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Why Don’t Screen Time Grey Bars Add Up?

In this guide, you’ll learn why your Screen Time grey bars don’t add up as expected.

What is Screen Time?

Screen Time enables you to monitor your device usage and set limits on specific apps, helping you achieve better self-control and providing parental controls for families. To set up Screen Time:

  • Go to Settings > Screen Time.
  • Toggle on Downtime to schedule time away from your device.
  • To set limits on certain apps, navigate to App Limits > Add Limit > Select an app category > Customize days.

Why Do Screen Time Grey Bars Add Up?

When you tally the non-grey bars in your Screen Time report, you’ll find they match your actual usage. Including the grey bars will inflate the total time because they represent rarely used category apps, which Apple excludes from the total.

In Screen Time, you receive a daily report detailing your device usage, organized by categories. For instance, you may have spent 1 hour and 12 minutes on social networks, 26 minutes on Entertainment, and 4 minutes on Other.

Grey bars at the top of the chart represent categories with minimal usage on your iOS device. These categories are not shown individually in the report because of their infrequent usage. Instead, they are grouped in the grey bar.

The coloured sections (blue, turquoise, and orange) represent your top three most-used categories, while the grey bar encompasses less frequently used ones. Including separate colours for each category would clutter the report and provide insignificant data, hence why they are all represented by the grey bar.

To understand the meaning of grey bars, tap Show Categories. You’ll see a list of your most-used categories, such as Social Networking, Entertainment, and Others. Beneath Others, find smaller categories not shown in the report, like Productivity, Reading & References, and Creativity.

To view the apps within grey bars instead of categories, tap on each category under Others. For instance, within Productivity, you may find email and banking apps contributing to the grey bar in your Screen Time report.

Your Screen Time report may vary, but it categorizes usage into 9 main categories.

  • Social Networking
  • Games
  • Entertainment
  • Creativity
  • Productivity
  • Education
  • Reading & Reference
  • Health & Fitness
  • Others

Categories not in your top 3 most used will appear as grey bars. For instance, if you rarely use apps in the Reading & Reference category, it will be part of the grey bars. If a category moves into your top 3, it transitions to a coloured bar: orange for the third, turquoise for the second, and blue for the most used category.

Exploring Grey Bar Categories

If you tap on Show categories below the grey bars, you’ll see your most-used categories. Categories ranked below the third one will be included in the grey bar. You can view the apps responsible for your screen time within these categories.

To move an app out of the grey category and into a main category, use the app more frequently than your top 3 most-used categories. This will transition it from the grey bar to a coloured one.

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