With the launch of iOS 12 last month, Apple now tracks and reports your phone and app usage in a weekly Screen Time report. You can review time usage per-day, weekly time usage, average daily pickups, and total notifications with each category reported individually by the app.
I screen-shot my iPhone. You can see that I spent 3 hours per day and 21 hours total with phone in-hand. I used Instagram, Chrome, Google maps, and Twitterrific the most. To my chagrin, I checked my notifications 81 times per day with Monday and Tuesday as my heaviest usage days. Now, remember Jesus’ words, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone.” Before reacting, check your own report.
Just follow the instructions: (1) Open Settings, (2) Tap on Screen Time, (3) Tap your device at the top of the page, then (4) You can view your Screen Time data for the current day or the last 7 days. Weekly reports land on Sunday mornings, which is a feature I’d like to change. Who wants a data dump before attending church?
What can a conscientious Christian learn from Apple’s Screen Time?
Focus on using your phone well rather than using it less
Phone use is a wisdom issue, not a moral issue. Does a Screen Time report tempt you to use your phone less just for the discipline of your own habits? Let go of arbitrary standards. Focus on using your phone for good, helpful, and productive goals.
Reports help self-regulation
Seeing your habits reported in a graph is a reality check. It is like stepping on the scale for your brain. Perhaps fasting from a particular app for a week or a month is in order. Use the downtime to readjust your priorities and regulate future use.
Use your phone to give rather than receive
We can uncover a subtle narcissism in our phone usage by asking the question, “Are my phone habits about me or others?” We know the difference between checking our phone for self-gratification and using our phone for self-sacrifice. So many blessings can be shared through a text, post, or voicemail.