35 minutes of screen time a day: how did we get to that number?

Unpluqqers save an average of 35 minutes of smartphone screen time a day. This post explains the analysis behind that number.


Smartphones and social media have a huge impact on the mental health, wellbeing, and productivity of our society. We found through many interviews and surveys, that for most people the current solutions don’t work, because they’re too easy to circumvent. With this in mind, we have developed a technology to block distracting apps and save screen time with customizable barriers, like shaking your phone for 5 seconds. In the end, the result is boosted productivity and better sleep, every time! 

With Unpluq, users are saving an average of 35 minutes of screen time a day. This is huge! In this post we will deep dive into how we got to this number of 35 minutes of smartphone screen time a day. At Unpluq we have a culture of being open and transparent about things, so also about how we arrived at the 35 minutes of smartphone screen time a day.

But first, we have to take a step back. A little background knowledge is required to understand where this data comes from. We’ll start with some background information on how to get usage data for Android, then dig deeper into how we use this information to get our magic number. Enjoy the read!

Android usage data of Unpluqqers.

With the “Usage access” permission on Android, you can see which app is currently running on the user’s phone. Unpluq needs this to block certain distracting apps. Also, the same permission allows apps to get data about app usage on the user’s phone. With that, we can give users a statistics overview, showing the usage of different apps during the day.

One restriction is that an app can only reliably get the data for 7 days prior to the current day. So we can effectively only know the usage of all apps until one week ago. 

Getting to a baseline of screen time usage.

When Unpluqqers first download the app, they’re asked whether they want to help us out, by sending their usage data to our server. With this data, we can improve the app (by giving better recommendations on distracting apps for other users) and we can analyse the effectiveness of Unpluq. About two-thirds of Unpluqqers actually give us that permission.

Once we have that permission, we can store the average time the smartphone was used in the week before using Unpluq. This is now a baseline of app usage: the amount of time spent before our app was used. 

Finally, the analysis begins.

Now, the analysis becomes rather straightforward. When users have used Unpluq for about a week or more, we can start comparing the screen time usage at that moment with the average usage before using Unpluq. For this analysis, we decided to compare the previous week with the last five days that were saved for that particular user, since five days is just as accurate as seven days when taking a big enough sample size, like we do here.

We did this analysis with 50 Unpluqqers, chosen randomly with the only condition being that they used Unpluq for at least five days. The results are summed up in the following graph created from the data:

We do have some interesting Unpluqqers as well!

An interesting thing that immediately pops out is that about a quarter of people also started using their phone more. That makes sense, because this is a randomly chosen subset of users. Your usage varies week by week, so by taking the average, we’re actually making sure the data is as accurate as possible.

Another thing that pops out is that some users save over two hours a day with Unpluq, with one user actually saving almost four hours a day. Amazing results that put a big smile on the faces of our team back in the Netherlands. That’s why we do what we do, right?

Full analysis?

To be fully transparent, you can get the complete analysis by filling in your email below.

We hope you enjoyed this post! At Unpluq, we’ll keep doing our very best to help everyone live a healthy (digital) life, every day. Let’s fight digital distractions together!