Social Media

How Instagram’s New “Take A Break” Feature Works

Because I needed more screen time reminders.

Originally Published: 
A woman sits on a couch with a cup of coffee while taking a break from Instagram.
Simona Pilolla / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

If you’re on TikTok, there’s a good chance your scrolling has eventually landed you on their “You’re in Control” video series. The gist is that, once you’ve hit a certain amount of time on the app, a video will appear on your feed with the general message of, “You’ve been scrolling for way too long.” Users are then often encouraged to get some food and water, go outside, or, if it’s late at night, head to bed. While it can be a sobering surprise, it serves the purpose of making us aware of our screen time and giving us the choice to log off when we’ve used an app for longer than we intended. If you’re not on TikTok — or don’t spend enough time on the app to get these notifications — you might be glad (or filled with dread) to know that a similar feature is now hitting Instagram. Starting Dec. 7, the app’s “Take a Break” setting is now available to all users in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada.

On Nov. 10, Instagram announced the “Take a Break” feature as a test for some users. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri described the feature as doing “what you think it does,” which is to say that it prompts users to take a step back from their phone every so often. At the time, Mosseri made it clear that the intent was to roll the feature out more widely after the test was done.

How Does Take A Break On Instagram Work?

In the brief video, Mosseri described the function of Take a Break along with some example frames of how the feature will look on Instagram. Once a user opts in to Take a Break, they have the ability to select an interval at which they will be reminded to take a break from the platform. After 10, 20, or 30 minutes of using the app, users will receive a “Take a Break” notification with prompts encouraging them to take a deep breath, journal, listen to music, and more.


How Do I Use Take A Break On Instagram?

Instagram is particularly keen for teenage users to opt in to the Take A Break feature, per a blog post, and will be sending notifications encouraging them to turn on the setting. “Early test results show that once teens set the reminders, more than 90% of them keep them on,” the blog post reads.

Anyone who wants to be nudged away from scrolling mindlessly can benefit from the feature, though. To enable Take a Break, open your Instagram app, head to your profile tab, and click on the menu on the top right corner of your screen. (Its icon is three horizontal lines.) From there, head to “Activity,” and then click on “Time.” You will be presented with the option to “Set Reminder to Take Breaks.” Give this a click, and take your pick at the interval at which you’d like to be reminded to step away from your screen. Tap to set the reminder, click “OK,” and you’ve just gotten one step closer to a more mindful relationship with tech. Congrats!

Why Don’t I Have Take A Break On Instagram?

Take a Break is fully launched, meaning that it is available to all users in the U.S., UK, Australia, and Canada. If you’re located in those countries, and can’t find the option to enable Take a Break in your settings, it could be because your Instagram app is in need of an update. Head to the app store and check if there is an update available. This should get your Instagram up to date with all of its new features. If you still can’t find Take A Break on Instagram after an update, there is always the age-old troubleshoot of deleting and re-downloading your app.

Mosseri says that this feature is part of a “broader effort to try and give people more control over their experience of Instagram,” suggesting that we will likely be seeing similar screen time and wellness-oriented features roll out in the future. “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.”

So, whether you’ve been hoping to commit to a digital detox resolution this new year, or just want to be more mindful of how long you’re scrolling for, plenty of essential tools like Take a Break could be coming to a ‘gram near you.

This article was originally published on