5 Apps to Limit Screen Time: Get Grounded with Tech in Your Life

Elliott Redwine

Conversations surrounding apps to limit screen time were everywhere when Apple released its Screen Time feature to the public last fall. Although they weren’t the first to do it, it was the first time many people were confronted with the actual amount of time they spend on their phones.

Apple’s Screen Time helped people realize how much time they lost to their devices every day. It opened the space for discussions regarding the negative effects of technology. People were encouraged to ask themselves whether it was how they truly wanted to spend their time.

People pass an incredible amount of time on screens today for both work and play. Most office jobs require you to stare at a computer monitor for 8 hours per day. Then you scroll through your phone throughout the evening, sucked into various apps that each beg for your attention.

Most people spend at least 3 hours per day on their phone according to data from RescueTime, a popular third-party screen time app. If this sounds like a lot, the top 20 percent of users spend more than 4.5 hours on their phones each day. Additionally, the average user picks up their phone to check it about 58 times per day.

Do you find yourself losing more time to your phone than you’d like? These 5 apps to limit screen time can help you get grounded with the tech in your life again.


5 Helpful Apps to Limit Screen Time

If you have a difficult time limiting your device use throughout the day, there are plenty of apps available to help you regain control. Screen Time is a great tool for iOS users and Digital Wellbeing offers a comparable alternative for Android users.

Some third-party apps offer more detailed information about phone use or extra features that people prefer. Have you tried Screen Time or Digital Wellbeing but want to check out some other options? This list of 5 apps to limit screen time will give you a great place to start.


1. RescueTime

Do you ever unlock your phone to do something specific then find yourself locking it, only to realize you never did what you wanted to do in the first place? How about sinking half an hour into scrolling your Instagram feed without realizing how much time passed?

RescueTime boasts the ability to help you understand where your time goes. It’s difficult to realize how much those “real quick checks” add up throughout the day. 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there often total up to a few hours by the end of the night.

Set up a few goals and see how you stack up against your intentions with weekly reports. Through the use of alerts, distraction blocking, and offline time, RescueTime wants to help you reclaim the time lost to your devices.


2. Freedom

Freedom is a cross-platform app that helps you step away from sinking time into the digital world. It blocks apps and websites that you find distract you most throughout the day. Since it’s compatible with Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome, you can keep your goals no matter which device you’re on.

Rather than using negative messaging to keep you off your devices, though, Freedom focuses on the positive. When you try to access a site or app on your blocked list, it reminds you that, “You are free” from whatever it is you’re trying to open.

Set up schedules to block out certain times of the day on specific devices or use the app to limit screen time as you go. Freedom gives you the freedom to separate at your own pace with gentle reminders of why you started in the first place.


3. Space

Space is another app to limit screen time that uses social encouragement and gamification to keep you on track. It collects data about your phone use and presents it in a calming, space-themed dashboard.

You can invite friends to track their phone use with Space alongside you and see how your use stacks up against one another. If you’ve discussed device overuse or screen time with anyone lately, downloading Space together could be a way to encourage each other.


4. Forest

Forest uses an interesting angle to keep you off your phone: planting trees, both digitally and in the real world. Everyone wants to do their part to help out in the world. What better way than to separate from your device while helping leave a lasting impact?

Plant a tree in the app every time you want to focus. The tree grows as time passes, as long as you leave your device untouched. If you leave the app, the tree dies. But if you’re successful in staying focused, your tree is added to your own productivity forest.

Forest separates itself from other apps to limit screen time by helping the real world as well. They partner with Trees for the Future, an organization that plants trees in dozens of countries across the world. Separate from your device and leave a positive environmental footprint with the help of Forest.


5. Flipd

Flipd combines the awareness of screen time reminders, the boost of productivity trackers, and the encouragement of mindfulness apps into one. It aims to be a hub for intentional device use, all in one convenient app.

Lock down distracting apps to keep yourself focused on the tasks you set up for the day. Listen to speakers, coaches, productivity tips, or tracks to help you sleep. Join communities of like-minded device users who share the same goals as you.

You can also track your overall moments by the day, week, or month. Download Flipd with friends to hold one another accountable to the goals you create. Find your own path to mindful living with the help of Flipd.

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