iOS Screen Time Musing

I’ve started to think a little about Beeminder for iOS and Device Usage goals. Unfortunately the API that apple provides here is very restrictive, so most of the natural integrations are impossible to implement. There are some things that are possible though, and I’m wondering if they would be useful:

  • +1 on Threshold Exceeded. Would let you set a threshold and app/category (e.g. 30min/day on games) and report +1 to beeminder for each day you exceed this. [I know the best thing would be to report minutes/day directly to beeminder and use the graph. This is unsupported by Apple].
  • +1 on Phone usage at Night. Define a quiet period (e.g. 10pm-8am) and report +1 to a goal if you use your phone at all during this window.
  • Quantized usage vs goal. Define a usage threshold and app/category, and report in a few discrete chunks how usage compares. e.g. if your goal was 1 hour a day, the app might report 0 for 0-15min, 0.25 for 15-30min, 0.5 for 30-45min, 0.75 for 45-60min, and 1.0 for 60min+

Essentially the API Apple provides lets us set Time Window/App/Threshold, and tell us if that threshold is exceeded for that app (or category, or all apps) during the provided time window. So possible features must be built on top of that.


Yea, I managed to get a shortcut that could kind of do this though it was buggy sometimes and would have a false open of an app or not do a close after switching to another app causing incorrect time data being entered into Beeminder. I do see other apps like screentime zen that seem to be able to get screentime stats via the API. But I know there have been several bugs with the Screentime API.

1 Like