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iOS 12 Complete Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos for Your iPhone

How to Set Downtime in iOS 12

You know you're spending too much time staring at your iPhone, but you can't seem to break away. Apple understands, and it wants to help, with the new Downtime feature in iOS 12.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Downtime is meant to remove the temptation of using your phone by disabling a lot of that apps that are sucking up your time and attention. Most of us are going to use Downtime at night, when we should be winding down for bed instead of checking Twitter one last time. But the feature could also come in handy if you need to buckle down at work, focus on studying or spend any other regular time period doing something other than fiddling with an iPhone.

MORE: iOS 12 vs. Android P: Comparing the New Features

Downtime is part of iOS 12's new Screen Time tools. Here's how to turn it on and manage it.—Philip Michaels

Turn on Downtime

1. Tap on Settings and go to the Screen Time section.

2. Tap on Downtime.

3. Flip on the toggle switch to turn on Downtime.

4. Tap on the time next to Start to schedule when Downtime will begin. Do the same with End to set an end time.

5. Tap Screen Time in the upper left corner, and your changes will be set.

When Downtime is active, app icons will appear grayed out. By default, the phone remains on, as do a handful of other built-in apps. (Safari, Clock, Settings, Messages and FaceTime, though you can disable those last two, as we'll see in a moment ) Folders aren't grayed out, but tap on the them, and you'll see that the apps inside are.

Tap on a grayed-out app icon to launch it during Downtime and your iPhone will remind you that you're supposed to not be staring at a screen right now. You can go ahead and launch that app by tapping Ignore Limit, and then deciding whether to just grant yourself a 15-minute stay of execution or ignoring any limits for the rest of the day. Screen Time will take note that you used your phone during Downtime, though.

Adding Apps to Downtime

What if you want more apps to be active when Downtime is in effect? The answer lies in the Always Allowed section of Screen Time.

1. From within Screen Time, tap on Always Allowed.

2. All of your installed apps will be listed in the Choose Apps section. Find the ones you want to be active during Downtime and tap the green plus button to the left of their name. (In this example, we'll use Mail.)

3. If you have second thoughts — or you want Messages and FaceTime to be turned off during Downtime — tap the red minus button to the left of the app's name. A remove button will appear on the screen for you to tap and complete the process.

Because iOS 12 is still a beta, there are still some kinks for Apple to work out. For instance when Downtime ends, your icons may still appear grayed out. Tap them and they should launch as they regularly would. If you still see a time limit screen, press the home button; your screen should be clear of gray apps. Look for that to get smoothed out as we get closer to iOS 12's launch this fall.