How to Turn Off Screen Time on the iPhone or iPad

Apple iOS 12 introduced a new feature for iPhones and iPads called Screen Time that helps you monitor and limit your screen time, which you can set for yourself or as “parental controls” to limit your children’s screentime and limit what apps they can use on your devices.

How to Turn Off Screen Time on the iPhone or iPad

Users have the option to set up Screen Time as a parent or as a general user.  Though you may want to turn off Screen Time, which is what this article will show you how to do.

What is Screen Time?

Screen Time is part of Apple’s efforts to address smartphone and tablet addiction, tracking how you spend your time when you’re using your iPhone and iPad.

It monitors how much time you’re using a particular app or category of apps, and lets you set restrictions that will hopefully help you develop healthier relationships with your mobile devices and apps. As parental controls, Screen Time can help you to help your kids develop healthier relationships with devices and apps.

As Apple describes the problem that Screen Time addresses:

Empowering customers with insight into how they are spending time with apps and websites, Screen Time creates detailed daily and weekly Activity Reports that show the total time a person spends in each app they use, their usage across categories of apps, how many notifications they receive and how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad. By understanding how they’re interacting with their iOS devices, people can take control of how much time they spend in a particular app, website, or category of apps.

For example, users can limit the amount of time that iOS will allow access to Facebook, schedule a period of downtime every night that restricts access to games, or even block access to certain websites and apps entirely to help you avoid temptation.

Even if you don’t want to go so far as to set actual restrictions, Screen Time will still provide a chart detailing how much time you spent using various categories of apps and services.

turn off screen time iphone

But not every iPhone or iPad user needs a feature like Screen Time or may want to turn it off temporarily. It can also be a privacy issue as well, not from Apple but in the sense that anyone who has access to your devices can see which apps you’re using and for how long you used them.

For those who don’t need or want a Screen Time, this TechJunkie article will walk you through the steps to turn off Screen Time on iOS 12 on your iPhone or iPad.

Turn Off Screen Time on Your iPhone or iPad

First, an important note: when Screen Time is first enabled, it can be configured for an adult or a child. If it was configured for a child, you will need the adult’s passcode to turn off Screen Time.

  1. From your iPhone or iPad, tap Settings.
  2. Then tap Screen Time.
  3. Swipe down to the bottom of the list and select Turn Off Screen Time.
  4. Input your Screen Time passcode when your phone asks for it.
  5. Tap Turn Off Screen Time again to confirm

With Screen Time disabled, your iOS device will not track your application usage time and any limits or restrictions based on Screen Time settings will be lifted on your device.

Note, however, that from a privacy perspective, application usage may still be visible via the Battery Health and Usage information in iOS Settings, which you can learn more about reading How to Use iOS 12 iPhone Battery Usage and Battery Health Information.

Turn Screen Time Back On

If you later decide that you want to use Screen Time and its related features again, you can turn it back on by heading back to Settings > Screen Time and selecting Turn On Screen Time.

You’ll need to go through the entire setup process again, however, and any previous Screen Time data will not be restored.

For a complete article on how to limit your screen time, check out How To Limit Your Screen Time On iPhone and iPad.

Frequently Asked Questions

Apple’s Screen Time is the perfect solution to parental controls and also to manage your own usage. But, you may have more questions about the feature. That’s why we’ve included this section. Read on for the answers to more of your questions about Screen Time.

How do I turn off my Screen Time passcode?

Turning off your Screen Time passcode is easy. All you need to do is go to the Settings on your iPhone and tap on ‘Screen Time.’ Scroll down and tap on ‘Change Screen Time Passcode.’ Then, tap on ‘Turn Off Screen Time Passcode.’ When the pop-up appears, tap to confirm that you’d like to turn the passcode off.

Of course, you can turn the passcode off and leave Screen Time on. Some features will not work, but your phone will still monitor your activities and send you usage alerts.

What is my Screen Time Passcode?

Because it is a parental controls function, you will need to set a four-digit passcode that is separate from your screen unlock code. Assuming you know the existing passcode, you can always change your passcode following the steps above.

Simply open the Settings on your iPhone and tap on ‘Screen Time.’ Next, tap on ‘Change Screen Time Passcode.’ Then, tap on ‘Change Screen Time Passcode’ again. Input your old passcode and set a new one.

If you’ve forgotten your current Screen Time passcode, follow the same steps we’ve just mentioned but tap on ‘Forgot Passcode.’ Type in the Apple ID and password, then follow the prompts to reset your Passcode.

Do you use Screen Time on your Apple devices? If so, do you use it for “parental controls, to limit your own screen time or both? Please us about it in the comments below!

11 thoughts on “How to Turn Off Screen Time on the iPhone or iPad”

Harley says:
I’m having an issue with my sons old iPhone SE *Gen 1*, it has screen time enabled for a child but I can’t remember the screen time passcode. I can’t find any prompts on hid phone to change the password and I’m at a loose end on how to change it. Can not remove his icloud account without the screen time passcode unfortunately
Brianna says:
I have set up a password and downtime on my daughters IPhone XR and it works great until she shuts the phone off and powers it back on. Once she does that it turns the downtime off.
Fiona Fux says:
“If you later decide that you want to use Screen Time […] again, you can turn it back on […]. You’ll need to go through the entire setup process again, however, and any previous Screen Time data will not be restored.”

This seems like a huge design flaw of this function and makes it practically unusable as a parental control – why would Apple not let me “pause” all screentime limitations as the adult? Instead I have to go through all settings again after switching screentime temporarily off?

Suga says:
What’s stopping my son from following these steps and cutting ST off by himself since you don’t need a code:
From your iPhone or iPad, tap Settings
Then tap Screen Time
Swipe down to the bottom of the list and select Turn Off Screen Time
Tap Turn Off Screen Time again to confirm
The Dark Knight says:
If you have screen time protected with a passcode then you cannot access the function to switch it off without the passcode
Laura says:
how can i get around screentime if i’m the kid that’s under 18?
The Dark Knight says:
You can’t. Unless you have the passcode.
Dan says:
What would happen if you turn off screen time family sharing if a member of the family is over 18?
Kell davis says:
How do you turn off screen time if someone else got on there and put a code on it ? I’m the adult but as a cruel joke someone put a parental lock on it and won’t own up to it.
Ryan says:
you will need to go through a lot of verifications to turn on screen time if someone else is controlling your phone through screen time.However,for your case, if the person doesn’t own up you can email apple to remove the screen time and explain to them what happened
The Dark Knight says:
There is software that you can buy. TYou will need to make a password protected backup of your iPad via iTunes on your computer. The software can then be used to scan the backup to extract the passcode. Expensive and long winded but 100% successful. Quicker way is to ask the person who I did it to give you the code. Other than that, you will have to reset your iPad and set it up as a new iPad and reinstall all your apps from the start.
Taira says:
I set up screen time on my sons phone and he just shut it off. How does that happen? What’s the point of setting it up if he can just turn it off?
Ryan says:
set a password and turn off his ability to change the date and time and that feature can allow him to change the time to the time when there is no downtime.Also remember to keep the password a secret
Bebe says:
Ditto. Mine just goes into Screen Time, swipes down to Turn Off Screen Time, and it doesn’t even ask for my pass code. Then he just goes nuts. What’s the point of having a pass code if your kid can just turn it off without it?

Comments are closed.

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