Instagram stops some app time limit options and encourages users to update their settings, according to a report by TechCrunch† Originally, users could select a time limit of just five minutes per day, while the new options start at 30 minutes and go up to three hours.
In screenshots sent to TechCrunch by an Instagram user who previously set a daily limit of 10 minutes, a popup now appears at the top of their feed prompting them to set a new daily limit in accordance with an app update. While the popup says the user can keep their existing limit if they want to, clicking the Edit button leads them to select a preset option, the lowest of which is 30 minutes. An additional popup on the activity page in the app says that the 10 minute value is “no longer supported”. The app had sent reminders to change the setting for a few weeks, the user says, and they could only avoid choosing a new limit by force-quitting the app.
A test by a US-based reporter at The edge found that the currently available options are 30 minutes, 45 minutes, one hour, two hours, and three hours. Meta, owner of Instagram, did not immediately respond to questions from The edge†
Instagram introduced the option to set daily time limits in 2018, with company representatives saying they wanted time on the app to be well spent. Time-limiting features were rolled out in response to criticism tech companies received about the effect their products had on user wellbeing.
“We want to empower people to make conscious decisions about how much time they spend and how they want to interact with the app,” said Ameet Ranadive, who leads a user wellness team at Instagram, in 2018. The changes to the daily time limit settings are coming. just a few months after Instagram introduced the Take a Break feature, where users can choose to receive periodic reminders if they’ve been continuously in the app.
This commitment to giving users more options seems at odds with the decision to remove shorter time limits from the app. Back in November, when the “Take a Break” feature was testing, Instagram head Adam Mosseri emphasized that “you know what’s best for you when it comes to how you use the app.” A slightly longer time limit might not be a deal breaker for most people on Instagram. But it’s a change that indicates Instagram may be more concerned that users aren’t spending enough time on the platform rather than making sure their time is well spent.