How to Set App Time Limits and Block Apps on Android

Lock focus mode in an application on an Android phone.
Khamosh Pathak

Spending too much time on your Android device? Use a digital wellness app to track usage of your app and set app limits. Want peace of mind? Block specific apps a bit with Focus mode.

How to set an app timer in Android 9 and above

Digital well-being is Google’s screen time management feature. It is available on Google Pixel Phones, Android One devices (which run Android 9 Pie and higher) and a limited number of other phones. After downloading the Digital well-being application on your device, it appears as a Settings item.

The Digital Wellbeing app monitors the time you spend on your phone. It tells you how many times you have picked up your phone, how much time you have spent in a specific application and how many notifications you have received today.

You can use this information to make decisions about the time you spend on your smartphone. The app also gives you tools, like App Timer, to limit your use.

With App Timer, you can limit the amount of time you can spend in an app. For example, you can configure it to only use YouTube for 30 minutes a day.

To do this, swipe down on the notification shade, then tap the gear icon to open the settings (or open it in the app drawer). Then press on “Digital well-being and parental control”.

In the dashboard, scroll down to the YouTube app and tap the hourglass icon next to it.

Tap the hourglass icon next to the app.

In the pop-up window, set the time limit, then press “OK”.

When your usage time has elapsed, the application will pause. Its icon on the home screen will be grayed out and you will not receive any notification from it. The next day, the timer is reset and the application unlocks again.

Of course, you can always go back to the Digital Wellbeing app and extend or deactivate the timer whenever you want.

How to use Focus mode on Android 10

Android 10 comes with a built-in focus mode. As far as app blocking features are concerned, this is still pretty basic. All you can do is select a bunch of entertaining apps to suspend when you activate Focus mode.

It acts as a manual switch to block multiple applications simultaneously. At the time of writing, you cannot schedule the automatic pause of applications at a certain time of day; however, this is possible with some third-party apps that we cover below.

If you just need a quick switch to block apps, Focus mode will come in handy.

Open the Settings app and tap on “Digital wellness and parental controls”.

Click on “Display your data”.

Here, press “Focus Mode”.

Select the apps you want to suspend when you activate Focus mode. Press “Activate now” to activate the Focus mode (you press the same button to deactivate it).

You can add a “Focus Mode” tile to the notification panel if you don’t want to access the Settings app every time. To do this, open the notification panel and press the Edit button (the one that looks like a pencil).

Tap the Edit button in the notifications shade.

Drag the Focus Mode tile to the active tile section.

Now you can just tap on the “Focus Mode” tile to turn this feature on or off.

Alternatives for other Android phones

As we mentioned above, digital wellness features are only available on a handful of Google Pixels, Android Oneand other devices. Even on these, the Focus mode of Android 10 is quite limited.

What if you want to use these features on other Android phones? Or do you want to schedule Focus mode to automatically block apps at certain times? You can do both with third-party apps.

Stay focused

Stay Focused app screens

Stay focused is a screen time management application that shows you how you use your device. It helps you limit your use in several ways. You can set a daily or hourly usage limit and block apps for specific time intervals or based on the number of launches.

After opening the application, it asks you to grant access authorization for use. Press “Click to Tune” if you wish to do so.

On this screen, press “Stay focused”.

Then activate “Allow access to use”.

You end up in the application. Find the distracting app, then tap the Padlock icon next to it.

Tap the padlock icon next to the entertaining app in Stay focused.

You see all the options available here. Press “Daily use limit”.

On this screen, select the days of the week to which you want to apply the limit, set the time limit, then press “Save”.

Configure your daily usage limits.

You are returned to the application list screen. Select an application and, in the configuration screen, press “Specific time intervals”.

From there, you can block an application at a specific time. Select the days of the week on which you want to apply the limit, then press the plus sign (+) next to “Intervals”.

Tap the plus sign.

In the pop-up window, select the hours “From” and “To”, then press “OK”.

Press “Save”. Now if you try to open the managed app outside of the hours you have specified, the Stay Focused app will display a splash screen indicating that you cannot access it.

You can use the “Specific time intervals” function to create several schedules for the same application. For example, you can have a schedule from Monday to Friday and another for the weekend. Tap “Add schedule” in the settings screen to add another schedule.

Stay Focused is a free, ad-supported application. You occasionally see full screen banners and ads. If you upgrade to the Pro version, it disables ads and unlocks all functionality.

ActionDash

The time interval, gallery, and focus mode menus in the ActionDash app.

ActionDash is mainly a dashboard on which you can display the screen time of your device. It is a good replacement for Google’s Digital Wellbeing app. If you unlock the Pro version for $ 7.99, you can access the app limits and features of the app blocker.

ActionDash integrates with ActionLauncher and provides a better user experience when it comes to viewing and managing device usage. The app has a cleaner interface, similar to Google’s digital wellness feature.

After installing the ActionDash application and granting access permission to use the application, you will find yourself on the application’s home screen. Press “Get Plus” to unlock all the features.

When you have the Pro version of ActionDash, select an application in the device usage list, then press “Application usage limits”.

Set the application limit, then press “OK”.

Return to the ActionDash dashboard and press “Focus Mode”.

From there, select the apps you want to add to the focus mode, then tap “Activate Now” to activate it.

You can also plan Focus mode. Press the Menu button (the three vertical dots) on the focus mode screen.

Press the Menu button.

Select “Focus mode times”.

You see several ready-made presets.

Press any toggle to activate a preset schedule for Focus mode.

If none of the presets offer what you want, press “Add a program” to create a new one.

Select the start and end days and times. Press “Back” to return to the “Schedules” screen.

Configure the start and end times.

You can now activate multiple schedules for Focus mode. You can also deactivate any program, but you must wait 20 seconds to deactivate the one you have just defined.

ActionDash will block the application you have selected automatically at the configured time and each time you exceed the application timeout limit.

We can also help you if you want to use similar features on your iPhone or iPad.

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