- Moment is tracking my screen time, but the numbers seem inaccurate. What can I do to make sure my screen time tracking is super accurate?
Sometimes Moment isn’t perfect at detecting your screen time, especially in the first few days of using it.
If you want Moment to be super accurate (and save a ton of battery), the best thing to do would be to set up a passcode or Touch ID to unlock your device. You can do that from your Settings app > Touch ID & Passcode. That will make Moment 100% accurate in tracking all of the time your phone is unlocked, and skip the entire calibration process Moment goes through at the beginning of using the app.
If you have a passcode or Touch ID set up and Moment still doesn’t seem correct, check out your Settings app > Touch ID & Passcode, and look at the Require Passcode setting. If that’s anything other than Immediately, your phone remains unlocked even after you turn the screen off with the power button. Moment counts all of the time your phone is unlocked, so it adds 5 (or so) minutes onto every time you unlock your phone. That setting needs to be set to Immediately in order for Moment to track your screen time accurately.
- Moment is counting screen time in the middle of the night while I’m sleeping. What’s going on?
Moment tracks all of the time your phone is unlocked. There are a few sleep tracking and alarm clock apps that trick your phone into staying unlocked. The most popular example is Sleep Cycle.
There’s a couple things you can do to use Moment with Sleep Cycle:
Set up your Track Only Certain Hours to have Moment ignore certain hours of the day. In your case, it might be something like telling Moment to track only between 7 AM and 11 PM, essentially ignoring your Sleep Cycle app while you’re using it. This feature is part of Moment Premium.
You can simply lock your phone after you start up Sleep Cycle. The app will work just fine with your phone locked, and Moment won’t count any of that time. This is what I do every night.
Right now, there is no way to delete that incorrect tracking of your screen time overnight.
- What do all of the colors mean?
A yellow circle with a phone in it means a medium length “session” on your phone. A short one will be green, but a yellow one means you spent 10% or more of your daily limit in one sitting (18 minutes if your daily limit is set to three hours). A red one is an even longer session, so keep an eye out for those. The time you see on the left is when you started using your phone, and the minute count on the right is how long you used it for.
The tiny gray circles mark a time that you picked up your phone and didn’t spend much time on it.
- What is a pickup?
A pickup is each separate time you turn on your phone screen. If you pull your phone out of your pocket, respond to a text, then put it back, that counts as “1 pickup” inside Moment. If you spend 2 hours watching a movie without putting your phone down, that also counts as “1 pickup.”
- I use my GPS app while I’m driving and I don’t want that to count. How do I make that happen?
The best — and safest — solution is to use Maps, Waze, or Google Maps with the voiceover navigation while your phone is locked, which is what I do.
- Start up your directions before you start driving.
- Press the power button to lock your phone.
- Put your phone upside down in the cupholder with the screen facing away from you.
- Listen to the voice directions from Siri.
Moment won’t log any of that time and your eyes will remain safely on the road.
Also, if you really want to stop yourself or your kids from using the phone while driving, check out my other app Focus.
- Is the Moment Premium in-app purchase a subscription or a one-time fee?
A one-time fee to unlock Moment Premium forever. One charge, that’s it.
I’m considering making this a yearly subscription, but for right now, it is a one-time purchase. If you buy Moment Premium now, you’ll have them forever, no matter what I do in the future.
- How much cellular data does Moment use?
Moment shouldn’t use much data at all, almost none. In my testing, it uses at the very most 10 MB per month, about the same as visiting four websites.
You can check how much Moment has used in your Settings app > Cellular > Moment. You can even turn off Moment’s access to your cellular data there and Moment will still track your screen time.
If you’re using Moment Family to sync your screen time, Moment will use slightly more cellular data, but still not anything to write home about.
- How do I change my email address for my Moment account?
Right now, there is no way to change your email address.
The best thing to do is to sign out of your current Moment account and create a brand new Moment account with your correct email address.
- I used to be able to set a daily limit on myself, but those settings disappeared. How do I get them back?
In version 2.2, I made the daily limit settings part of Moment Premium. If you downloaded Moment before version 2.2, you should be unaffected and you will have access to those daily limit settings. I would never take away features that you already had.
In a small number of cases, Moment doesn’t correctly unlock those features for people that should have them. Shoot me an email at email@example.com and I’ll sort it out. I’m sorry about that bug.
