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Greg Joswiak, Apple's VP of iOS, iPad, and iPhone Product Marketing, recently sat down with Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast to discuss the new Screen Time feature that Apple implemented for the iPhone 5s and later in iOS 12.

According to Joswiak, information is the "cornerstone" of what Apple is doing with Screen Time. The company's goal is to provide people with information about how they're using their apps so they can come to their own conclusions about whether they're happy with their usage statistics.

ios-12-screen-time-800x515.jpg
If you ask people how much they're using their devices, they can only guess. If you ask them how much they're using a particular app or category of app, they can only guess. I almost guarantee you their guesses are wrong. So what we wanted to do was provide people with the real information about how much they're using devices, apps, categories of apps, and how many notifications they're getting. These things are very measurable.
With Screen Time, built into iOS 12, users can get a complete overview on how much time is spent on each of their devices on a daily or weekly basis, with Apple offering up a weekly report. Joswiak says Apple wanted to make it as easy as possible, which is why iOS 12 asks people to opt in at sign up and delivers automatic reports each week.

Apple is hoping people will be "more cognizant" of what they're doing on their devices, using the Screen Time information to make better choices. Joswiak believes the vast majority of people will turn Screen Time on and will use the information to regulate behavior. That's how he uses Screen Time - awareness without imposing limits.
For me, I couldn't imagine leaving my home in the morning without my iPhone. I think like most people. I still found it fascinating to be able to open up the Screen Time app and see where I was spending my time. [...] That information was useful for me to regulate myself a to the behavior that I want. I didn't need limits, I just needed that information.
Even with children, Joswiak thinks parents will benefit most from being able to have an "intelligent conversation" about device usage with real data usage rather than implementing parental controls, but the controls are there for parents who need them.

Because of Apple's focus on user privacy, no data about Screen Time or app usage information is sent to Apple or any third party. Apple can tell who has Screen Time enabled and who doesn't for users who send diagnostic information to the company, but data is otherwise "available only to you."

Joswiak also highlighted iOS 12's features for cutting down on notifications, such as Instant Tuning, which lets you quickly turn off notifications for a particularly bothersome app without having to dig into the settings. Do Not Disturb has also been expanded in iOS 12 with new options that let it be turned on for an hour or a critical event.

Apple was not concerned with people using their devices less as a result of Screen Time, because it aims to provide the best usage experience, not the longest. "We don't need to make you use it every minute of every day," said Joswiak. "Our business model doesn't depend on how much you use your devices."

Screen Time was not developed because of the well-known shareholder's letter that called on Apple urging Apple to do more to protect children from smartphone addiction. Screen Time was conceptualized well over a year ago with the idea that Apple "wants to empower people with Apple."

"It's not a kids thing," explained Joswiak. "It's an everybody thing." Apple didn't set out to create a solution for parents to lock down their children's devices, it was created to give everyone information on how devices are being used. "Apple is not reactionary," said Joswiak. "We bring out features we think are going to help people."

Screen Time is available for all devices starting with the 2013 iPhone 5s, and bringing these kinds of new features is to millions of iOS users is something that only Apple can do, according to Joswiak. He says that soon, 80 percent of the user base will be using the latest version of iOS 12, which is "staggering."


Joswiak says that Apple has "lots of ideas" on how to take Screen Time further in the future. "We know there's lots more we'll want to do over time," he said.

Article Link: Apple's Greg Joswiak Speaks About Screen Time in New Podcast
 

iLoveDeveloping

Suspended
Sep 24, 2009
596
2,366
Ireland
Is it just me or is screen time really buggy? Sometimes it says I’ve been on instagram 30 mins and I know I’ve been on it for like an hour (yes I’m an addict), it only shows 3-4 days then everything is reset (I have yet to get a full weeks data) and it says I have 33 unlocks today and that’s total nonsense I’ve maybe opened my phone 5 times today it’s been in my pocket all day. Is my broken or is it just another great “feature”, from modern day Apple. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

scottct1

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2012
312
616
Connecticut USA
This is the most half assed feature Apple has released in a long long time.

Very buggy, needs lots of improvements.

