Apple shuts down screen limiting apps, but its own version is flawed

Controlling kids' time spent on iPhones and iPads relies on Apple's "Screen Time" tool.
Controlling kids’ time spent on iPhones and iPads relies on Apple’s “Screen Time” tool.

Image: Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

With Apple’s iOS 12 arrival in September, iPhone users saw “Screen Time” features make their way to  phone screens to counter-intuitively help them spend less time on their phones. But Apple’s built-in phone addiction fighting tool isn’t necessarily the best way to decrease screen time.

Although users could finally track phone and specific app usage while also limiting the amount of time spent on the phone and in apps, it didn’t instantly eliminate the problem. For parents, it offered a way to manage kids’ tech and connected time. The tool was a long time coming (Google’s similar wellbeing tool for Android phones was available in Aug. 2018), but other apps had stepped up over the years to offer phone addicts and parents similar, yet often expanded, features. 

A New York Times report Saturday found that 11 of the top third-party screen time and parental control apps have been removed from Apple’s App Store or forced to change features. While that’s concerning about Apple’s power to destroy apps and businesses it views as competitors, it also weakens everyone’s options for better phone control. 

It almost feels like Apple’s repeated line that “We don’t want people using their phones all the time,” is as hollow as it sounds. Of course the company doesn’t want users addicted to screens and unhealthily attached to their phones, but as the NYT report makes clear, it seems the iPhone maker is doing a lot to minimize your options around customizing phone usage. 

Apple did not respond to a request for comment about the third-party app removals or more about its own tools and features.

Now parents and compulsive phone users are limited to Apple’s native tools, all dubbed “Screen Time.” While for many it’s a perfectly fine solution that reminds you to log off or look away, for others it’s not as powerful as what third-party options once offered.

Booted off of Facebook.

Booted off of Facebook.

Image: sasha lekach /  mashable

But can you resist?

But can you resist?

Image: sasha lekach / mashable

Some glaring issues immediately come up with Apple’s Screen Time. Mostly that it’s easy to get around the limits. Kids quickly figured out how to game the controls and get into YouTube or game apps that parents had restricted. For adults, time limits for social media apps or others require a lot of self-control. With just your passcode you can allow the phone to let you back onto Facebook all day if you want. 

Another issue: for families, Screen Time requires the entire fam to have an iPhone. Other restriction apps gave parents the ability to manage their kids’ Android phone from their iPhone. 

Other issues that various apps addressed included weak coverage with Apple’s tool, like how it only blocks content in the Safari web browser for mobile, not Chrome or others; or multiple users using the same device. You don’t want your kid’s limits set while you’re on the same iPad. 

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f90041%252fe31d733b c0b4 4ebd bdde 697d550f26cf.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=pft27nv3aaiifyzr93ouegmxrz4=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Source

more recommended stories

  • The Lonely Island’s surprise Netflix drop is hilarious for no reason

    In case anyone was worried that.

  • Dating app game ‘MonsterMatch’ uses monsters to show algorithmic bias

    Sure, online dating is a hellscape..

  • ‘Game of Thrones’ finale defended by ‘Seinfeld’ star Jason Alexander

    “I know a little something about.

  • In the end, the Azor Ahai prophecy did come true on ‘Game of Thrones’

    One of the biggest twists of.

  • Watch this over-the-top dog become a tourist attraction

    Some dogs really know how to.

  • Race horse loses rider but wins our hearts by racing without him

    We are all Bodexpress, making it.

  • A Times Square billboard caught fire, and the tweets were lit

    So hot right now.Image: Stephen J..

  • Google Pixel 3a XL, Sony wireless noise cancelling headphones, and more for May 18

    Starting your gift hunt early? is.

  • Grumpy Cat, the viral internet sensation, is dead at 7

    Everyone’s favorite meme cat is no.

  • Snapchat’s ‘gender-swap’ filter exposes the internet’s casual transphobia

    It is a truth universally acknowledged.

  • BTS take on The Beatles in a special performance for ‘The Late Show’

    K-pop superstars BTS have long been.

  • ‘Black Mirror’ drops super creepy Season 5 trailer

    It’s here, people. Black Mirror has.

  • Twitter wants to fix its relationship with developers. Again.

    Twitter is looking for yet another.

  • Hands-on with Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 foldable Windows PC

    Windows PCs are about to get.

  • Actors lampoon Constance Wu’s reaction to her show being renewed

    Constance Wu’s reaction to ‘Fresh Off.

  • 15 epic deals on bedsheets this weekend

    Just to let you know, if.

  • NASA posts image of an ancient galaxy crowd in the deep, deep cosmos

    Billions of stars in deep space.Image:.

  • Elon Musk will go to trial for calling British rescue diver a ‘pedo guy’

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk will find.

  • The Third’ is out for Switch and still so bonkers: Review

    Saints Row: The Third lives again..

  • James Cameron responds to ‘Avengers: Endgame’ beating ‘Titanic’ record

    Cameron has sent the Marvel team.

  • Dr. Evil leads the Trump transition team — Altered Movie Scenes

    This iconic scene from “Austin Powers”.

  • Waymo’s self-driving cars will soon be on the Lyft app

    Waymo and Lyft are partnering up.

  • How celebrities did ‘Camp’ on the pink carpet

    Lady Gaga stole the show four.

  • EU to launch inquiry into Apple over Spotify’s complaint, report says

    Disclosure Every product here is independently.

  • NASA fits 265,000 galaxies into a single ‘Hubble Legacy Field’ image

    The image, called the Hubble Legacy.

  • Kid’s fake passport assignment leads to an instantly iconic one-liner

    Once more for the people in.

  • The immense joy of watching Tiny Shrek sprint through an obstacle course

    Look, it’s been a long week,.

  • Tesla cars are now better at keeping you in your lane

    Tesla has added two new safety.

  • Spotify and Pandora to test voice-activated ads

    Why tap on an ad when.

  • Comedian gives her family brilliant informational pamphlets before going on a date

    Anticipating her family’s inevitable questions, Mary.

  • The new ‘Child’s Play’ poster is dark stuff for ‘Toy Story’ fans

    The world’s creepiest evil doll is.

  • The meaning behind Arya’s Valyrian dagger, explained

    As unexpected as the big twist.