Tracking Screen Time
- Does it count when I’m listening to music, on a phone call, or using FaceTime?
Moment only counts your “screen time.” If your screen is off, Moment will not count listening to music or talking on a phone call.
The one exception to this is FaceTime. Your screen is on, but FaceTime calls will not be counted as screen time.
- Does Moment have to be in the background to track my screen time?
Short answer: Yes. Moment must be running in the background to track when you’re using your phone. It does not have to be open and active. You can press the home button and leave Moment in the background, but you cannot completely force quit the app (swiping up from the multitasking menu).
- Moment seems to be draining my battery. How can I fix this?
Because Moment is constantly running in the background to track your screen time, I’ve created a page especially for making Moment as battery efficient as possible. Currently, on my iPhone 7 Plus, Moment uses about 5% of my overall battery to track my screen time all day. I barely notice it.
- Does Moment work if my phone is in Airplane Mode?
As of Version 3.3 released on July 12th, 2017, Moment will work seemlessly entering and exiting Airplane Mode.
- How does Moment force me off my phone when I’m over my daily limit?
Moment uses repeated notifications when you’re over your limit. These notifications block your screen and remind you to put your phone down until tomorrow. In order to actually use your phone, you’ll have to close an alert every few seconds. You will still be able to receive phone calls even if you’re over your daily limit.
- How do I disable the “force me off over my limit” feature in case of an emergency?
You actually don’t need to disable the Force Me Off feature to make an emergency call. Moment will not prevent you from dialing 911.
Tap your home button to show your lock screen.
Swipe to the right.
Tap Emergency in the bottom left.
Make your emergency call from there. Stay safe.
- Moment isn’t sending me any Tiny Reminders or telling me when I go over my daily limit. Why does the Screen-Free Time only work when I’m inside the app?
It sounds like the Moment app doesn’t have permission to send you any notifications. That’s how most of these features in Moment Premium work.
Check the Settings app > Notifications > Moment to make sure Allow Notifications is turned on.
- Why does Moment keep telling me that “Tracking has quit”?
Moment’s tracking can pause for one of three reasons:
You force quit Moment. Moment needs to be running in the background to track your screen time. If you swipe up Moment from the multitasking menu to force quit it, your automatic phone usage tracking will immediately stop. Moment will resume tracking when you move to a new place.
Location services are turned off. Go into your phone’s Settings app > Privacy > Location Services. Make sure the switch at the top is turned on. Also, find the Moment app listed below and make sure that switch is on.
You’re in airplane mode. Moment needs to have access to your phone’s GPS chip in order to continually track your screen time, which it cannot do in airplane mode. Once you turn off airplane mode, open Moment again to resume tracking.
Tracking App Use
- Why is Moment asking me to take screenshots in the morning?
That is the App Use Detection feature. A daily or weekly screenshot of the Battery settings screen is how Moment logs what apps you use the most.
For all of the details on this feature, go to the App Use Detection section of the settings inside Moment. Under How It Works, you’ll find a video demostration explaining everything.
- What if there is no app usage info on the Battery screen inside the Settings app?
Occasionally, iOS resets that Battery settings screen with a message that says “Battery information will be available after using iPhone for a few minutes.” Unfortunately, this is outside of Moment’s control, but isn’t a big deal in the long run.
When this happens, take a screenshot anyway. Moment will handle it properly and stop reminding you to take a screenshot that day. Your Battery settings screen and app tracking will be back in order tomorrow.
- What if there is no “Last 7 Days” button on the Battery settings screen? Just “Last 24 Hours.”
Sometimes, the Settings apps resets and takes a few days to get back on track. When you’re not seeing any “Last 7 Days” button, tap on the second button if there is one and take your screenshot. It might say something like “Last 2 Days.”
Moment will handle any screenshot you throw at it. After a few days, this week’s information will start filling back in and you’ll be completely back on track with your app tracking next week.
- My app usage numbers seem off. Why don’t my app usage numbers add up to my total for the day?
There are three reasons why your app usage numbers might be inaccurate:
You’re taking your Battery screenshot at different times each day. The biggest thing you can do to make it more accurate is take your Battery screenshot at the same time every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s 12:01 AM or 9 AM, the more consistent you are, the better.