When my son's screentime kicks on, he now goes into settings and turns his personal hotspot on and plays on his laptop. Please let us choose what the kids can do and can't do.

At least they fixed the bug where when screentime kicks in they could go in and change the time on the phone to a non screentime time.
 

macduke

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,276
20,013
It still needs a lot of work. I've had it be pretty flakey and inaccurate with the reporting. There are also a lot of kids out there who have found workarounds to beat the system. Kinda sad that kids could hack the system and yet Apple's engineers making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year couldn't. Makes me think they didn't put adequate time into testing any of it.

Now that I have upgraded from Apple Watch Series 0 to a Series 4 that has cellular, I'd like to try out not bringing my iPhone with me as often so I can disconnect better. I feel like I get sucked into my big iPhone screen more than my Apple Watch, but the big downside is no web browser to look things up such as prices at the store (I do a lot of comparison shopping) and no camera.
 

sinsin07

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2009
3,607
2,662
I've been using the same screen time for years.
The clock.
When it reaches the end of their "screen time", devices are put away.
A check on the children to confirm.
All not in compliance will deal with the "consequences".
 

alexnyc8

macrumors member
Sep 18, 2018
61
72
Great feature but extremely unfinished - incorrect times shown, and sometimes time is not tracked at all.
The only concern is how and were this data is stored, and does it in any way end up "In the cloud" available to the highest bidder (especially browsing history). Probably a rhetorical question...
 

bluecoast

macrumors 68020
Nov 7, 2017
2,226
2,645
I like Screentime, but it does seem to be an early functional beta without the user-friendliness that you'd expect from Apple - i.e. more of a nicer initial set up.

And it seems to pause to redraw its data often on the widget that I've got, pretty often.

Great that Apple have got plans to enhance it and aren't just releasing it, to alleviate pressure from the 'time well spent' movement, with it never to be touched again.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
14,949
21,802
This is the most half assed feature Apple has released in a long long time.

Very buggy, needs lots of improvements.

When my son's screentime kicks on, he now goes into settings and turns his personal hotspot on and plays on his laptop. Please let us choose what the kids can do and can't do.

At least they fixed the bug where when screentime kicks in they could go in and change the time on the phone to a non screentime time.
Clearly very buggy...but what in the world does your son using his hotspot on a laptop have to do with screen time????
 
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actcyclist

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2017
332
476
This is a pretty cynical move by Apple. They know that their devices are causing problems but they place the blame back on the user. It reminds me of the suggested serving size limits on junk food.

"Our business model doesn't depend on how much you use your devices."

That's so misleading, their business model absolutely is based on how much people use their devices. The bigger and more absorbing the device is, the more apps and services you buy and Apple makes 30% on all sales. The more you use your device, the more likely you are to buy an iPhone XS Max than keep your old iPhone 6 which still works fine, etc.
 

Baymowe335

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Oct 6, 2017
6,640
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This is a pretty cynical move by Apple. They know that their devices are causing problems but they place the blame back on the user. It reminds me of the suggested serving size limits on junk food.



That's so misleading, their business model absolutely is based on how much people use their devices. The bigger and more absorbing the device is, the more apps and services you buy and Apple makes 30% on all sales. The more you use your device, the more likely you are to buy an iPhone XS Max than keep your old iPhone 6 which still works fine, etc.
Why is the user not to blame?

Apple doesn't force you to use your device too much.

This is the insane thought process of society of today. It's always some else's fault.
 

Will.O.Bie

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2016
458
1,171
If you need Screen Time to tell you that you've been on IG, Twitter, YouTube, for a long time, then you have bigger problems than a buggy app. I've seen people walk into light poles, almost hit by a car, bumped into an old lady with a walker causing her to lose balance coz they can't seem to unglue their faces off their phones. It's the addiction that's the problem.
 

m0sher

macrumors 6502a
Mar 4, 2018
815
783
I noticed a battery drain of about 20% extra by end of the day while using screen time verse not using screen time.

