Screen-on time disappears from Settings menu in Android 12 Beta 1

We don’t know if it’s a permanent change or not (Google won’t tell us), but one tweak in Android 12 has us decidedly upset for the update. It may just be a bug, but right now, you can’t see your so-called “screen-on time” in the Battery section of Settings on Android 12 Beta 1.

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Left: Screen-on time in “Battery” in Android 11. Right: Nada in Android 12 Beta 1.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, so-called “screen-on time” or SoT is a common (but highly anecdotal) metric for measuring and comparing battery life. After all, standby time doesn’t really matter for most of us past a few days; it’s time spent while being actively used that is important. Ergo, Screen-on time: It’s time the phone spent with its screen powered on. And though this is a highly subjective metric that can vary drastically depending on how you use a phone, it’s a basic number most people have come to understand, even if you have to take any values that folk like I provide in a review with a grain of salt.

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“Screen” was still there in Battery usage for DP2/3 (left) and displayed screen-on time when tapped (middle), but it’s gone in Beta 1 (right).

On Android 11, screen-on time was listed in Settings -> Battery under “screen usage since full charge.” That was removed when the “silky home” redesign rolled out in Android 12 DP3. However, it was still shown in the Screen section for battery usage sources (Settings -> Battery -> View battery usage) when “show full device usage” was enabled via the three-dot menu. Or, at least it was until Beta 1. Now, it’s gone there too.

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You can still see your “screen time” in the Apps section or Digital Wellbeing, but only for that day. 

You can still kinda-sorta see your screen-on time in Beta 1 in the Apps section of settings, but it only shows time gathered today. You could try to supplement that by adding up values across several days via the Digital Wellbeing Dashboard, but those blanket 24 hour-long measurements may have issues with middle-of-the-day charging or late-night use.

Folks like myself that go out of our way to do multi-day battery tests or anyone hoping to measure that metric across more than a single day will be out of luck without either a separate tool to surface the reading from the Android system or a dedicated app for the purpose.

We reached out to Google yesterday to see if this is a bug or otherwise unintended behavior, but the company has not responded to our inquiries. If and when they do answer, we’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, I sincerely hope it’s a mistake of some kind, because it would suck if Google took away our ability to measure this.

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