Screen Time: Why Apple can’t solve iPhone addiction in a vacuum

“On Monday at its annual developer’s conference, Apple unveiled several new features designed to help users understand and manage the time they spend on their iOS devices,” Robbie Gonzalez reports for Wired. “Screen Time… tracks things like which apps you use, how often you pick up your phone, and how frequently your apps buzz you for your attention. Once a week, Screen Time collects that data into a report so you can reflect on your usage habits and decide whether and where to cut back… Screen Time also lets you set limits on how much time you spend in specific apps. When you hit your quota, your phone will block the app from opening and tell you to move along.”

“Of course, limits might be more effective if they completely prevented people from using their phones… Apple allow[s] users to bypass their self-imposed restrictions. ‘And those limits are laughably easy to overcome,’ says Gabe Zichermann,” Gonzalez reports. “His app, Onward, enables users to completely cut themselves off from problem apps with a feature called Blocking… And Zichermann says it works: In a four month trial involving 1,366 Onward users, 89 percent of Blocking users reduced their device usage, and 62 percent of then reduced the frequency of their attempts to use their device.”

“If Apple were serious about providing users with evidence-based time management tools, Zichermann says, the company would have worked with third party experts, like psychologists and behavioral scientists, while creating these new features,” Gonzalez reports. “Instead, Apple solicited feedback on its finished products from organizations like Common Sense Media and people like Arianna Huffington.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Arianna Huffington?

No, not really. It seems that Huffington will be testing the features via the developer and/or public beta just like everyone else.

And, by the way: Apple has solved more issues in a vacuum than any other company in history.

iOS 12’s Screen Time feature shows how badly Apple’s iPad needs user accounts – June 5, 2018
Apple’s iOS 12 introduces new features to reduce interruptions and manage Screen Time – June 4, 2018


  1. Apple doesn’t really want to solve the supposed iPhone addiction problem. It would cut app revenue. This is a public relations ploy.

    Besides the real addition problem isn’t apps, its text messaging.

  2. If Apple’s Screen Time limits feature “…completely prevented people from using their phones…” then Apple would be facing yet another lawsuit. The owner of an iPhone must have the ability to override their self-imposed restrictions. Restrictions on minors, if imposed, are controlled by the parent/guardian.

    This appears to be the rant of a developer with an app who is pissed off because Apple is baking some functionality into iOS. Mr. Zichermann is making inflammatory statements that are intentionally misleading, Imo.

  3. Maybe Apple doesn’t want to be seen as lecturing its user base, even as is when it was announced I did feel a little in danger of being patronised. However as is it gives users the tools to control things themselves IF they are motivated to do so it would be ridiculous for them to sell products and then make people use it less by hectoring them.

  4. The whole paradigm is infantile and stupid.

    In other news, A/B/C…X/Y/Z need to solve the newspaper/radio/tv/rock and roll/pop music/sports/partying/automobile/etc/etc addiction.

    Gimme a break!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.