It wasn’t scientific testing or anything, just giving an average. Now that I have it turned off my battery life is as it was.
 

autumnpatchouli

macrumors member
Oct 21, 2014
72
119
Central USA
It seems to me that this app is indicative of companies running out of innovative tech to add to cell phones. C'mon, if you can't figure out you're using your phone too much, no app is going to sway your use. The disable while driving is similar. Don't pick up your phone while you are driving. It falls on deaf ears anyway. I cycle on city streets all the time, and I would say at least 70% of drivers are either talking on their phones, or looking down at their laps at texts, or are actually texting.

I wish Apple would spend more time on their photo app, because compared to Google Photos, it's way behind. Search is terrible. As evidenced in the last few iPhone presentations, technological advances (except for facial recognition to open the phone) is bottoming out. Instead, we get those fairly useless apps, or unnecessary 512GB of storage.
 
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tkermit

macrumors 68040
Feb 20, 2004
3,582
2,910
Is it just me or is screen time really buggy? Sometimes it says I’ve been on instagram 30 mins and I know I’ve been on it for like an hour (yes I’m an addict), it only shows 3-4 days then everything is reset (I have yet to get a full weeks data) and it says I have 33 unlocks today and that’s total nonsense I’ve maybe opened my phone 5 times today it’s been in my pocket all day. Is my broken or is it just another great “feature”, from modern day Apple. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Agreed. Which is why I've already turned it off. Not exactly a feature I had been waiting for, either, so I guess it's fine.
 

Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
2,445
7,444
Silicon Valley, CA
When my son's screentime kicks on, he now goes into settings and turns his personal hotspot on and plays on his laptop. Please let us choose what the kids can do and can't do.

So let me get this straight. You KNOW your son is bypassing a curb you set for him and yet you need Apple to tell you how to remedy the situation? Here, I’ll save you some time:

“Son, I busted you trying to get around a rule I set, so you are grounded and I am taking your laptop away. I’m your parent, not your friend and since I know how to do this, I am setting a rule and you will follow it. Throwing a fit? Go clean the basement or I’m taking away your phone as well. And no, you can’t go out either.”
[doublepost=1538428440][/doublepost]
I was so pleased when I found a way to disable Screen Time.

If I want a babysitter who monitors how often I use my device, I'll hire one.

Same excuse people use for not having a bathroom scale.
 

Hodar1

macrumors regular
So let me get this straight. You KNOW your son is bypassing a curb you set for him and yet you need Apple to tell you how to remedy the situation? Here, I’ll save you some time:

“Son, I busted you trying to get around a rule I set, so you are grounded and I am taking your laptop away. I’m your parent, not your friend and since I know how to do this, I am setting a rule and you will follow it. Throwing a fit? Go clean the basement or I’m taking away your phone as well. And no, you can’t go out either.”
[doublepost=1538428440][/doublepost]

Same excuse people use for not having a bathroom scale.
Thanks goodness we have Nazi's like you to tell us all how to live. I can't believe I've raised a family, and been successful in my career without your guidance. Oh, please tell us all what else we must do - because you deem it so.
 
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Kaibelf

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Apr 29, 2009
2,445
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Silicon Valley, CA
Thanks goodness we have Nazi's like you to tell us all how to live. I can't believe I've raised a family, and been successful in my career without your guidance. Oh, please tell us all what else we must do - because you deem it so.

LOL so someone grounding their child for not listening to their parents’ rules is a “nazi” now? Jesus wept. If you’re so successful then you wouldn’t be on this board making excuses for someone saying their kid won’t listen to basic home rules. As for your career? No one cares about your job title or income when it comes to bad parenting. No one.
 
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chucker23n1

macrumors G3
Dec 7, 2014
8,639
11,456
Screen time will become an awful lot more useful for me when it becomes available in macOS and can thus show data across the devices I actually use.

(edit) To clarify: right now, I get a weekly report that tells me I used my phone less or more — and in my mind, I'm always thinking: "Sure! Because instead, I used the Mac more or less!" It's not an actual net change.
 
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boomer11

macrumors 6502
Sep 23, 2014
316
310
another half baked idea from apple. the only thing its good for is to check how much porn your significant other or kid is watching. i mean who wouldn't want apple to know EXACTLY what website you visit and for how long right?
 

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