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How to check how much time you spend on Android apps

The results might surprise you.

samsung galaxy s9 on bokeh background
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

Quick Answer: There are several ways to check the time spent on Android apps. Android’s built-in Digital Wellbeing tool is the easiest. To access it, go to your phone’s Settings, then select “Digital Wellbeing & parental controls.”

It’s safe to say that many of us spend a lot of time on our phones.

Whether it is texting friends and family or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, our phones are rarely very far from us.

This begs the question, how much time are we spending looking at Reddit, Instagram, and other apps that call our phones home?

It’s fairly easy to do this on an iPhone, but what about Android?

How to check app usage time on Android

apps on a phone
Image: Unsplash

If you want to know how much time you spend on apps on your Android device, the answer depends on which handset you own.

For instance, you can use the Digital Wellbeing app if you have a Pixel device.

The app lets you see all the stats you want about app usage, notifications, and other on-device stats.

This feature is available on most Android devices running Android 9 or later.

If you own any other Android, you’ll have to use one of the third-party apps that fill the same need.

On a Google Pixel device, it’s super easy to check your app usage stats:

digital wellbeing app on google pixel devices
  1. Scroll down to Digital Wellbeing and tap on it
  2. Open up the Settings app
  3. You’ll then see an overview of your app usage stats. Tapping on any of the names gives you a more in-depth view of your usage of that app, including when you used it most during the day.
  4. The Dashboard option shows information about UnlocksNotifications, and App Usage. You can also set timers to limit your use of a particular app during the day.
  5. If you scroll down to the bottom of the Digital Wellbeing page, you can toggle a switch to show the app in your app drawer. That’ll stop you from having to scroll through the Settings app every time you want to look at your stats

How to check app usage on other Android devices

If you don’t own a Pixel, it’s time to head over to the Google Play Store, where you can find several app usage tracking apps.

Here are some of our favorites:

Quality Time

quality time android time tracking app
Image: Quality Time

Quality Time is one of the most-downloaded time trackers (over a million installs and counting), probably because of how well everything is laid out inside the app.

You’ve got a daily timeline that shows which apps you used each hour, with total time, daily usage overviews, and individual app overviews over a longer period.

You can also set daily usage alerts, custom profiles that ban certain apps when applied, and the Take a Break mode, where your smartphone turns into a dumbphone with calls only while set.

App Usage

app usage android time tracker app
Image: App Usage

App Usage is also a great option, and the most like the Digital Wellbeing app for Pixel devices, with some useful additions.

It also has a chronological timeline of app usage, a “per-category” view in case you spend too much time on social media.

In addition, a handy battery history tracking screen that shows battery drain overlaid on your app usage stats.

There’s also a handy widget for your home screen, so all the stats about your app usage are just a tap away.

Things to keep in mind

android smartphone on a deskmat with a dinosaur barfing a rainbow on it
Image: KnowTechie

Due to Android system limitations, any method you use will only be able to track usage when apps are in the foreground.

So, keep this in mind as you try to get a handle on your tech habits. That means the app has to be in use with the screen on.

That makes tracking how much time you spend listening to Spotify in the background impossible.

What apps do you use to track your smartphone activity? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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