How do we prevent turning off 'Screen Time Access'? {SOLVED}

Kenneth,
I’m actually a huge fan of this approach. I’ve heavily researched neurodivergence &, in particular ADHD (I also suffer from it). I know that for a sizable segment of the population, motivation to NOT do something comes more from a fear of the penalty/toll incurred than from the positive aspirational notions of who they can be/what they can achieve if they adhere to something. I’m not saying these positive aspirational ideas don’t exist nor factor into decision-making & observed behavior, but rather, at the end of the day, it’s the fear of penalty that drives them to take action (or inaction in terms of not breaking a rule). I think paying an extra fee would be the most draconian of these measures and I absolutely support it existing, but perhaps we can reserve it for a tier of behavior/specific time-slot that is most important to the individual user, i.e. the user intentionally sets up that penalty to go into effect should he/she fail.
I also support there being secondary or smaller penalties. I think feeling the pain of a cost or something that matters being lost adds more real-life implication to the user and advances some of the gamification that research shows tends to motivate users.

For comparison’s sake, some of my favorite & most effective other productivity tools operate around this concept of real-world penalty should you renege on your commitments. They also have a hack-proof independent means of verifying that you did indeed stick to your pledge/tasks. These tools include Beeminder, Forfeit & Stickk. I think there’s a reason why these tools have attracted sizable user-bases and I can see Opal succeeding in its mission by engineering reward/penalty systems like these.

From customer support:

Hi there,
Is it possible to block the ability to toggle off Opal’s access to Screen Time under Screen Time in settings?

From customer support:

I love the app but I want to block/disable settings app aswell
I’m actually using screentime add/remove app content restriction which restrict me from removing this app
Is their any way I can block setting too?

I’ve noticed that if I go to my screen time in settings I can just turn off access to Opal and it resets all my limits. Maybe if there was a way to make it harder to turn that off that would be great!

Is there a parental control feature? I’d like to be able to restrict my child to have a set focus period each day without him being able to edit the apps/schedule. It should be impossible for him to tamper the schedule.

…except it’s not for my child, it’s for me (I don’t even have children).

Bonus points if these parental controls carry over to my other devices. Apple’s screen time is similar, but doesn’t target specific apps, or allow multiple schedules

2 Likes

From customer support
Is there a way to disable the toggling on or off of the screen time access button?

Hi @kenneth,
I’m currently using ScreenTime with a passcode set by someone else. This way I can’t bypass the limits I have set when I feel pressured to do so.

I would love to use Opal for two reasons:

  • mainly to be able to set different time windows to block different apps
  • to be able to change the rules ahead of time, but not on the spot, in order to truly auto-regulate my screen usage (for now I ask the person to unlock ScreenTime for me to change settings when I need to. It works fine enough but it’s just not optimal).

For the same reason as stated by @Opal_User_28343 , I can’t use Opal in this state of things, so I prefer to use ScreenTime for now.

For me the best solution would be to use the ScreenTime passcode to enforce Opal, the same way it’s already used to lock ScreenTime settings.

In fact I’m finding mind boggling the fact to make a ScreenTime API allowing to block apps, without this feature. Why even bother?

Thanks for your work, and please convince Apple to do so!

Unfortunately it is possible to breach deep focus mode by going into settings, find the Opal app and deny acces to screen time.

I won’t purchase this app because of this possible breach.

Hopefully there will be an update where this won’t be possible in the future!

@here we now have a solution for this (it came from an idea on this community forum!)

To enhance the security of your Opal sessions and prevent the disabling of Opal’s Screen Time during a session, follow these steps. This process should take less than 5 minutes to set up.

https://www.opal.so/help/how-to-lock-opals-screen-time-access

Please be aware that you won’t be able to access your phone’s Settings while in a session (unless you’re on a break).

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This great are you able to provide a better step by step. I am having trouble making this work.

You are totally right. We rewrote the guide from scratch with a lot more detail + included a step by step video! Thank you for reporting / asking for this. Opal FAQ | How To Lock Opal's Screen Time Access

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This is great and works! To make it 100% fool proof remember to add the Shortcut app to your group of apps you are blocking.

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Amazing to hear, thanks for reporting back.

This is a horrible video without sound and explanation to be honest. I tried to follow the steps as shown but didn’t manage in the end.!

Please follow up on this!

Best,

L

I actually found the mistake in the video.

You should delete the shortcut if.

Just if opal protection is on → open Opal.

you’re welcome!

(besides that, you should definitely make a proper video about this process with audio!)

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@FlowstateFrysian you are a hero :man_superhero: ! Thank you. Just updated the FAQ to make it clearer: Opal FAQ | How To Lock Opal's Screen Time Access (and removed the video for now).

Please note: Apple changed a lot of the UI of the Shortcuts app with iOS17 so things may look slightly different, but the guide should work regardless.

PS if anyone is interested in making a video tutorial happy to pay for it! (Lifetime sub?).

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Hello Kenneth!

Thank you for finally solving for this issue it has been an real stick in the mud for me. I’ve been following this thread for sometime and it makes me so happy to see a solution has been found.

I would be certainly interested in creating the video for this, if you’ll have me. I don’t have professional experience doing so but I’m confident in my abilities to produce a step by step tutorial and attach it below: let me know. A lifetime subscription would be incredible for me.

Ariana

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Turning off Opal access in screentime disables deep focus session and gives access to applications. This led to relapse. Please make opal to continue deep focus even if its turned off in apple screentime. Opal is doing a great job otherwise when compared to many app in the market. Thank you for your efforts in bringing up this app!

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Hey !
Moved your message to this topic that provides a solution for your feedback.
Hope that helps :slight_smile:

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I’m interested in making the video. Can you email me with details?

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