Instagram has been beefing up its usage features in recent years by giving parents additional control over their sons and daughters' accounts, while also allowing users to set limits on how long they can use the app every day.
As reported by TechCrunch, the company has doubled its usage options from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, before you're greeted with a screen that limits you to use the app further for the rest of that day.
While it was assumed that this was because of new efforts by Meta, Instagram's parent company, to increase the time that users are on the app due to falling revenue, it's been dismissed by Instagram, explaining that the reason for the time increase was to give users additional time to manage their notifications.
However, while the feature can be difficult to find by going to Profile > Activity > Time Spent > Set time limit, there are other alternatives that could help limit your social media apps to any time you want on your device.
Analysis: there's better alternatives to controlling your usage
If you have an iPhone, you can use ScreenTime, a built-in feature of iOS that allows you to limit any app you have installed on your device. This can be limited to a certain time of day, or you can set a time limit. If you have more than one Apple device on the same AppleID account, you can apply these limits to all of your devices, thanks to iCloud.
But it's limited to your apps – ScreenTime doesn't currently allow you to extend your usage limits to the websites you visit. Apps like Ochi will be able to do this and will filter out certain sites if you try to go onto a social media site for example.
Android has its own take on this called Digital Wellbeing. This can do the same functions as ScreenTime, where you can set daily time limits to any app that's installed, except for website addresses.
These can easily replace Instagram's usage features, as they're arguably harder to find.
You may occasionally spot a time when you're scrolling down your feed, and it prompts you that you've checked all the newest posts. But for usage limit options it's still hidden away.
While the increase in usage times makes sense, on one hand, there's no reason why Instagram could make another option available to set a custom time for all users, and in an area of the app where it's easier to spot.
But while the minimum is 30 minutes for the app, there's no reason why you can't use ScreenTime, Digital Wellbeing, and third-party options like Ochi to set your own time, regardless.