The Big Problem with Screen Time on macOS Catalina Right Now

The Big Problem with Screen Time on macOS Catalina Right Now

As you might know, one of the features coming with macOS Catalina is Screen Time. The feature was introduced with iOS 12 and aimed to help them curb their iPhone addiction by tracking their usage data and allowing them to block apps. The feature comes to Mac with macOS Catalina, however, there's a big problem that needs to be solved before the final stable release of macOS Catalina, if Apple wants this feature to be useful.

The Problem with Screen Time on macOS Catalina

On the iPhone, Screen Time only logs the time you actively spend on apps. For example, let's say you used iMessage for 30 minutes today. That usage will show up in Screen Time which is great.

The problem with Screen Time on macOS Catalina is that it is not only counting the active usage data but it also times the apps running in the background. Even if you close an app (close not quit), Screen Time is still counting it as being used which is absolutely absurd. That's what you can see in the screenshot below. It is counting all the apps that were open as being used regardless of the fact that I did not use them. That's why all the open apps are showing the same exact usage time.

Problem with Screen Time on macOS Catalina 1

If you want an app to not be tracked by Screen Time you have to actively quit it. As I said, in its current form, Screen Time on macOS Catalina is useless. That said, I am quite certain that this is just a bug. It is early days for macOS Catalina and we are still three months away from the release of the stable version. I am sure that Apple will resolve this problem before the final release.

If Not Screen Time Then What?

Well, if you are interested in time tracking, the best app that is currently available is Timing. It tracks your exact usage and it is quite comprehensive in its tracking. For example, not only it will tell you that you spent two hours on Safari but it will also let you know which websites you visited and for how long. This will help you exactly see if you were being productive while surfing the web or not. Timing packs several other power user features which are not available in Screen Time. You can get it for $39 from its official website or as a part of Setapp subscription for free.

Problem with Screen Time on macOS Catalina 2

Screen Time on Mac: Final Thoughts

Screen Time on Mac is a good idea. However, in its current form, it's not ready for users. Thankfully, this is only the second developer beta for macOS Catalina and Apple has plenty of time to fix this issue. That being said, even if Apple fixes it, I doubt that it can replace Timing app for me as it doesn't have the features to match the latter.That's how I feel about this. Do let me know your thoughts on the subject.