Today is the big day to launch Android 10 on Google Pixel phones, and one of Google’s ongoing goals has been its Digital Wellbeing initiative. With Android 10, Digital Wellbeing acquires two new features, Focus Mode, which prevents you from using annoying apps, and Site Timers, which allow you to control how long certain sites are used, as you can with applications. Here’s how you can use these features to better balance your life.
Digital wellness beta
Whether you want to be less distracted when trying to work or just want to better manage your time spent browsing Reddit, you’ll need to sign up for the Digital Wellbeing beta to take advantage of the latest features. You can sign up for Digital Wellbeing Beta Updates in one of two ways: either by register from the web or Digital Wellbeing’s announcement on the Play Store.
The most useful addition for Digital Wellbeing in Android 10 is Focus Mode, which lets you select apps on your phone that you find distracting. Then whenever you need to Actually To work, you can quickly switch your phone to Focus mode to temporarily disable these apps. Granted, this is not the strongest method of prevention, but it is a good tool to help exercise self-control.
To configure Digital Wellbeing’s Focus mode in Android 10, open Digital Wellbeing from the Settings app or its dedicated icon, if you’ve chosen to add it to the drawer. From there, you’ll see “Focus Mode” as a new option. Tap it to bring up a list of all the apps you have installed on your phone, sorted roughly according to your usage. From this page, you can select which apps to disable in Focus mode, and even enable or disable Focus mode.
However, having to go to this page to turn Focus mode on or off is a bit tricky. To help you out, Google has added a tile for Focus mode that you can add to your quick settings menu. Swipe down on your notification bar, then swipe down again to show the full view of quick settings. From there, tap the pencil icon to change your quick settings.
Scroll down until you find the new focus mode toggle, then hold and drag the icon to where you want it to be placed. Press the back button to lock in the changes. Now you will have Digital Wellbeing’s Focus Mode ready to be turned on or off with a simple swipe and tap from almost anywhere on your phone.
Another digital wellness feature exclusive to Android 10 is the Site Timer for Google Chrome. To take advantage of Digital Wellbeing’s new ability to measure your web browsing and set site timers accordingly, you will need more than the beta version of Digital Wellbeing. The feature requires Google Chrome version 78, which means you will need to install Chrome Developer from the Play Store.
Once you’ve installed Chrome Dev and set it as your default browser, which is handy, but not required, navigate to “chrome: // flags” using your address bar. From this page search for Wellness and you will see the flag below. Set it to enabled and restart Chrome.
Once done, you can now go back to the Digital Wellbeing app and open your app usage dashboard. Under Chrome Dev, you will see a new button titled “View the sites you visit”. Tap on it and a new dialog will appear asking for your permission to share your browsing data with Google for use by Digital Wellbeing.
Important note: your browsing in private browsing mode is never shared with Google or digital well-being.
Now, when you see Chrome Dev in your Digital Wellbeing app, you will see more specific information about the time you spend browsing different websites. From this same view, you will be able to set timers for Digital Wellbeing to prevent you from abusing certain addicting sites.
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