How to monitor time spent on Facebook

Social media apps have become something of an addiction. Excessive use of social media isn’t good and if you own an iOS device you can limit it with Screen time. That said, not everyone uses an iPhone which is why it helps if social media apps have a way to limit how much time you spend on them. Instagram recently added a feature that can track and limit your Instagram Activity. Facebook has followed suit and you can monitor time spent on Facebook via its mobile apps.

Time spent on Facebook

This is a fairly recent feature that was added to the Facebook apps but it should be available to all users by now. It doesn’t seem to have been added to the web version though so it’s hard to say whether or not time spent on the Facebook web version will also be taken into account.

To monitor time spent on Facebook, open the Facebook app and go to the hamburger tab. Scroll down and tap on Settings & Privacy. When the option expands, you will see a ‘Your Time on Facebook’ option. Tap it.

On the Your Time on Facebook screen, you will see how much time you’ve spent using the app. Judging by my own personal time graph, it doesn’t seem to factor in the time I’ve spent on the Facebook website.

You can limit how much time you spend on Facebook by tapping the ‘Set Daily Reminder’ option on the Your Time on Facebook screen. Select how much time you want to spend on Facebook, and tap Set Reminder.

If you’ve used this same feature that Instagram has implemented, you know that the reminder will not lock you out of Facebook. It will tell you that the time you’ve set for yourself has expired but you can dismiss it easily enough and continue using the app.

If you use the Facebook apps on different iOS (or even Android) devices, your activity ought to sync across the apps at the very least. I haven’t been able to test that but that’s how it should work.

It goes without saying that a time limit imposed by your OS is better because it can restrict you when you use certain apps too much. The Facebook and Instagram apps could lock a user out if they used it too much but the feature is more a check than a restriction. Screen Time is better if you want to control social media use but it’s only an iOS feature and Android needs something similar.

Read How to monitor time spent on Facebook by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to get your daily step count on iOS [Siri Shortcut]

Your iPhone can track how many steps you’ve taken in a day provided you take it with you everywhere. It’s a little less accurate than an activity tracker but only if you keep your phone in your pocket or in a bag. You can look up your daily step count in the Health app, but you can’t ask Siri how many steps you’ve taken. Oddly enough, the AI can’t access that information. Life is easier if you have an Apple Watch but if you don’t, you can use a Siri Shortcut to get your daily step count without opening the Health app.

Daily Step Count

There are a few Siri Shortcuts that let you look up your step count but How far have I walked today by Reddit user monstersugrad98 is a good, reliable one. Add the shorcut to the Shortcuts app and run it from the app once. When you first run the shortcut, it will ask for permission to access steps and distance data from the Health app.

After that, Siri will tell you how many steps you walked and how much distance you covered on the current day. You can run the shortcut from the Shortcuts widget.

Connect with Siri

You can invoke a Shortcut with a command to Siri but at present, there’s a bug with the app which prevents Siri commands from running a shortcut. A lot of users are experiencing the bug and it appears to have to do with the most recent version of the Shortcuts app. If you want to give it a try and see if the bug doesn’t affect you, you can try setting a command for the shortcut.

Open the Shortcuts app and tap the more options button at the top right corner of the shortcut’s tile. On the edit screen, tap the switch button at the top right. On the Settings screen, tap the Add to Siri option and record the phrase that you want to use to run the shortcut.

Once you’ve done that, you can invoke Siri with the Hey Siri command or by holding down the Home button/bar. If the bug doesn’t affect you, Siri will be able to run the shortcut and your step count will be read out by Siri. If the bug does affect you, you will see the ‘Sorry, there was a problem with the app’ message. There’s no resolution for it just yet but it seems to affect a lot of people. Apple is aware of the problem though there’s no ETA on when the bug will be solved.

Read How to get your daily step count on iOS [Siri Shortcut] by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to use lens challenges on Snapchat

Social media apps rely on a few things to remain popular, or relevant; new, fresh content for users to consume, and users constantly returning and interacting with the app. Interactive features are a pretty great way to get users to stick around which is why Snapchat has added lens challenges. Lens challenges are basically recording a specific act, as defined by the lens challenge, and then asking others to do the same. Here’s how you can use lens challenges on Snapchat.

This feature is rolling out slowly to users. Make sure the Snapchat app on your phone is up to date. If you don’t see it just yet, check out pet lenses instead.

Lens challenges on Snapchat

Open Snapchat and tap anywhere on the camera view finder to load available lenses. Once the lenses start to load, tap the smiley face button to access the lens gallery.

At the top of the gallery you will see all available challenges. Tap the lens challenge that you want to try and then follow the on-screen instructions to do the challenge yourself. Once you’ve followed through on the challenge, you will be able to send it to a specific friend, add it to your story, or add it to the challenge for everyone to see.

