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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Looking to cut down on the amount of time you spend hanging out with your smartphone? If you have the right type of Android device with Android 9 Pie, you can now access the first official release of Google's Digital Wellbeing tool.

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Offering various options to help you disconnect from your phone, Digital Wellbeing had been in beta for the past few months, initially available only for Google's own Pixel lineup. In October, the app started expanding to a few select Android One phones, such as the Nokia 7 Plus and 6 Plus. Now, the app is out of beta with version 1.0 officially available for all Pixel and Android One devices, according to its Play Store page.

Many of us spend too much time using and playing with our smartphones -- reading email, texting people, watching videos, browsing the Web, checking Facebook. We know it, and the tech industry knows it. Apple, Google, Facebook, and Instagram have recently devised tools that can track how much time we spend on our phones and allow us to set limits.

Google's Digital Wellbeing serves up a few ways to monitor and restrict your smartphone use. The app automatically records how much time you spend with each app, how many notifications you receive, and how many times you unlock your phone. You can view all this information via the built-in dashboard and drill down to a specific app or set of notifications to see the amount of time on a daily or hourly basis.

To limit your use of a particular app, you can set a time limit of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or a custom length. When your time is up, you're given a countdown, and the app is off limits until the next day.

You can use the Wind Down feature to restrict any interruptions when you're getting ready for bed. Your screen dims and changes color temperature so as not to stimulate you. And the Do Not Disturb setting kicks in for the hours you're asleep.

You'll find the Digital Wellbeing app at Google Play where its page will tell you if any of your devices are supported. To learn more, check out Google's Pixel phone help page on Digital Wellbeing.

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Takeaways

  1. Google's Digital Wellbeing tool is now out of beta and officially available for all Pixel and Android One devices.
  2. To help you battle smartphone addiction, Digital Wellbeing shows you how much time you spend with each app and allow you to set time limits.

Also see

Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."