How To Use Screen Time Settings On macOS Catalina

The Screen Time feature was introduced by Apple in iOS 12, and it garnered many positive feedback as its ability to monitor your child’s screen time usage on your device has been very helpful to all parents. Now with the release of macOS Catalina last October 07, 2019, Apple has again decided to offer Screen Time feature to Mac users as having the same value and features as that with your iPhone. The new macOS Catalina is the latest version of Apple for its Mac Operating System. 

While having fun with the apps on your Mac at the same setting limits on a particular app or category of apps making you worry less about what might your kid can do while using your Mac. In macOS Catalina, you are able to restrict and track the usage of the apps by using Screen Time either for yourself, or as a parental control feature for your children as well. Basically, Screen Time on macOS lets you monitor how you are using your Mac, set limits of how much time you will allow yourself or your kid in spending each day using your Mac. Read on below to know how to use the different Screen time features on the Screen Time Settings on macOS Catalina. 

If you own an Apple macOS or iPhone or any other Apple products, we will be glad to assist you with any concerns that you may have with your device. Feel free to contact us using this form. This is a free service that we are offering. We asked however, that when you do contact us, please try to be as detailed as possible about your concern so that we can accurately assess your concern and able to give appropriate solutions


Before anything else, make sure you’ve already updated to macOS Catalina on your Mac Device. As always, macOS Catalina is free of charge. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, follow these simple steps:

1.Check if your Mac is compatible with the new macOS Catalina

To know if your Mac is compatible, refer to the lists below:

  • MacBook Pro (mid 2012 onward)
  • MacBook Air (mid 2012 onward)
  • 12-inch MacBook (early 2015 onward)
  • iMac Pro (2017 onward)
  • iMac (late 2012 onward)
  • Mac Mini (late 2012 onward)
  • Mac Pro (late 2013 onward)

2. Back up your Mac before update

It is highly recommended that before your update to the new macOS, make sure to back up your files either on an external drive or to your cloud storage device. This is to prevent from unexpected circumstances that might occur such as losing your files in case you’ll run into some problems during the update process. It is best to back up everything to be sure. 

3 .Open the Mac App Store

Open and launched the Apple Mac App store by clicking on the Apple Menu located at the top left corner of the screen, click on the App Store. Once the apps completely loads, then click on the Search bars and type “macOS Catalina”, then finally click on the entry for Catalina. 

4. Download the new macOS Catalina

The completeness and progress of the download will depend on your internet connectivity. This may actually take a while to complete the update but once it’s done, the macOS Catalina with automatically launch

5. Run the Installer

Finally, once the download is complete run the installer for macOS Catalina and follow the on-screen instructions. Once the macOS Catalina log in page appears, the update is now complete.


Enable Screen Time

Once you’ve already updated to new macOS Catalina, let us now proceed to enable Screen time. You may follow these steps to enable Screen Time on your Mac:

  1. Go to System Preferences from the Apple Icon located on the Screen
  2. Select Screen Time
  3. Opening Screen time for the very first time, you’ll receive a prompt of the summaries that Screen Time has to offer such as Downtime and App limits, Weekly reports, Content and Privacy Restrictions and Screen Time passcode that is optional. 
  4. Select Continue
  5. Turn ON to Enable Screen Time.

Set up Screen Time

Once Screen Time is already enabled, you will be able to go through each of the sections of interests according to your personal preferences as well as setting limits to the categories or apps for a particular family member of choice. 

Note: if you want to take a look at the report of your other Apple Devices, you may choose to Share with your other devices by placing a check mark on the first check box. You can always return to the screen anytime you want by clicking on Options from the settings of Screen time. To Set up Screen Time for yourself, select the user located at the top left with the name of the user. 


This is a feature to choose when you want to schedule your time away from the home screen of your Mac. 

  1. Go to Downtime from the Screen Time Settings.
  2. Toggle ON, located at the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Choose from the Schedule option on a weekly or daily basis and your preferred time for Downtime.

When Downtime is enabled, apps that you choose to allow and phone calls will only be the ones to be available. Check the Always Allowed option to choose your preferred apps for Downtime. You will receive a notification on your Mac 5 minutes before Downtime will begin. 

App Limits

This feature from the Screen Time Settings allows you to set time limits for a certain category of apps or for a specific app of your choice. These features are extremely helpful to those apps that you spend most of your time with. Social media apps such as Instagram or Facebook to name a few. 

  1. Go to App Limits from the Screen Time Settings.
  2. Click on the plus (+) sign to view the list of app categories.
  3. Choose which app you want to limit by placing a check mark on the check boxes beside the app name. You can either check the entire category or expand a certain category to view the list of app from the category and from there you can choose which app to limit. 
  4. Choose the Time Limit for the chosen apps for the feature. You can choose Time Limit on a daily basis or customized a Time Limit that can change daily. 
  5. Click on Done to apply changes.

Always Allowed

Another feature from the Screen Time Settings is, Always Allowed. As mentioned from the Downtime section, this feature, Always Allowed allows you to choose which apps you can always use when using the Downtime feature. It basically means that if Downtime will begin, apps that you choose to Always Allow will not apply. Which means, phone calls and always allowed apps will be available during Downtime.

Content & Privacy

Another section from the Screen Time Settings is the Content & Privacy feature. This is perhaps the most useful in terms of Parental control for your kids. In this feature you can choose to restrict usage of your Mac’s contents, purchases (preventing the unauthorized deletion of purchased app), downloads (Limit or restrict download of apps), and privacy settings. To use this feature:

  1. Go to Content & Privacy from the Screen Time Settings
  2. Click on the Turn ON Button.
  3. Choose specific contents and other privacy related settings from the Content, Stores, Apps and other settings. 
  4. On the Content tab, under the Web Content options, you can also customize the options other than Unrestricted Access. This will allow you to limit or restrict a specific websites especially those that are not age appropriate websites not suitable for your child. 

Another feature from the Screen Time is to be able to view its reports. Viewing can be done according to an app category, web content on websites, Apple Devices and time frame. Being able to view each app usage and time of pick ups is very helpful not only for your child but to you as well so that you’ll have an idea if you’ve been using too much of your device or not to be able to make necessary adjustments on your time schedule based on these reports.

The Screen Time feature on macOS Catalina is a very useful app and super handy in monitoring your child’s activity on your device as well as controlling inappropriate content as well as limiting oneself if there’s a need to do so. 

Connect with us

If you have any questions & concerns regarding your macOS , feel free to connect with us using this form. We will be of help and will provide you with a free technical support. Just make sure to provide us with the details as possible for us to make an accurate assessment and provide you appropriate intervention. Also, do let us know your experience along the way. I look forward to hearing from you.