In Screen Time introduces in iOS 12, part of the report is a graph for “Pickups”. What are these?

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3 Answers 3


The Verge says that pickup counting is triggered “when you’ve interacted with the device or on-screen content in some way. If all you do is turn on the screen, that’s not enough to get tallied.”

If you’re looking for first-party confirmation, it seems like (for now) there’s nothing useful from Apple. The only mentions of Screen Time pickups on their website describe it simply as “how many times a device was picked up,” or slight rewordings of that phrase. The WWDC 2018 keynote and Apple Support video on Screen time are similarly unhelpful.

(There were a dozen other tech blogs and websites that I also looked at, but all of them gave the same information as Apple, or less.)


It’s the number of times that you have picked up the device to explicitly interact with it. The following interactions count:

  • accelerometer
  • screen unlock
  • hey Siri
  • 4
    What counts as being “picked up”? Like, the accelerometer detected it vertically moved? That the display turned on? That I showed the home screen? Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 16:46

It must be the time that the display is turned on because it is telling me that I got pickups in the middle of the night while I was asleep which was probably me getting notifications and the notifications turning my phone's display on.

  • Mine also shows pickups while I’m asleep. I thought I had a ghost using my phone. It must be the notifications coming through.
    – Anita
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 14:10

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