Skip to main content

Instagram tests Take a Break feature for better time management

You know how it is. You fire up Instagram for a “quick” look at the latest posts and within seconds find yourself fully immersed in the endless stream of content. And then you look up and three hours have passed.

There are certainly telltale signs that you’re spending too much time on Instagram. A finger or thumb worn down to the middle joint is a giveaway, or an area of sharp focus that over time has become a narrow band about 30 cm from your face.

Instagram has now said it wants to encourage you to think more about how much time you spend on the app. That’s right, folks, when the company itself suggests you might want to think about doing something besides staring at Instagram posts, it’s really time to take notice.

To encourage you to better manage your time on Instagram, the company is testing out a new feature called “Take a Break” with a select group of users.

So how does it work? Well, if you opt in to the feature, you can ask the app to remind you to take a break after 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 30 minutes — the choice is yours.

Then, after the selected period of time passes, you’ll see a message appear on your screen saying: “Time for a break? Take a moment to reset by closing Instagram.” It then offers suggestions about what you might want to do, such as, “Take a few deep breaths; Write down what you’re thinking; Listen to your favorite song; Do something on your to-do list.” No, “delete Instagram” is not on the list.

But the Take a Break feature doesn’t block access to Instagram for a set period, so you could simply ignore the prompt, tap on Done, and return to the app.

In a video (below) explaining the new feature, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said Take a Break is “part of a broader effort to try and give people more control over their experience of Instagram,” adding, “Ultimately, you know what’s best for you when it comes to how you use the app. And we want to make sure we provide tools for you to shape Instagram into what works for you.”

Testing “Take a Break” 🧑‍🔬

We started testing a new feature called “Take a Break” this week. This opt-in control enables you to receive break reminders in-app after a duration of your choosing.

I’m excited to dig into the results & hopefully launch this sometime in December. ✌🏼

— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) November 10, 2021

The feature lands as Instagram and its parent company Meta (formerly Facebook) continue to deal with criticism about how the popular social media app can adversely affect young people’s mental health, an issue brought to the fore last month by American whistleblower Frances Haugen.

If Take a Break is deemed a success among the test group, it’ll be rolled out to Instagram’s entire community, probably in December, Mosseri said.

Want to better manage your screen time across all apps on your smartphone? Then check out these apps aimed at doing just that.

Editors' Recommendations