YouTube introduces ‘take a break’ notifications for your digital well-being

When Android P is released this summer, it will bring with it a new Dashboard designed to clearly show the amount of time we’re spending on our phones. You’ll see a breakdown that includes the number of times you’ve unlocked your device, a tally of notifications, and details on how much time you’re spending in individual apps. This all stems from Google’s focus on digital well-being that the company announced at I/O 2018 this week. But YouTube isn’t waiting for Android P to introduce some helpful features. Just as Sundar Pichai promised, and after some very turbulent months, YouTube is kicking off Google’s charge into balancing tech and life.

The company has rolled out new, optional “take a break” notifications that will display a prompt when you’ve exceeded a specific amount of consecutive viewing time. To access them, tap your user photo at the top right of the mobile app, go to Settings, and then choose General. Right at the top is the new “Remind me to take a break” option.

Your choices are:

  • Never
  • Every 15 minutes
  • Every 30 minutes
  • Every 60 minutes
  • Every 90 minutes
  • Every 180 minutes

I can’t say that I’ve often powered through three straight hours of YouTube, but if it’s a platform that you find taking up a good chunk of your day — maybe too much at times — now you can set these gentle reminders to focus on other things. They won’t close the app or stop you from watching anything; it’s up to you to act on or disregard them.

YouTube also added a new setting for a “scheduled digest” that combines all of the individual notifications you’d normally get from the app (new videos from your favorite creators, etc.) into a single list that’s delivered at a time of day of your choosing.

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