How to Check What Apps You Use on the iPad

Use Screen Time to see which apps you use the most

A mother plays with an iPad with her kids.
Getty Images/Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

With as many apps as you might have on your iPad, it's hard to keep track of which ones you're using. It's a good idea to check, though, especially so you can find out which ones may be safe to delete to free up some precious storage on your iPad. Parents might also want to keep an eye on what their kids are doing.

Apple has provided iOS users an easy solution that will both tell them where their time is going and keep screen use under control. It's called Screen Time.

These instructions apply to iPads running iOS 12 and later.

How to See Which Apps You've Been Using on iPad

  1. The iPad Settings app
  2. Tap Screen Time.

    Screen Time on iPad
  3. A bar chart will appear with a breakdown by category of which apps you've used today and for how long. Tap the name of your iPad for a complete analysis on the next screen.

  4. On the next screen, you can get statistics for both the current day and the past seven days by tapping the buttons at the top of the screen.

    Screen Time on iPad
  5. Scrolling down will show you the exact times each of your most used apps were open, how many times you've picked up your iPad, and which apps are sending you the most notifications. You can use all of this data to decide if something is hogging all the time, or if other users are spending too much of the day on one thing (for example, playing games).

How to Limit App Use on the iPad

Screen Time doesn't just give you information. It also gives you control. Other than the readouts of which apps have seen the most use, you can also put time limits on certain ones or block some altogether.

How to Turn on Downtime

  1. From the main Screen Time page, tap Downtime.

    Downtime on iPad
  2. Tap the slider On/green.

    Downtime on iPad
  3. Once Downtime is on, you can tap Every Day to keep a standard schedule, or you can do different down times for each day by tapping Customize Days. Tap the menus below these options to set the time ranges you want to limit app usage.

    Downtime on iPad
  4. When Downtime is active, the icons of affected apps will show up darker on the Home screen, and their names will have hourglass icons next to them.

    Downtime active on iPad
  5. When you try to open an app that is in Downtime, a message will appear, giving you the option to ignore the daily limit or get a reminder in 15 minutes.

How to Set App Limits

If Downtime isn't specific enough, you also have the option to set time limits for entire categories of apps, like games, social media, or streaming services. Here's how to do that.

  1. On the main Screen Time screen, tap App Limits.

    App Limits on iPad
  2. Tap Add Limit.

    Add an app limit on iPad
  3. Choose the category or categories you want to restrict and tap Next.

    Choosing apps to limit in Screen Time
  4. Set the maximum time per day you want apps to be available. Tap Customize Days to set different limits for each day of the week (for example, to limit your kids' game time on school nights).

    Setting daily limits on apps on an iPad
  5. Tap Add to finalize the timer.

    Tap Add to finalize app limits
  6. App Limits will affect every app of a specified type. That is, all games or entertainment apps will have the same restrictions. This option lets you put limits on several apps at once while leaving others alone.