At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the tech giant announced its latest update will include an app called Screen Time, which will help users monitor their activity — and set limits.
The new features include activity reports, app limits and more advanced do not disturb controls, the company explained in a press release.
The update will be available this fall.
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Here’s exactly how they’ll work:
The Screen Time app will give users an in-depth look at exactly what they’re spending their time doing.
The app will send daily and weekly activity reports to users, showing how much time they spend on each app and how many notifications they receive. It will also show the average amount of time they spend hooked on devices — and whether that number is increasing.
“By understanding how they’re interacting with their iOS devices, people can take control of how much time they spend in a particular app, website or category of apps,” the company explained.
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The app limits feature allows users to set time limits on each app, something that should be helpful for those who get lost scrolling down newsfeeds.
Once a time limit is hit, users will get notifications about when their allotted time is about to expire. An option to ignore the limit will also pop up on screen.
Parents can also set up activity reports for children, and set separate time limits for them.
Other time management features
Apple also added a feature called downtime that allows users to stop notifications from showing up during a selected time. Specific apps can be omitted from being blocked during this time.
There will also be more options for how notifications pop up on screens. One option is grouped notifications, which bunches several notifications together rather than showing multiple separate alerts on the home screen.
Parents who want to use any of these features for children can do so remotely using the Family Sharing feature, or do it on the child’s device.
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Smartphone addition and limiting screen time
Several studies have found that excessive screen time can have adverse health effects on both adult and children, such as reduced quality of sleep.
The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) recommends no screen time at all for children under two years old.
The move from Apple to introduce these screen time measures comes after investors urged the company to tackle the problem.
Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, one of the United State’s largest public pension plans, asked the company to consider developing software that would allow parents to limit children’s phone use in January.
Partners and CalSTRS together control about $2 billion worth of Apple shares, according to The Wall Street Journal.
— With files from Reuters