Microsoft Now Lets You Set App Usage Limits Across Android, Windows 10, and Xbox

Microsoft is expanding its Family Settings feature with a big new feature. The company now lets you set per-app usage limits on your children, and it’s not just limited to Windows devices: the feature works across Android, Windows 10, and Xbox.

Digital health has obviously been a big deal in the tech industry lately, with both Google and Apple introducing built-in features that try to help you limit your phone usage and focus more on real life. Microsoft, continuing on with its cross-platform efforts, is introducing a similar solution, but one that works across all your devices, regardless of the operating system you are on.

Microsoft’s new family settings feature can be accessed from your Microsoft Account settings or from within Microsoft Launcher on Android, where you can track your child’s app usage across their devices, and limit their usage. You can set limits for a certain app or game separately for weekdays and weekends, so they can have a little more fun during the weekends. The limits will work across Xbox One, Windows 10, and Android via the Microsoft Launcher.

Microsoft even lets your child ask for more time whenever they hit the limit, so you can give them a little more time if you want to. The feature is very well integrated into the Microsoft Launcher for Android devices, and it will work just as well on Windows 10 and Xbox.

Microsoft says the new app and game limits feature is launching as a preview today for all users, and it will continue to work on improving the feature going forward. You can try it out today on

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Conversation 12 comments

  • ecumenical

    08 October, 2019 - 2:33 pm

    <p>So if the kid changes their launcher, can they disable the limits? Or is there a way to also lock them out from doing that?</p>

    • wolters

      Premium Member
      08 October, 2019 - 3:26 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#478877">In reply to ecumenical:</a></em></blockquote><p>Agreed…I believe the launcher can be changed easily…especially when it gets updated…often prompts for default launcher choice. </p>

    • nerdile

      Premium Member
      08 October, 2019 - 3:26 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#478877">In reply to ecumenical:</a></em></blockquote><p>There has to be a way out that doesn't require factory resetting the phone, in case of emergencies, but the parents will get notified if that happens.</p>

      • rm

        08 October, 2019 - 4:22 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#478913"><em>In reply to nerdile:</em></a><em> And then you can turn off their data plan on them until they have it up and running again. ;)</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

    • nbplopes

      08 October, 2019 - 5:30 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#478877">In reply to ecumenical:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>Details :)</p>

  • Tony Barrett

    08 October, 2019 - 3:17 pm

    <p>Pretty pointless in all honesty, and while MS continue their assault on Android from the inside out, unless you're totally sold into running MS apps on Android for the <em>entire </em>family, I can't see this being of much use at all. If I changed the launcher on my kids phones, I'd have a riot to deal with.</p>

    • rm

      08 October, 2019 - 4:21 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#478909"><em>In reply to ghostrider:</em></a><em>I see your kids control you. 😉 I can turn my kids Android phones off if I want from ATT or from Microsoft. I can also track where they are if I want, but so far</em><em style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">&nbsp;(knock on wood)</em><em> I have never had to worry about it.</em></blockquote><p><br></p>

    • IanYates82

      Premium Member
      08 October, 2019 - 6:59 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#478909">In reply to ghostrider:</a></em></blockquote><p>My kids run the MS Launcher. It works well – they prefer it anyway. </p><p>(they're also only 12 &amp; 10,have hand down phones that are now 3+ years old, and don't have sims in them) </p><p><br></p><p>I suspect acceptance depends on the age and how far the envelope has been pushed before some restrictions were enforced </p>

  • nbplopes

    08 October, 2019 - 5:31 pm

    <p>I think this is a great feature … if it works well. But they had to wait until Catalina was out?</p>

  • IanYates82

    Premium Member
    08 October, 2019 - 7:04 pm

    <p>This is good. </p><p>I don't know if I'd do restrictions. It's about trust and discussions, until they perhaps demonstrate the trust is lost due to a breach (fingers crossed… haven't had that so far) </p><p><br></p><p>I was able to show my 10 year old how much YouTube, minecraft and roblox was played over school holidays. She was shocked. But now school's back, she'll cut back. We'll look each week and see how homework, housework, etc is tracking vs time spent on games and discuss from there. I don't want to use a limit (I just turned off content restrictions for games as I got tired of answering the prompts for the xbox – they know what's appropriate already) but if it gets to the stage I have to then they're very aware it's because of their behaviour and it won't be arbitrarily imposed </p>

  • stuarthk

    09 October, 2019 - 8:08 am

    <p>I wish this worked locally with local accounts.</p><p><br></p><p>I know i am old school, but i have 0 interest in logging into a PC i pay a lot of money for with a Microsoft account just so they can track what I do, what devices I own who my family is and so on. There should be added features to tie it into a cloud account. Not a requirement for the basics. </p><p><br></p><p>And yes they made it work without a cloud account in the past so you cant argue it is needed, or that they couldnt have just ported the previous implementation.</p><p><br></p><p>I choose to pay for something rather than use their free tool just on principle.</p>

  • yaddamaster

    09 October, 2019 - 11:13 pm

    <p>is there a way to lock down changes to an Android phone to certain users?</p><p><br></p>


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