How to Spend Less Time on YouTube

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Featured

YouTube addiction has become a very serious issue as more and more users struggle to control their viewing habits. If you, too, are finding it hard to put YouTube away and focus on something else even for a short while, find out how you can break the cycle of neverending video-watching and spend less time on YouTube.

What Is Digital Wellbeing and Why It’s Useful?

Google introduced the concept of Digital Wellbeing back at its Google I/O developer conference in 2018 in a bid to help users better balance their digital and real worlds. In recent years, numerous studies have shown a correlation between excessive smartphone use and mental health issues in teens, such as depression.

Through the initiative, Google acknowledged the perils of digital addiction and put forward a set of solutions designed to tackle mobile phone overuse. Now part of Android, these include options such as a Dashboard, that shows users an overview of their digital activity, a more evolved “Do Not Disturb” mode and a Focus mode.

YouTube’s “Take A Break” feature is also part of this program and is available in the newer version of the app. You’ll need version 13.18.xx or higher in order to take advantage of it.

How to Turn on “Take a Break” on Android

With its recommended videos and autoplay feature on by default, YouTube is actually designed to foster addiction. The “Take a Break” feature attempts to break this constant stream of videos by bringing up gentle reminders at specified time intervals. The following steps will allow you to turn on the feature on your Android device.

1. Open the YouTube app on your phone.

2. Tap on the account icon on the upper-right corner.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Account

3. Find the Settings option and tap on it.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Settings1

4. Tap on General.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use General

5. Turn on the “Remind me to take a break” toggle.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Turn On Feature

6. Set the reminder frequency for the amount of time you desire.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Set Frequency

7. Tap OK and you’ll be all set.

Now you can go back to watching your videos. Once the specified time has elapsed, a friendly monkey will pop up on screen reminding you to take a break.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Reminder Allert

You can either simply “Dismiss” the reminder or go back to Settings and give yourself more time to watch videos.

How to Turn on “Take a Break” on iOS

1. Open the YouTube app on your iOS device.

2. Tap on your account icon located in the upper-right corner of the app.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Ios Account

3. Tap on Settings.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Ios Settings

4. Find the “Remind me to take a break” option and toggle it on.

5. Set the desired time for the break alert.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Set Frequency On Ios

6. Press OK.

How to Turn on “Remind Me When It’s Bedtime” on Your Phone

If you’re worried your constant YouTube watching will get in the way of you getting a good night sleep, then perhaps you should also activate the “Remind me when it’s bedtime” feature. Google started rolling out this option mid-2020.

To do so, follow the same instructions we’ve detailed above for both Android and iOS. Under General, you should find the “Remind me when its bedtime” option right below “Remind me to take a break.” Toggle it on and set your desired sleep interval.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Bedtime Reminder

There’s also the option to untick the “Wait until I finish video to show reminder,” but we recommend against it. In our experience, we couldn’t get the bedtime reminder to work while this particular option was off.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Set Bedtime Hours

When your bedtime reminder eventually shows up on screen, users will be able to opt to either Snooze (for 10 minutes) or dismiss it if they don’t feel ready to go to bed yet.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Time For Bed Allert

Note: an alternative method for accessing both features is to go to “Settings -> Time watched.” Scroll down to view them.

How To Cut Back Youtube Use Alternative Access1

If you feel like you need even more coercing to go to sleep, you can go ahead and turn on Bedtime mode from your Digital Wellbeing settings on your device. You can learn how to do it by reading our dedicated article on the matter.

Once you’re ready to go back to watching YouTube following your break, it may prove useful for you to know how to cast YouTube from your phone to your PC or how to play videos in VLC.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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