Screen Time is an excellent addition to iOS. It has helped a lot of people to monitor their overall app usage as well as prevented me from spending too much time on social media. It has been a game changer. However, there is one major annoying limitation with this functionality. You can’t edit app categories.
Screen Time groups apps automatically into broad categories such as Entertainment and Education this is done by default. But the Screen Time app sometimes misses the mark entirely with some apps ending up in the wrong category. Or, it may be that you don’t want a specific app to be included within a preset category at all. You are stuck with what you get.
Rather than giving up, I went ahead to play with it and then I found out a couple of procedures that will let you take the matter into your own hands. They’re quite easy to perform and are as close as it gets to editing or impacting the presets.
Create your own presets
Creating a custom category is not accurately called editing per se. But the simple fact is that such functionality is present enables for ample opportunity to omit certain apps or add others and then build your go-to categories from scratch. For example, you can recreate your own ‘Social Networking‘ category without having any critical app such as Skype included within.
Of course, Screen Time does not make the whole process of building categories all that readily apparent. You may not even have to know that you could do that unless you look very closely. Hence, these steps below should help you out.
1. Head to the Settings app of your iDevice, tap on Screen Time and then tap the name of your device.
2. Tap on the apps that you wish to include in your new category.
Note: if you are unable to find a single app that you want to include, you can either switch to the Last 7 Days tab or briefly use an app and then come back.
3. Locate the “Add Limit” button right under the Limits section.
4. Under the Apps & Categories section, tap Edit Apps.
5. Select the apps that you want to include in the category and then tap ‘Add’.
6. Then you have to specify the time limit for the apps that are included within the category. Use the Customize Days if you want to determine different limits for each day of the week. And finally, tap on ‘Add’ to finish the creation of the category.
That is all. You have just created your category from scratch. And if you want to manage it, tap on App Limits from inside the main Screen Time panel, and you would find your newly created app category listed neatly underneath. Any other categories that you would decide to create later on will show up here as well.
And unlike with preset categories, it’s also easy to add and remove apps. In summary, you can edit your categories to your taste. I think it’s pretty cool.
Exclude apps from Downtime
This workaround involves omitting apps from preset categories by just adding them into the Screen Time’s Always Allowed list. And right after that, those apps won’t be subjected to downtime. But, there’s a catch.
Apps that are omitted will still count toward the time limit of the category that it belongs to. It’s stupid I know. However, this is the fastest way to go about things if you don’t want to spend a lot of time building your categories from scratch.
- While on the Screen Time panel, tap on ‘Always Allowed.’
2. Then tap on the ‘+’ -shaped icon right next to the app you want to stop from being affected by the downtime. And that is it. You’re done.
This is not a permanent solution to the problem. Apps that are excluded counting towards the total time limit of their categories can be annoying. But for the long term, creating a custom app categories should go a long way.
Remote Device Management
Did you know that you can manage other devices remotely by just adding them to your device by using Family Sharing? This is a handy tip when it comes to kids. To make things better you can use these tweaks as well to manage their app usage times without subjecting all the apps within a category to downtime.
Start adding your child to the Family Sharing option if you are yet to. This option is found right after tapping on your profile within the Settings app. then select his/her name from underneath Family with the Screen Time, and add the restrictions that you want. Everything works the same as on your device. You can then proceed to make changes. For example, you can omit your kids from accessing a particular website.
Screen Time needs improvement
You might still find it hard that Apple did not think about providing a means to modify preset app categories directly. But for now, these workarounds mentioned in this article should do the trick for you.
Even though they are not that convenient, but it’s all we can do until it is improved on in a future iOS update. And I bet it will happen in the next update release, but until then, keep your fingers crossed.
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