How does the idle timer work for the Mac and Windows apps?

How idle detection works

Harvest for Mac and Harvest for Windows automatically detect when your computer has been idle for a specified number of minutes and gives you the option to either keep or remove time that’s been tracked since your computer became idle.

  • If you select Stop timer and remove X minutes, the timer will be stopped, and the detected idle time will be removed from its total.
  • If you choose Continue timing and remove X minutes, the timer will continue running, and the idle time will be removed from its total.
  • If you click Add X minutes as a new entry, the current timer will be stopped, the idle time will be removed from its total, and the New time entry window will open. The detected idle time will populate the Duration field, and you’ll be able to choose the project and task the idle time should be tracked to.
  • If you click Ignore in the top right, the timer is left to continue running and the total time remains as-is.

By default, the idle timer alert will go off at 10 minutes. However, you can change the idle detection duration:

  • To do this in the Mac app, go to Preferences, then go to the General tab.
  • In the Windows app, click the gear icon and select Settings.

More on idle detection

There are a few things that our desktop apps’ idle timer feature can’t do:

  • It can’t differentiate accidental mouse movements (e.g., someone accidentally bumps into your desk while you’re away) from normal activity.
  • It doesn’t know that you stopped a timer via another means. However, it can detect this once the machine has woken up. If you wait a minute, the idle timer dialog will disappear, or you can click Ignore and the app will eventually sync the correct time with Harvest.

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