Apple have this week launched an update to iPhones and iPads which is designed so people use their devices less.
The iOS 12 digital detox tools have been introduced amid concerns that users, in particular children, spend too much time on the devices.
At the firm’s annual conference, Apple’s Craig Federighi said, “Some apps demand more of our attention than we might realise.
“For some of us, it’s become such a habit that we might not recognise just how distracted we’ve become.”
He outlined how three key features will work together to help people use their devices less under Apple’s Digital Health initiative.
- Screen time – the new update provides daily and weekly updates of iPhone and iPad use. It will show the total time spent in each app, usage across similar types of apps, such as social networking, and how many notifications are received.It can even show how often you pick up your phone and set limits for apps based on that data.
For example, if you set a time limit of one hour for Instagram, it will warn you when there is five minutes left — and block the screen when the hour is up. Users can bypass this, however. Apple thinks this feature will be “especially helpful for kids and families”.
Parents can monitor and set limits for their kids from their own iPhone. Screen Time also lets mums and dads schedule a block of time when their child’s iPhone or iPad cannot be used, such as at bedtime. But they can allow specific apps, such as Books and phone calling, to work.
- New ways to manage notifications – this is to help users to cut back on distracting alerts flashing up on the screen.
It will be easier to turn them off, including when tapping on one on the lock screen. Apple will also suggest users stop alerts from an app if they rarely read or click on them.
- A revamped Do Not Disturb has a raft of new features. It can now block notifications at any time, such as during playtime with the kids or at dinner.
Plus, a new Do Not Disturb during bedtime can help solve the problem of being sucked into using your iPhone during the night when glancing at it to check the time.
It dims the display and hides all notifications on the lock screen until the morning.
Experts said it might sound surprising that a technology firm wants families to use gadgets less but the plans are to ward off intervention from authorities concerned at soaring screen time.