcode changes, account changes, and other options you may want to restrict. modifications.

Content and confidentiality

My biggest gripe with the Screen Time feature is that it calculates all the apps open in the background. For example, if you have Slack open for team communication all day, then you’ll see it counted in the Screen Time menu.

The practice defeats the purpose of using Screen Time in the first place. A user cannot identify the exact use of the app for the day or week.

Add Screen Time Password on Mac

After making any relevant changes in the Screen Time menu, you won’t want anyone to change this. To avoid this, you can add a passcode to the Screen Time menu on Mac. Follow the steps below to add them.

Step 1: Click Screen Time in System Preferences.

2nd step: Select the Options button at the bottom left.

Add screen time password

Step 3: Check the Use Screen Time Password box.

Approve screen time on Mac

Screen Time displays requests when you have unanswered requests from a child account. Here’s how to find them.

Step 1: Select Screen Time in System Preferences.

2nd step: Select Requests from the sidebar.

Approve requests

Step 3: Any request for additional time will appear under Requests. To manage a request, click Do not approve or choose Approve, then select one of three options from the drop-down list: Approve for 15 minutes, Approve for an hour, or Approve all day.

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Keep track of Mac usage

You can use Screen Time on Mac to increase your productivity or just reduce the extra time you might spend on some unproductive apps. Follow the steps above and set up Screen Time on Mac. By default, the service sends weekly statistics at 9 a.m. on Sunday. You need to turn on Screen Time on your Mac to track your usage. After a few weeks of setup, you’ll be surprised to see the change in your productivity and usage pattern.


Looking to get a capable PDF editor on Mac? Read the article linked below to find the 5 best PDF editors for Mac.

Last updated on Dec 13, 2020

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