Screen time apps that measure ONLY active use

I have ScreenTime for Mac and for my iOS phone. The thing is that I think they measure also background activity - so on the phone, for example, I listen to a lot of YouTube/Audible without ever looking at the screen - but ScreenTime measures it.
For desktop, I noticed that sometimes there are all kind of background things going on, updates and such, when I don’t even look at the monitor.

Are there any phone and/or desk apps that measure ONLY activities that involve active viewing of the screen?

Thank you!

A new problem with YouTube is their restriction in free plan with the screen constantly on during video playback.

And that’s probably difficult to measure without tracking through the selfie camera… So I doubt there’s any.

An alternative is to pick prescriptions for your glasses that require active focus to see a clear view of the screen. I do that with my phone (naked eye) and PC (minor negative lenses just for PC), allowing me to turn a problem (excessive screen time) into an asset (tons of active focus time).

At least that’s what I do :slight_smile:

And as an added bonus, depending on your astigmatism progress, you can re-use your phone/pc glasses later as norms, etc. My current astronomy glasses (i.e. see stars as pinpoints) used to be my PC glasses (required active focus to see a screen 70cm away).

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On iOS go to settings / screen time
Under the bars showing the daily average, tap on “see all activities”
At the top you can tap on the bars and it will show hour by hour what categories you used and when, and at the bottom it will list the apps you used and how long for under “most used”
There you can change that to “show categories” to see which app goes to which category.
You can also tap on the individual lines for further details.

In my view phone use is a big “no” for AF. If you must have a screen then always consider moving the content one size up to a bigger screen. Don’t read or scroll for anything on the phone. Use that piece of tech for calls and quick and rare messages. Move browsing / reading / social media to a laptop (or to a tablet as a very minimum.) Use differentials and look at them at minimum arm’s length.

In my opinion you shouldn’t follow @Hoofjr’s practice. He and I debated over it several times and in my view he basically replicated progressive lenses with multiple pairs of single focus lenses and he juggles between god knows how many pairs of glasses. I know it is working for him. And we also discussed that he chose a very special vision target for himself. His goal is to get to reading glasses for close up and uncorrected at distance which is not the same as EM.
And where I think the “AF at every distance method” is lacking is that you learn to see sharp at different distances with different corrections. But it doesn’t mean that you will be able to see with one correction (that preferably being the uncorrected vision) at multiple distances that should be the ideal end state.

@Hoofjr, nothing personal, we agreed long time ago to disagree on this difference. :peace_symbol:

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I pay for my YouTube, so I turn the screen off while using it. And I get no ads

Its not a question of AF while using a phone. Its a different subject altogether.
I am trying to minimize screen time, period.

I want to be able to quantify my screen time, for phone and for desktop, so I could track it. I use phone/computer for work so I can’t completely eliminate it.

I find the built in iOS ScreenTime app not reliable at telling me pure screen time. Its used for more tracking which apps are used, and not active viewing on the phone. Everything else I looked it is more focused on parental controls rather than eyeball time

I bought and used the app “your hour”. It captured the time, when your screen is on and showed the spent time always on top. I think it is a very good app but anyway at some point I was ignoring it. The real solution is to not take the smartphone in your hands. Connect it to the computer and control it with a mirror-screen program like scrcpy. Then connect your computer to a TV. Now you are rid of all close up screens and don’t need breaks or tracking closeup time etc.

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There are so many videos now on the internet. Your phone won’t be able to tell you if you were actually looking at the screen or not while a video was playing. (Actually it could but that would be illegal…) If you go to the details as I described above you still may find surprising info about your habits. Like you think the overall number is a lot because of listening to YT, and you’ll find that there are other apps you use more often then you realise.