So, you were passing by the watercooler at work or standing in the church lobby before the service, and you heard someone say that Apple is introducing some new features for the iPhone that parents will be really, really happy about. And you were wondering if that’s true. Well, let me confirm that, yep, it is. And just in case you haven’t heard any details, I’ll give you some insight into a couple tools that I thought were pretty hunky dory.
No, I’m not talking about the fact that the iOS 12 update will let you make your cute little Animoji wink, or the fact that Siri will now be hip to motorsport info or able to spill more gossip on your favorite celebrity. Sure, those bits are all in there with lots of other fluff, but I’m talking about some truly useful additions.
It seems that Apple has come to understand that the little wonder device they’ve created can actually be unhealthy. It can suck up a great deal of your attention and turn you and your kids into virtual automatons, hopelessly locked into a hunched-over glaze. So come this fall, they’ll be giving you iPhone users a few tools that’ll help pry a few pairs of eyes away from that tiny screen.
One of those tools is Screen Time, a page that gives users a constantly updating report on just what they’re doing with their time on the phone. Did you spend the afternoon gaming for 3 hours, streaming Friends for 45 minutes, checking YouTube and Facebook for a half-hour each and maybe invest two or three minutes on an actual phone call? Screen Time will keep track of it all.
That page will also allow users to set time limits on certain apps (ie: limiting Instagram use to a 30 min. max), set up restrictions on certain levels of viewing content and even let you schedule times when the phone goes completely dark (though it will allow certain calls or emergency messages to filter through).
And it’s not just discerning adults managing their own usage that’s a part of the equation here. Moms and dads will have the ability to remotely access their kids’ phones and their activity reports and set up limits on those phones, as well. If you want to, for instance, make sure Junior only gets an hour of social media time per day and set his phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., you can.
Of course, Apple offers all kinds of variations that can be applied according to your preferences. If you want the Books app left on during bedtime, or the phone or Messages app available for connections even after entertainment allowances have been spent, you can set things up that way. (And, of course, you can ignore the whole shebang and not have any limits at all.) And, according to Apple, that’s just the tip of this technological iceberg.
Check out the official Apple announcement here to see what some of those options look like.
iOS 12 is in beta release right now and will release officially this September. We’ll give you some more hands-on insights when we get them. See you then.