Google digital wellbeing app walkthrough guide stop addiction

How to use Google’s Digital Wellbeing app to Fight your Smartphone Addiction

Google digital wellbeing app walkthrough guide stop addictionFrom how many times you unlock your phone to how much time you spend on each app, Google’s Digital Wellbeing app gives you detailed statistics that show you how addicted you are to your smartphone.

Not just statistics, but it also provides some useful tools like App timer, Wind down to keep your smartphone usage in control.

In this article we will see how to use this app to take control of your Screen time.

How to get Digital Wellbeing app and Where to find it on your phone?

Digital wellbeing app is supported on Android Pie and higher Android versions. So if your phone runs on Android Pie, it is likely that you already have it on your phone and you can find it under settings. If you don’t have it, you can download it from playstore.

Even if it is already installed on your phone, you may not see it listed in apps. So, to open Digital wellbeing app:

  1. Open Settings and scroll down to look for “Digital wellbeing” option or just search for it in settings and tap on it.
  2. Now once you are in the app, scroll down and enable the option “Show icon in the app list”. This will add the app to apps list just like other apps, so that you can access it quicker.Digital wellbeing app settings add icon to app drawer homescreen where to find - Digicular

Now that you have found the app, let us see how you can make best use of it to fight your smartphone addiction.

1) Know how much time you spend on each app

Before you try put a limit to your smartphone usage, you should first know your Digital habits. You must know how much time you use your smartphone and which apps you spend most of your time on.

Digital wellbeing app shows you a lot of useful stats regarding this like Time spent, Times opened, Notification count etc.

Usage Stats of the Day and for Individual apps

On the main screen of app you will see a total Screen-time, Unlocks, Notification count and a Pie-chart showing how much of screen-time you spent on each app. If you tap in the center of it, you can see a Bar chart of Screen-times for each day current week along with screen-time for each app.

Screen-time – The time for which the screen was on i.e when you are actually looking at the phone. (So if you are downloading files or listening to music while the phone is locked, that time isn’t counted).

Notifications received – If you select Notifications received option, you can see – Total number of notifications received and Notifications count for each app.Usage statistics Times opened Screen time notification count Digital wellbeing app - Digicular

Times-opened – If you select the Times-opened option in the top you can see:

  • How many times you unlocked your phone in a day.
  • How many times you have open each app.

All these stats are shown for the present day, but if you want to see the details for other days you can navigate either by tapping on the Bar graph or arrow keys.

2) Learn What is Disturbing you

Interruptions are the main reason why you keep checking your phone and there by wasting a hours of time on it.

Notifications are primary interruptions for you. For an instance you get notification from Facebook app and open the app to check it out, and the you start scrolling the feed and BAM! you just wasted an hour on Facebook.

So first we have to figure out which apps are interrupting you often.

To view which apps are sending more notifications:

  • In the Digital wellbeing app, go to Manage notifications option under Reduce interruptions.
  • Here, on the top select Most frequent option instead of Most recent.
  • Now you can see the list of apps and the average number of notifications per day that each of them send.Digital wellbeing app turn off app notifications notification count - Digicular

As you can see in the above screenshot, for me WhatsApp is the most interrupting app, which send an average of 208 notifications/ day.

3) Restrict and Disconnect yourself

As of now, you have already figured-out which apps you spend most of your time on and Which apps interrupt you often, its time to act on it.

There are some cool tools inside Digital wellbeing app, which lets you restrict an App usage and avoid interruptions.

a. Turn-off notifications for most interrupting app(s)

As you already know which apps are sending more notifications, you can completely disable notifications for the app.

Go to Manage Notifications option under Reduce interruptions just as did before and select Most frequent option in the top. You can see list of apps sorted in decreasing order by no. of notifications they send. You can see the notification count and a toggle to Turn-off notifications to the right.Digital wellbeing app turn off app notifications notification count - Digicular

If you don’t want to turn-off notifications for an app entirely, you have decrease it by changing notification preferences for that app. For example, in my case I don’t want to completely turn-off notifications for WhatsApp, so I just muted all the WhatsApp groups so that I get fewer notifications.

b. App timer

With App timer, you can set a specific time for an app, say 1hr for WhatsApp which means you cannot use WhatsApp for more than 1hr in a day.

After setting app timer, it will the track the time when ever you use WhatsApp. And 1 minute before the total time (59 mins here), you will get a reminder that you have 1 min left to complete your quota for day.

And after 1hr, you will see a notification that you have completed your set quota on WhatsApp. The app icon will be greyed out, so you cannot open WhatsApp again until next day.

To set App timer for an app:

  • Open Digital wellbeing app and go to Dashboard by tapping on pie chart.
  • You will see app list here. Tap on Hour glass icon to the right of the app you want to set timer for. App timer Digital wellbeing Android app Anti Smartphone addiction - Digicular
  • Select the time you want to scrolling the hours and minutes. You can set a maximum of 23hrs 55mins (but don’t, that’s ridiculous).

That’s all. You have set the timer for the app.

c. Wind Down

This is the Awesome-est feature Digital wellbeing app. With Wind down you can set to automatically adjust some settings during your sleep schedule so that you can sleep distraction-free.Digital wellbeing app Wind down DND Grayscale Night light - Digicular

Wind down will automatically set Night light, which tints the screen so that it is easier on your eyes. It will also enable Do-not-disturb mode so that you won’t be disturbed by unnecessary notifications while you are trying to sleep. And also as a reminder to sleep, it will also turn your phone into Black & White mode.

You just have to set your start and end time of your regular sleeping schedule, lets say 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM. And wind down will automatically run during this time.

And of course, if you don’t want DND or other setting to turn-on automatically, you can disable it in wind down settings

d. IMPORTANT: Employ your Self-control

No matter how powerful and useful any anti-smartphone-addiction apps can be, it would be absolutely useless if you don’t have Self-control.

For an instance, if you set app timer and you have completed your Quota, you would disable the timer because of lack of self-control.

So any tool becomes useless if you can’t control your urge to use smartphone more.

FAQ’s: Common questions about Digital Wellbeing app

Can I install Google’s Digital wellbeing app on any phone? Does my phone support it?

Digital well-being app is only supported on Android phones running Android 9.0 Pie or higher. If you phone runs on older android version like Android 8.0 Oreo or lower, you can try an alternative app like ActionDash.

Does Digital wellbeing app work on iOS/ iPhone?

No, the app is exclusively available for Android. iOS has their own app for this called Screen Time for tracking your usage.

What are good alternative apps to Google’s Digital wellbeing?

Some of the good alternatives to track your smartphone usage are ActionDash, Digitox and StayFree.


That’s all about Digital Wellbeing app. If this article it helpful to you, please do share this with your friends. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions in Comments or on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

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Susheel karam

Susheel is an Electrical Engineer by education, but a Tech Blogger by Passion. He keeps himself updated about latest Apps, Gadgets and anything new in Tech world. When he is not in to computers, he loves to watch Sci-Fi and Horror movies.

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