Getting started


We’re currently working on improving the installation experience by creating proper installers and packages, but for now we offer standalone archives containing everything you need.



The prebuilt packages are known to sometimes have issues on Linux. If they don’t work for you, please create an issue and consider Installing from source.

  1. First, grab the latest release from GitHub for your operating system.
  2. Unzip the archive into an appropriate directory and you’re done!


The aw-qt application is the easiest way to use ActivityWatch. It creates a trayicon and automatically starts the server and the default watchers.

Simply run the ./aw-qt binary in the installation directory (either from your terminal or on Windows by double-clicking). You now should see an icon appear in your system tray (unless you’re running Gnome 3, where there is no system tray).

You should now also have the web interface running at localhost:5600 and will in a few minutes be able to view your data under the Activity section!


If you want more advanced ways to run ActivityWatch (including running it without aw-qt), check out the “Running” section of Installing from source.


If you are using a proxy, activitywatch will not work by default. To circumvent this you can set the environment variable HTTP_PROXY before starting aw-qt. How to set an environment variable depends on your operating system, use Google if you are unsure how to do this.


You might want to make aw-qt start automatically on login. We hope to automate this for you in the future but for now you’ll have to do it yourself. Searching the web for “autostart application <your operating system>” should get you some good results that don’t take long.


Configuration files for ActivityWatch can be found at the following default locations:

  • Unix: ~/.config/activitywatch or the path defined by the $XDG_CONFIG_HOME environment variable.
  • Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application\ Support/activitywatch/
  • Windows: %LocalAppData%\activitywatch\activitywatch

Config options for the server, client, and default watchers are listed below:

  • aw-server
  • host Hostname to start the server on. Currently only localhost or are supported.
  • port Port number to start the server on.
  • storage Type of storage for holding buckets and events. Supported types are memory, mongodb, or peewee.
  • aw-client
  • hostname Hostname of the server to connect to.
  • port Port number of the server to connect to.
  • aw-watcher-afk
  • timeout Time in seconds with no activity required to become afk.
  • poll_time Time in seconds between checks for activity.
  • update_time Not yet implemented.
  • aw-watcher-window:
  • poll_time Time in seconds between window checks.
  • update_time Not yet implemented.