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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

The iOS 12 update introduces a comprehensive set of built-in features designed to help you focus, limit distraction, monitor your iOS device usage, and get a better understanding on how you're using your time throughout the day.

These new features are housed in the Screen Time section of the Settings app, which we decided to take a closer look at to give MacRumors readers eagerly awaiting the iOS 12 update an idea of what to expect from Apple's new monitoring features.

Apple designed Screen Time to be incredibly detailed, and it provides a surprising amount of information on how and when you're using your iPhones and iPads. With the main view, accessible in the Settings app, you can see just how much time you've spent on the iPhone each day.

A bar at the top lets you know which apps you've been using, separated by category or specific app, and a small arrow lets you know whether your daily usage is higher or lower than normal.


Tapping into more specific details, there's a full breakdown on every app that you've used in the last 24 hours or across the last 7 days. This breakdown shows each individual app and it displays the websites that you've been viewing. You won't see specific content that was browsed, but it will, for example, note that you spent five minutes viewing

If you scroll down, you can see how many times you've picked up your phone per hour and how many total times you've picked up your phone during the day. There's also a measurement of how many notifications you've received and which apps are sending them most frequently.


A report is available each week with a summary of your device usage across the last seven days, and you can also quickly get a glimpse of how you're using your device through a Screen Time widget in the Today Center.

Apple makes no recommendations based on Screen Time information, with the company simply providing the data so you can decide for yourself if you're spending too much time on your devices and want to alter your usage habits. Screen Time collects data from every iOS device where you're logged into your Apple ID, but it does not include Mac data.

If you do want to cut down on app usage, Apple has included App Limits, which let you set a time limit on app categories. So, for example, if you want to spend less time on Instagram or playing games, you can set a time limit, with Apple delivering a notification when your time is up.


Downtime similarly restricts access to content on the iPhone for when you'd like to be left alone to focus, while new notification control options and Do Not Disturb features also give you new ways to cut back.


All of these features are also available to parents, who can use them through Family Sharing to better monitor how their kids are spending time on their iOS devices and introduce necessary limitations.


What do you think of Apple's new Screen Time features? For more details on how Screen Time, notifications, Do Not Disturb, and Downtime, and App Limits work together to give you more control over your devices, make sure to check out our iOS 12 roundup.

Article Link: Hands-On With iOS 12's New Screen Time Feature With App Usage Stats, App Limits and More


macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2010
As a numbers guy, I know I'll be fascinated with this feature. :)
As a guy that probably spends too much time on his phone, I'm terrified by what I may learn from this feature. :eek:


macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2015
Atlanta, GA
Actually “seeing” child’s usage doesn’t work currently and the child can turn OFF downtime from their phone since Orbison’s Locke’s down with a passcode. But the app limits do work well so there is hope.


macrumors newbie
Nov 5, 2012
Hmm, can other family members (who are also parents) see all statistics of each other? That would not be good... things like number of messages received and such are quite private.

(I CAN see other parents, but in my case they havent installed te ios beta version. So i only see empty stats for now...)


Sep 21, 2008
"Silly" comes to mind as a thought, except for maybe the kiddie controls. No one seems to be in control of their faculties.

Have to agree. If you need this to know you're using your phone too much, there's a problem. Self control seems to be lacking with a lot of people these days. The other thing that makes this silly, you just have to excuse the limit and give yourself more to bypass it. What's the point?

It seems really nice for parents making sure their kids don't become tech zombies though. Adults needing this, pure sadness.

now i see it

macrumors G4
Jan 2, 2002
For some reason this feature reminds me of doctors who prescribe opioids for some pain and get their patients addicted, then when the patient is fully hooked, they start talking about getting them off it.

Those of us who are 'addicted' to iPhones don't want the drug to be withdrawn.


macrumors newbie
Nov 18, 2014
Am I the only one that thinks this is kinda creepy especially when Apple is talking so much about Privacy.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2012
"Your phone has been doing this since the original iPhone. We just now chose to share it with you."


macrumors Penryn
Nov 14, 2011
I’ve encountered bugs with this so far. Most mornings I can’t get into any apps. I launch an app and it freezes. Or my home screen shows an hour glass next to every app but settings. And this is long after downtime is over. Weird.

August West

macrumors 6502
Aug 23, 2009
Land of Enchantment
I can see the additional Do Not Disturb options being useful addition, but not to keep people off their phones. The rest of it is waste of resources IMHO. If you can't control your phone usage these other features aren't going to help you.


macrumors newbie
Jul 23, 2011
Hate to make assumptions, but I am going to assume those here denigrating the feature aren't parents of young kids.
I for one am very happy to see this feature finally making an appearance!
One kid is quite good at tracking time on the iPad and self-limiting, the other is utterly hopeless. Being able to set unlimited use for say FaceTime and Sonos app, lots for the Kindle app, and a little for other brainless drivel they want to use is golden.
It will save me having to dish out blanket iPad bans and avoid the family drama the imposition of such bans brings.
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