The iPhone and iPad include several tools to help you create healthy usage habits. “Downtime” is one the most powerful and lesser known of the bunch. We’ll explain why you should use it and how to remove it if it’s enabled.
What is Downtime on iPhone?
“Downtime” was introduced with iOS 12 in 2018, and it was further enhanced in iOS and iPadOS 15. It’s part of Apple’s suite of tools that can limit notifications and block distractions, like Focus Mode, Screen Time, and App Limits.
The Downtime feature is sort of a combination of those other tools. Focus Mode is great for limiting notifications, and App Limits can curb your app usage. Downtime accomplishes both of these things. You decide who can contact you and which apps can be used.
The Downtime feature is mainly intended to be used on a schedule. A common example would be having it enabled overnight to help you detach from your phone before bedtime and block notifications while you sleep. However, it can also be turned on and off on demand.
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How to Use Downtime on iPhone
Downtime is buried in the “Screen Time” settings, and there are a few things you’ll need to configure to use it. First, open the “Settings” app from the home screen.
Next, go to “Screen Time.”
If Screen Time is disabled, you’ll need to first tap “Turn On Screen Time” and read the intro screens.
You’ll notice “Downtime” on the Screen Limits page, but we need to start at “Always Allowed.”
First, tap “Contacts” at the top of the screen.
You have two options here—“Specific Contacts” and “Everyone.” If you select “Specific Contacts,” you’ll be able to choose people from your contacts list or add a new contact.
Once you’re finished, go back to the previous page. Here’s where you’ll choose which apps you can use during Downtime. Apps that are not selected will be greyed out on the home screen, and a message will say “You’ve reached your limit” if you try to open them.
Scroll through the list of apps and tap the plus button to allow an app to be used during Downtime.
Finally, we can go back to the Screen Time settings and select “Downtime.”
To turn on Downtime right away, tap “Turn On Downtime Until Tomorrow.” Unfortunately, you can’t adjust how long it stays on manually.
Alternatively, you can set up a schedule for Downtime. Toggle the switch on for “Scheduled” and select the days and times for it to run.
That’s all there is to setting up and using Downtime!
How to Remove Downtime on iPhone
The Downtime settings are somewhat buried, and there’s not really a shortcut to quickly toggle it on and off. If it’s been enabled, we’ll show you how to turn off Downtime.
First, open the “Settings” app from the home screen.
Next, go to “Screen Time.”
If Downtime was manually turned on, you’ll see the option to “Turn Off Downtime.” If it’s on during a scheduled time, it will read “Ignore Downtime Until Schedule.” Both options will turn it off immediately.
That’s all there is to it. If you don’t want Downtime to turn on again, make sure “Scheduled” is toggled off.
Downtime is one of the most powerful “Digital Wellbeing” tools you can use on an iPhone or iPad. It puts some pretty strict restrictions on what you can do. Of course, you’re in control of those restrictions, but some limitations can make it easier to break bad habits.