Charging your phone. The data displayed on the Battery screen only reflects apps you’ve used that have used your battery power. If you’re using your phone while it’s charging, those apps you use won’t be using battery power and therefore won’t be displayed on that Battery screen. Moment won’t be able to log that app use.
Incorrect timeframe for your screenshot. If you’re seeing app usage that isn’t even close to your screen time for the day, double check your Schedule setting under Moment's settings > App Use Detection. If Moment can’t be absolutely sure of the timeframe from your screenshot, it uses this setting as a default. This can be a problem if you have your screenshots scheduled to be taken every week, but take a “Last 24 Hours” screenshot instead. Make sure your Schedule setting matches up with the “Last 24 Hours/Last 7 Days” button on the Battery screen inside the Settings app, near the clock icon you tap as part of your screenshot.
In general, the app usage tracking is imperfect, but it’s the best solution we’ve got. Trust the daily screen time total you see in Moment because that is accurate down to the second. The app usage numbers might be off by a few minutes, but they will paint an overall picture of what apps you used the most.
- What is the difference between taking a Battery screenshot every day and every week?
Accuracy. A daily Battery screenshot will better log your app usage on a day-to-day basis. This is great for tracking shorter-term trends in your app usage. A weekly Battery screenshot will be slightly less accurate, but will still show you trends over the long run.
Weekly screenshots are the default because it saves you time. Logging your app usage takes 15 seconds a week, not 15 seconds every single day. Every bit counts when you’re trying to cut down on your screen time.
- How does Moment automatically detect my Battery screenshots?
When you take a screenshot, Moment automatically checks your Photos library for a new Battery screenshot. Moment then runs a local process to make doubly sure that the new screenshot is a proper Battery screenshot. If it isn’t a Battery screenshot, Moment stops there.
If that new screenshot is a Battery screenshot, Moment securely uploads it to its servers. Once processed, your phone will receive a push notification letting you know your app use data is ready.
If, for some reason, a non-Battery screenshot is uploaded, it is immediately deleted from the servers.
- I’m trying to exclude an app, but I can’t search for the app by name? There are no results.
I’m guessing you just turned on the App Use Detection feature or just downloaded the app. You’re only able to exclude apps that Moment has logged some time for.
Once you take your first Battery screenshot, you’ll be able to exclude apps from counting. After Moment processes that first screenshot, go back to the settings > App Use Detection > Exclude Certain Apps and tap the + icon. Those apps from the screenshot you just took will be there, waiting to be excluded.
- Can I delete the Battery screenshots from my Photos app after they’ve been processed by Moment?
Yes. Moment makes this easy to do in bulk. Go into the settings > App Use Detection and tap Delete Old Battery Screenshots to permanently delete every successfully processed Battery screenshot from your Photos library.
Side note: Moment would automatically do this if it was technically possible. Apple does not allow third-party apps to delete any photo in your library, and rightfully so.
- What is the Home & Lock Screen app?
This is a system “app” that represents the time you’ve spent on your lock screen checking notifications and on your homescreen swiping around in between closing an app and opening another one.
Think of this as your “in between apps” time.
- Why doesn’t Moment track my app usage automatically, like some other apps?
For security reasons on iOS, there is no way for Moment to detect what other app you’re using in real time. Apple doesn’t want the Twitter app to know that you’re actively using Facebook because Twitter might try to intervene. Apple doesn’t even want a third-party app, like Moment, to see which other apps you have installed.
This is all done with your privacy in mind.
My solution works by parsing a screenshot you take of the Battery screen inside the Settings app. This Battery screen is provided by Apple and displays the individual app usage Moment uses to log what apps you’re using. Within a few minutes, that screenshot is parsed and Moment displays your app usage inside each day’s timeline. Overall, this should take you about 15 seconds per week.
It’s not quite automatic like the rest of Moment, but it’s close. I’ve tried everything else I could, and believe me, there’s no other way to do it without compromising your privacy.
There is one other solution that competitor apps use: VPNs. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and this approach estimates your app usage automatically. I briefly considered this approach, but didn’t use it for one big reason: Your privacy.
When you use these competitor apps and install their VPN certificate, you agree to route every single web request from your phone through their servers. That means every webpage you visit goes through their servers. Every song you listen to. Every app download. Every email you view. Every email you send. Every text. Every bank password.
You can see the huge privacy issue here. In order to track what apps you’re using, a VPN-based app has to monitor and store every single web request you make in a central database that they control.
