You can now try out a key new feature from Android Q by installing a new app. ActionDash, an app that more or less clones Google’s Digital Wellbeing features, has been updated to include a “focus mode” that works exactly like the focus mode that’s being built into the next version of Android.
When you activate Focus Mode, your phone will lock you out of apps that you’ve marked as distracting. So if you go to open Instagram or your email, a message will pop up saying that you’re locked out.
ActionDash now has app usage limits, too
Focus Mode isn’t meant to be a particularly serious way to limit usage phone usage, though It’s more of a nudge to stop you from mindlessly scrolling through one social media feed or another. Like on Android Q, you activate Focus Mode just by tapping a tile in the quick settings panel. Tapping it again will disable the feature, so there isn’t anything stopping you from getting around the system, just a slight hurdle in front of using select apps.
ActionDash launched in January with the promise of bringing Digital Wellbeing features to all Android phones. Unlike Google’s features — which are available to a limited number of phones and only those running Android Pie or the Q beta — ActionDash works on any Android phone running Lollipop or later (which should be most phones at this point given that it’s five years old).
(Android Q’s Focus Mode is shown around 6:30 in the video.)
This latest release of ActionDash version 3.0 adds another key Digital Wellbeing feature that was missing from earlier releases: app usage limits. You can now set how long you want to use an app each day and then lock yourself out when you hit that limit.
At launch, ActionDash primarily replicated Digital Wellbeing’s data features, allowing you to see how long you’ve been using all of your apps on a daily or weekly basis. It’s helpful info, but it’s a lot more useful when paired with controls that let you set limits on your usage. Now that ActionDash has those, it seems to have caught up to all of Google’s key features.
The app is available for free, though it offers a $7 upgrade for more features, including a dark mode, longer usage history, and more customization.
ActionDash comes from the developer of Action Launcher, which replicates a lot of the features found on Google’s default Android home screen, but with more customization options mixed in.