How do I set a device time limit via Downtime on my iPhone®?

Apple provides free parental controls, called Screen Time, for iPhone® and iPad®. Screen Time has many features: Communication Limits, Downtime, Always Allowed, and more! With Downtime, you can “Set a schedule for time away from the screen. During downtime, only apps that you choose to allow and phone calls will be available.” 

Before You Begin


How to Set Up Downtime

Enable Screen Time

Enable Screen Time to turn on the device’s free parental controls:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone® or iPad®.
  2. Select “Screen Time.”
  3. Tap on “Turn on Screen Time” to enable Screen Time.
  4. Tap the “Continue” button to confirm you’d like to set up Screen Time.
  5. On the next page, tap “This is My iPhone.”
  6. Screen Time is now enabled on your device. Read on to create a Screen Time Passcode!

Create a Screen Time Passcode

Set a Screen Time Passcode to protect Screen Time and Downtime from being turned off:

  1. From the Screen Time page, select “Use Screen Time Passcode.”
  2. Enter in a 4-digit passcode (the Covenant Eyes member should not know this code). You will be asked to re-enter the code for verification.
  3. In March 2020, Apple released a new feature for iOS 13 and above called Screen Time Passcode Recovery. This feature allows you to reset the Screen Time Passcode via an Apple ID.
    SUGGESTION 1: The ally can enter in his/her own Apple ID. The passcode can then be reset using the ally’s Apple ID. Allies can create a free Apple ID on Apple’s website, even if they don’t have an Apple device.
    SUGGESTION 2: The ally can change the member’s Apple ID password before setting up the Screen Time Passcode. This way the struggling member will be less able to “recover the passcode” and access the Screen Time settings.
  4. If you selected “Cancel,” you’ll be asked to confirm that choice.
  5. “Use Screen Time Passcode” should now say “Change Screen Time Passcode,” which means you have successfully created a Screen Time Passcode! Read on to enable Downtime.

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Set up Downtime

Set up Downtime to control when you want time away from the screen:

  1. From the Screen Time page, tap “Downtime.”
  2. At the top of the page, turn the switch for Downtime on (green).
  3. To set the same time schedule away from the screen for every day, tap “Every Day.” If you’d like to customize the time away from the screen per day, tap “Customize Days.” Read on to select the apps you want available during Downtime.

Set up Always Allowed

Choose what apps you want access to when Downtime is enabled:

  1. From the Screen Time page, select “Always Allowed.”
  2. On the Always Allowed page, tap the (+) button next to the app(s) you want access to when Downtime is enabled. The apps you selected will then move up to the ALLOWED APPS list. If you want the ability to surf the web when Downtime is on, tap the (+) button next to Covenant Eyes.

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