Which apps do you spend the most time using on your Mac? Most of us guess, but the likely candidates for non-Office or non-Photoshop users would be Safari (or another browser), Mail, iTunes, and so on.
iOS 8.x and 9.x have a battery shaming feature which gives you an indication of which apps use the most of your iPhone or iPad’s battery, but nothing that captures and displays how much time you devote to using an app. For Mac users who want to know there’s Time Sink (as in ‘you sink too much time into using apps that don’t do much’).
Which Apps Do You Use?
Mac users have plenty of basic applications which, if we’re not careful, can suck up a lot of our time. Safari, Mail, Calendar, iTunes, Photos, Messages, FaceTime, and other included apps get used plenty, but so do third party applications.
How can you figure out which apps use the most time and when? Time Sink. And the way it works is quite simple. Time Sink resides in the background and simply monitors which apps you use and when, then totals the time.
Time Sink is smart enough to know which apps are in the foreground and being used, vs. apps that are merely open yet reside in the background. The value to tracking what you do on your Mac is evident in the reports, which display time as an activity over time (both total time and foreground usage time). Reports can be sorted and exported as needed (with some controls over which fields of collected data show up in the export).
Why bother to track which apps you use?
I see two benefits. One for individuals, and one for small businesses where employees use Macs. For individuals, tracking which apps are used gives you an idea of where your Mac-using time goes; app by app. For businesses, the functionality is the same, but the data can give employers an idea of which apps are useful for productivity, which are not, and which ones are being used by employees that should not be used.
Time Sink has options to not track (blacklist and whiteness), reset the app timers each day, but the basic features are automatic so all you need to do is keep using your Mac and within a week or two you’ll see patterns of usage emerge.
What I found in the first month of using Time Sink was surprising. I thought YouTube usage would be high, but that’s been relegated to the iPad. Browsing isn’t what it used to be, either, because Safari was third on my list after Mail (email is a big time suck), and a tie with Photos and iTunes. Photos I understand, but iTunes? That’s probably because more time was devoted to iTunes recently while trying to figure out Apple Music.
Time syncs reports are actually enjoyable to view because often the results are not exactly as expected. Math is math, though. The developer has a Mac App Store version, a developer version, and a full featured trial version.