Apple has unveiled new tools to help people control their smartphone use, after facing accusations that its technology is “addictive”.
A tool called Screen Time will create daily and weekly activity reports, the technology giant announced on Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.
The reports will detail how long you spend in an app, how many notifications you receive and how often you pick up your device. Users will also be able to set a time limit on certain apps.
Parents will get even more information and oversight, including the ability to see their child’s activity report from their own device and the power to schedule times (around bed time, for example) when certain apps cannot be used.
The changes will be rolled out as part of Apple’s new operating system, iOS 12.
In the face of “digital detoxes” and anxiety about how we use our devices, Silicon Valley appears eager to show it’s reformed.
Google announced similar changes to its software in May, including a dashboard showing the apps where users spend the most time and a break reminder for YouTube.
The addiction fight
Apple and its Silicon Valley counterparts have recently been forced to defend themselves, following complaints that their devices and software are designed to be used compulsively.
In January, two major Apple shareholders urged the company to address the issue of “smartphone addiction” among children.
“Apple can play a defining role in signalling to the industry that paying special attention to the health and development of the next generation is both good business and the right thing to do,” Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System wrote, in an open letter.
– Ariel Bogle
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