How to Set App Time Limits and Block Apps on Android

Focus Mode lock in an app on an Android phone.

Khamosh Pathak / How-To Geek

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

how to set an app timer in android 9 and higher

Digital Wellbeing is Google’s screen time management feature. It’s available on Google Pixel phones, Android One devices (running Android 9 Pie and above), and a limited number of other phones. after downloading the digital wellbeing app on your device, it appears as a setup item.

Reading: Set time limit on apps android

the digital wellness app monitors how much time you spend on your phone. tells you how many times you picked up your phone, how long you spent on a specific app, and how many notifications you received today.

You can use this information to make decisions about how much time you spend on your smartphone. The app also gives you tools, like the app timer, to reduce your usage.

With the app timer, you can restrict how long you can spend in an app. for example, you can set it to use youtube only 30 minutes per day.

To do this, swipe down on the notification shade and then tap the gear icon to open settings (or open it from the app drawer). then tap “Digital Wellbeing & Parental Controls”.

Tap "Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls" in Settings.

In the panel, scroll down to the youtube app and tap the hourglass icon next to it.

in the popup window, set the time limit and then tap “ok”.

Tap "OK" in the "Set App Timer" popup.

When the usage time is up, the app will stop. its icon on the home screen will be grayed out and you will not receive any notification from it. the next day, the timer resets and the app is unlocked again.

of course, you can always go back to the digital wellness app and extend or disable the timer whenever you want.

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how to use focus mode in android 10

Android 10 comes with a built-in focus mode. As app blocking features go, this one is still pretty basic. all you can do is select a bunch of distracting apps to pause when you enable focus mode.

acts as a manual switch to block multiple applications simultaneously. As of this writing, you can’t schedule apps to automatically stop at a certain time of day; however, this is possible with some third-party applications that we cover below.

if you just need a quick toggle to lock apps, focus mode will come in handy.

Open the Settings app and tap “Digital Wellbeing & Parental Controls”.

Tap "Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls" in Settings.

tap “show your data”.

Tap "Show Your Data."

here, tap “focus mode”.

Tap "Focus Mode."

Select the apps you want to pause when you enable focus mode. tap “turn on now” to enable focus mode (tap the same button to turn it off).

Tap "Turn On Now" in the "Focus Mode" menu.

You can add a “focus mode” tile to the notification panel if you don’t want to go to the settings app every time. To do this, open the notification panel and tap the edit button (the one that looks like a pencil).

Tap the Edit button in the notification shade.

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drag the “focus mode” tile to the active tiles section.

Drag the "Focus Mode" tile to the top of the list.

now, you can tap the “focus mode” tile to enable or disable this feature.

Tap "Focus Mode" to turn it on.

alternatives for other android phones

as we mentioned earlier, digital wellbeing features are only available on a handful of google pixel, android one and other devices. even on these, focus mode in android 10 is quite limited.

what if you want to use these features on other android phones? or what if you want to schedule focus mode to automatically lock apps at certain times? you can do both with third-party apps.

stay focused

Screens of Stay Focused app

stay focus is a screen time management app that shows you how you use your device. helps you limit its use in multiple ways. you can set a daily or hourly usage limit, and block apps for specific time intervals or based on the number of launches.

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After opening the app, it asks you to grant usage access permission. tap “click to grant” if you want to do this.

on this screen, tap “stay focused”.

Tap "Stay Focused."

then turn on “allow usage access”.

Tap the toggle next to "Permit Usage Access" to turn it on.

you end up back in the app. find the app that distracts you and then tap the lock icon next to it.

You will see all the options available here. tap “daily usage limit”.

Tap "Daily Usage Limit."

On this screen, select the days of the week you’d like to apply the limit to, set the time limit, and then tap “save”.

Configure your daily usage limits.

returns to the application list screen. select an app, and on the settings screen, tap “specific time intervals”.

Tap "Specific Time Intervals."

From here, you can lock an app for a specific time. select the days of the week you’d like to apply the limit to, and then tap the plus sign (+) next to “in intervals.”

Tap the plus sign.

In the pop-up window, select the “from” and “until” times and then tap “ok”.

Set the To and From times, and then tap "OK."

touch “save”. now, if you try to open the managed app outside of the times you specified, the stay focused app displays a splash screen saying you can’t access it.

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You can use the “specific time slots” function to create multiple schedules for the same application. for example, you can have one schedule for Monday through Friday and another for the weekend. Tap “add schedule” on the settings screen to add another schedule.

stay focus is a free ad-supported application. you see banners and full screen ads from time to time. If you upgrade to the pro version, you disable ads and unlock all features.

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action script

The time interval, Gallery, and Focus Mode menus in the ActionDash app.

actiondash is mainly a dashboard where you can see the screen time of your device. It’s a good replacement for Google’s Digital Wellbeing app. If you unlock the pro version for $7.99, you can access app limits and app lock features.

actiondash integrates with actionlauncher and offers a better user experience when it comes to viewing and managing device usage. The app has a cleaner interface that is similar to Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature.

After installing the actiondash app and granting the app usage access permission, you end up on the app home screen. tap “get more” to unlock all features.

Tap "Get Plus."

When you have the pro version of actiondash, select an app from the device usage list and then tap “app usage limits”.

Tap "App Usage Limits."

set the app limit and then tap “ok”.

Tap "OK."

go back to the actiondash panel and tap “focus mode”.

Tap "Focus Mode."

From here, select the apps you want to add to focus mode and then tap “turn on now” to enable it.

You can also set the focus mode. tap the menu button (the three vertical dots) on the focus mode screen.

Tap the Menu button.

select “focus mode schedules”.

Tap "Focus Mode Schedules."

see several presets that are ready to go.

Tap any toggle to enable a preset schedule for Focus mode.

If none of the presets offer what you want, tap “add schedule” to create a new one.

Tap "Add Schedule."

select the start and end days and times. touch “back” to return to the “schedules” screen.

Configure the start and end times.

You can now enable multiple schedules for focus mode. You can also disable any schedule, although you have to wait 20 seconds to disable one you just set.

actiondash will block the app you selected automatically at the configured time and whenever you exceed the app’s time limit.

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

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