They don’t just see “you’re using Facebook.” They see “you just searched for Jessica Smith on Facebook and viewed 14 of her photos.” That is way too much information for any one company to have and I’ve completely avoided this approach with Moment’s Battery screenshot approach. Moment does not use VPNs at all.
As if that isn’t bad enough, it turns out that spying on your web traffic isn’t even a good indicator of what apps you actively use. You could be browsing your Facebook newsfeed, but your email app is fetching email in the background. A VPN-based app will see this as you using the Mail and Facebook apps at the same time, but that isn’t the case.
Oh, and routing every single web request through another server tremendously slows down your internet connection.
- I skipped establishing a baseline when I installed Moment. Can I still do it?
Yes. Establishing a baseline is basically using the App Use Detection feature to take a Battery screenshot covering the week before you installed Moment.
As long as you’re in the first week of using Moment, turn on the App Use Detection feature in the Settings and follow the instructions to take your first Battery screenshot. After Moment processes that, your baseline will be established.
- How do I start my Moment family?
The first step is to subscribe to the family features. Open Moment and tap the family icon. Pick 3 or 12 months, then buy the In-App Purchase.
Sign up with your email and choose a password to set up your Moment account.
After that, you can Add a family member and invite them via email. Once that happens, your family members can download Moment and join your family for free from that same family icon you originally tapped on.
- How do I prevent my kids from disabling Moment?
Because of the way iOS works and the limited power Apple gives third-party apps, there will always be a way to disable Moment in some way, especially for tech-literate kids with an iPhone. In most cases, Moment will automatically restart itself and you, as a parent, have the ability to start up your kid’s Moment app from your phone.
If the app stops tracking for any reason, you’ll know immediately by looking at their timeline for the day:
Moment does its best to automatically restart itself, even after it’s been force quit. Usually this happens within a few minutes, but occasionally takes longer.
Before they use Moment Family, I’ve had a lot of parents write in with concerns about their kids disabling Moment, but in practice, it isn’t a very big deal. At the most, one conversation about to “leave Moment running or else you don’t get to use your phone that I pay for” seems to solve it for parents I’ve talked to.
- How do I invite my kids if they don’t have their own email address?
The best thing to do is register a free email account for them at Gmail. They don’t actually have to use the email account actively. The email address for each kid will be used in case they forget their Moment account password.
Also, if you already have a Gmail account, you can use an Alias for your own email. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A family member has more than one iOS device. How do I add another device to a person in my family?
This one’s easy. Just sign the person into their existing Moment account on their new device:
Install and set up Moment on the new device.
Tap on the Settings at the bottom.
Tap on My Account > Sign In.
Sign into the person’s existing Moment account with their email address and password.
After a few seconds, their new device will be added to their Moment account and your family.
- Why does Moment need to track the places I go to automatically track my screen time?
Currently, iOS doesn’t have an easy way for an app to determine if you’re using your phone or not. That’s why there is no app (other than Moment) that does it well.
To automatically track your screen time, Moment must be running in the background. Apple only allows apps to run consistently in the background in very specific use cases. Tracking the places you go is one of those, which allows Moment to run in the background.
If you’re concerned about privacy, know that I am too. Location data is stored on your physical phone in a secure place that other apps cannot touch. Moment never sends that location data over the internet and I personally never see that data, by design. Your location data is your private data and I have no desire to collect it or sell it to anybody.
If you’re concerned about Moment killing your battery, the GPS tracking doesn’t affect your battery much. I’ve worked really hard to minimize that impact. That feature uses about 0.25% of your battery per day, slightly more if you’re moving around a lot.
I put together a battery tips page with instructions on how to check how much battery Moment is using for you, and tips to improve it.
- Where is my data stored and sent? Can I completely destroy my data?
- Any other legal pages I should know about?
Read through our Terms of Service, if you’re curious.
- Can I export my data?
Yes. Open Moment and go into the settings. Scroll to the bottom to Advanced and you’ll see an option to Export Data. You can use this to email your data to yourself in two formats: a human readable version and a raw JSON version.
- Does Moment have an API or automatic export?
No. There is no public API for Moment or any kind of way to automate the export of your Moment data.
- Need more help or your question isn’t answer here?
If you still have questions or something still isn’t working for you, it would be great if you submitted your feedback to me. I’ll work to update this page to answer your most common questions.