At Monday’s WWDC keynote, Apple announced that its upcoming operating system upgrade, iOS 12, will contain tools specifically designed to help people control how much time they—and their kids—spend with their phones.
A new Screen Time feature will monitor how much time users are spending in apps and websites. Daily and weekly Activity Reports will show the number of notifications that came in, and how many the user responded to. Users will also be able to use Screen Time to monitor their kids’ usage, and to schedule “limited use” times (such as dinnertime or bedtime).
There will also be some new Do Not Disturb modes, including one that dims the phone screen and hides notifications on the lock screen at bedtime. Notifications can now be grouped together or turned completely off.
Here at WWDC, the new usage control features were one of the most talked-about additions to iOS 12. And the reactions I heard from analysts and media were almost all positive.
Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi appreciates the fact that Apple didn’t try to dictate to users how (or how much) they use their phones, but rather gave them the tools to make their own decisions.
“When you have such a large user base, it’s hard to find a middle of road that pleases everybody, including the power user and the more basic users,” she says. “You create the tools and leave it up to them.”
Technalysis principle analyst Bob O’Donnell believes Apple may have done a good thing by simply making users more mindful of their usage levels.
“You have to be aware of your problems before you can…