At present, there are only four challenges that you can try. The lens challenges on Snapchat are supposed to be created by users. If you’re looking to create a lens challenge of your own, you’re going to need to use Lens Studio.

Lens Studio is a desktop app that’s available for both macOS and Windows 10. It requires a fairly decent GPU and at least 4GB RAM but your processor can be as old as a core i3. What Snapchat is basically doing is getting users to create content and make it go viral. If you create an easy but interesting lens challenge that most people can do, it will go viral. It’s that simple and you can count on brands trying their hand at it.

Social media apps like Snapchat add interactive content for users because if you really take a look at social media there isn’t much to do there. With Facebook or Twitter you might go through your feed but that too runs dry eventually. With Snapchat, you get fewer updates unless it’s someone’s job to just post on the app. The lens challenge or any other interactive features not only gives users something to ‘watch’ but also a simple way to participate.

Read How to use lens challenges on Snapchat by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to send gifts from the App Store on iOS

The App Store on iOS has a neat gift feature that lets you buy any app, and recently an in-app purchase, and give it to a friend. Sending gifts from the App Store is easy enough; you need a valid payment method, and the Apple ID for whoever you want to send the gift to.

Rules of gifting

Before you send gifts from the App Store you need to know a few things; the gifts cannot be refunded. It won’t matter if your friend downloads the app or if they already have it. If you later decide you don’t want to spend the money, you will not be able to get a refund.

There is no re-gifting. Once you’ve spent money on the app, it isn’t coming back and you cannot re-gift an unclaimed gift.

You will get a receipt for the purchase and your friend will likewise know that it was you who sent it. There is no way to send anonymous gifts.

You can only gift paid apps and not free ones though, that kind of goes without saying.

Gifts bought in one country store may not be redeemable in other countries. For example, if you gift an app from the UK store to a friend who uses the US store, they will not be able to redeem it. Since it’s a gift though, they can change their Apple ID country, redeem their gift, and switch back to their own regional store.

Gifts from the App Store

You can send gifts from the App Store from your iPhone or iPad. Open the App Store app on your device and go to the app page for the app that you want to gift. Tap the more options button next to the price tag for the app. From the menu that opens, tap Gift App. Enter the Apple ID for whoever you want to send the app to, enter your name, and a message.

You can choose when a gift is delivered. By default, it’s delivered when you send it but you can change the date. Tap Next, select a valid payment method, and you’re done.

For in-app purchases, the options are limited. Apple has allowed developers to enable gifting for in-app purchases but this is a recent development. It’s going to be a while before you can actually send in-app purchases as gifts. The holidays are around the corner so it’s unlikely that support for in-app purchase gifts will be added right now. Give it a month, or at least a few weeks so developers can add support for the new feature.

Read How to send gifts from the App Store on iOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to add funds to your Apple ID

Your can add different payment methods to your Apple ID for making purchases on the app store. The supported payment methods are credit cards, paypal, or gift cards. Gift cards add credit to your account which you then use up later however, if you want to add funds to your Apple ID without using a gift card, you can.

Add funds to Apple ID – iPhone

On your iPhone, open the Settings app and tap your name at the very top. On the next screen tap iTunes and App Store.

Tap on your Apple ID, and in the pop-up that appears, tap View Apple ID. You will need to sign in either with your password, Touch ID or Face ID.

Once you’re signed in, tap Add funds to Apple ID. Select a denomination to add the funds, and choose your payment method.

Add funds to Apple ID – iTunes

You can also add funds to your Apple ID from iTunes. You can do this from any system that has iTunes installed on it and you’re not restricted to using the one system that you sync your iPhone or iPad to.

Open iTunes and go to Account. Sign in with the Apple ID that you want to add funds to. Once you’re signed in to iTunes, go to View my account. On the account summary screen, scroll down to the Apple ID Account section and click the Add funds to Apple ID option.

Again you will need to select the denomination for adding funds, and pick a payment method. The funds ought to transfer immediately. If you run into problems with transferring funds, make sure you have a valid payment method set up. If the payment doesn’t process, try removing the payment tool and adding it again.

If you reside in a country where online payment isn’t supported in the App Store, you won’t be able to add funds to your Apple ID. These stores are of course rare so in most cases you won’t have any trouble. You can also add funds to your Apple ID from the Mac app store.

At present, users who reside in the US will receive a little extra credit when they add funds to their Apple ID. To be precise, they will get 10% extra credit for any funds they transfer upto $200 which isn’t bad. This offer will expire on December 20th, 2018, so you want to hurry. If you make a lot of purchases on the App Store, this is a reasonably good deal from Apple.

Read How to add funds to your Apple ID by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter