Monday 18 June 2018

Apple will now allow parents to control time children spend on iPhones and iPads

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Worldwide Developer conference in San Jose, California
Photo: REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook speaks at the Apple Worldwide Developer conference in San Jose, California Photo: REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

Adrian Weckler in San Jose

Apple is setting new controls for parents to control the amount of time that their children can spend on iPhones and iPads.

The controls include time limits on specific apps or the whole phone. Once the time limit expires, the phone needs parental input to continue working.

The feature, ‘Screen Time’, is account-based and works across all of a child’s iOS devices.

Parents set the Screen Time settings remotely for their child within a ‘Family Sharing’ group or directly on the child’s device.

Settings, reports and allowances are based on total usage.

Using the new feature. Parents can access their child’s activity report from their own iPhone or iPad to see where their child spends their time. They can then set App Limits for them.

The ‘Screen Time’ feature gives parents the ability to schedule a block of time to limit when their child’s iOS device can’t be used, such as at bedtime. During ‘downtime’, notifications from apps won’t be displayed and a badge will appear on apps to indicate they are not allowed to be used. Parents can choose specific apps like Phone or Books, that will always be available, even during downtime or after a limit is spent.

The App Limits feature allows people to set a specific amount of time to be in an app, and a notification will display when a time limit is about to expire.

It creates daily and weekly activity reports that show the total time a person spends in each app they use, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications they receive and how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad.

The new feature was announced at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), held in California.

Other new features launched included group FaceTime messages with up to 32 people able to participate in a FaceTime call.

Apple also announced that it wants to block Facebook and other social media companies from tracking iPhone, iPad and Mac users around the web.

When an ad tracks a user through information gleaned from Facebook or another data-sharing company, Apple devices will ask users whether they want to allow the tracking to happen.

Apple will also not be merging iOS and MacOS, according to Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi.

“Of course not,” he said. “We love the Mac. It’s explicitly created for Mac hardware and has flexibility of storage and power.”

However, he said that iOS apps will be made to work on Macs easier with new developer tools.

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