Saturday 18 January 2020

Time's app: new controls let you limit how long child spends on iPhone

Apple boss Tim Cook speaks in San José. Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
Apple boss Tim Cook speaks in San José. Photo: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

Adrian Weckler in San José

Apple is setting new controls for parents to limit the time their children can spend on iPhones and iPads.

The controls include restrictions 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. It's part of Apple's new iOS 12 update and will be available free to most iPhone and iPads.

The move is part of a growing consciousness among some big tech companies that children are spending too much time on their phones. 'Screen Time' 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.

Parents can choose specific apps like Phone or Books, that will always be available, even during downtime or after a limit is spent.

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.

Apple also declared war on Facebook with new features that block the social giant and other data-gobbling 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 vice-president Craig Federighi said it was part of an effort to "shut down" efforts by companies like Facebook to build businesses based on trading in people's privacy.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has publicly criticised Facebook and Google before, saying the business models of trading in personal privacy was bad for society.

Apple hopes to gain a competitive distinction by branding itself as a "privacy conscious" tech firm.

The new features were announced at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference held in San José, California.

Irish Independent

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