Simple use case: my son has an iPad where he plays some games and uses FaceTime to talk to his grand parents every day.

I want him to use the iPad no more than 1 hour every day, with the exception of FaceTime. I want FaceTime to be available all the time, without running into any time limits.

I thought, I could set Screen Time like so:

  1. App Limits ==> All Apps & Categories = 1hr
  2. Always Allowed ==> FaceTime

I see that after he has talked to his grandparents on FaceTime for about 20~25 minutes, and played his game for 30~35 minutes, iOS will tell him that he has reached his daily limit.

But this seems wrong to me. First, in Screen Time page, when I add all the categories up, it is definitely less than 1 hour.

And even if they totaled an hour, his game usage is (as I have witnessed) no more than 30~35 minutes.

I would have expected that he could use 2 hours of FaceTime during the day (just to illustrate the point, not that he actually would do that!) without that triggering any limits, and ONLY AFTER playing on his game for (close to) 1 hour, would the iPad tell him that he has reached his limit.

  1. How can this be made to work better?
  2. Does Apple need to revamp Screen Time a bit more?
  • I have noticed exactly what you have. The sum of all the listed apps is strictly less than the calculated total. Sometimes much less. And Always Allowed apps for some reason count against the total. So if you play games for an hour and then FaceTime for an hour, everything is fine. But if you FaceTime for an hour, no games for you! Very frustrating. Aug 25, 2020 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


The text for "Always Allowed" says that it lets you use certain apps during Downtime or when the "All Apps and Categories" limit has passed. Unfortunately it doesn't say anything about not counting those apps towards any limits.

You could make a new limit that affects every app except Facetime, like this:

(Here I used the Camera app as an example, but you would uncheck Facetime instead.)

This does have the disadvantage that any new downloaded app under Social Networking would also not be limited, but you could monitor for that pretty easily.

  • 1
    I ended up doing this .. but even then, iOS still tells him his limit is reached even though his actual game usage is nowhere close to the 1 hour limit. Honestly, OurPact is/was such better at managing time. I wish Apple's native system would work in sensible ways that are more close to what parents would do.
    – HanSooloo
    Dec 22, 2019 at 5:34
  • This is the best solution, as long as the App Store is disabled or the child doesn't have the ability to install apps. Aug 25, 2020 at 16:11

We use a more manual solution. We set the All Apps limit to the desired total, and then if it is exceeded due to the ordering issue, we increase it for that day, and then set it back for the next day.

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