Android apps and games tend to eat up a lot of time -- particularly for those who can’t help themselves but keep using them. Thankfully, Google has released a new tool that can help Android users take control of their smartphone usage: a new feature called “Focus Mode.”

The aptly-named Focus Mode is a new feature that helps Android smartphone users focus on what they’re supposed to do by prohibiting them from using certain apps for a set amount of time. The apps will then become accessible once the time is up.

This new feature is seen to help users focus on whatever they need to be focusing on: work (for workers), school (for students), errands, and pretty much anything including dinner time with family or working on hobbies.

Pixel 2 Google's new "Focus Mode" tool is seen to help people avoid distractions. Photo: Reuters/Stephen Lam

Distractions away

Focus Mode is part of the “Digital Wellbeing” app Google is releasing with Android Q, now officially named Android 10. The new app allows Android users to keep track of their smartphone or tablet usage; set timers for when to prohibit them from using certain distracting apps like Facebook, Instagram, and more; as well as to enable certain modes that can help them focus on their tasks.

The feature, along with the Digital Wellbeing app, is already available on the Android 10 beta. Here’s how to use it:

  • Users will have to enroll their devices in the Digital Wellbeing beta program first.
  • Next, after enrolling in the program, users will have to download the latest Digital Wellbeing beta version from the Google Play Store. The app should be visible after installation.
  • If the app isn’t visible from the app launcher window, it can be made visible by opening Settings, pressing on Digital Wellbeing, and then turning “Show Icon In App List” on.
  • Launch the app once it becomes visible, then look for Focus Mode under the “Ways to Disconnect” section. Tapping on Focus Mode reveals a list of installed apps.
  • The list displays apps arranged according to the number of minutes they are used. The most-used apps will be displayed on top, while the least used apps will be found at the bottom of the list. Some apps might not be displayed; tap on “Show all apps” to reveal them.
  • Users will need to tap on the box to the right of the app they want disabled, then tap on “Turn on now” to disable them. All paused apps are grayed out, and users won’t be able to use them until Focus Mode is turned off.

Lifehacker noted that since the feature is in beta, users might experience a slight delay in some instances. Still it’s worth using the feature as Google believes it will help stop people from “overusing” apps more than 90% of the time, CNet reported.