The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is usually an occasion where the company rolls the latest apps and features it thinks will help keep you glued to your iPhone. This year, the company announced that Apple would be joining the fight against smartphone addiction with the “Digital Health” initiative.
iOS 12 is rolling out a series of new tools aimed at making it a little easier to kick that obsessive Twitter scrolling habit, including a much desired nighttime mode. According to recent data from Deloitte, nearly half of smartphone consumers have attempted to limit their phone use in the past. Here’s how Apple is trying to make unplugging a little easier.
WWDC 2018 Digital Health: Dark Appearance for MacOS 10.14
One common way platforms and developers are trying to combat the effects of smartphone addiction is by limiting the amount of blue light that’s emitted by the screens, which some scientists think may help cause sleeplessness. To that end, the new version of the Mac operating system will enable a nighttime mode, Dark Appearance, which will re-skin the interface so that it’s a little easier on the eyes.
WWDC 2018 Digital Health: What Is Screen Time?
Much like Google’s “Digital Wellbeing” dashboard, users will now receive a breakdown of how many hours you’re spending on each individual app on your phone. Seeing a list of how much time you spend engrossed in your own virtual world might be intimidating, but it could be helpful cutting back. You’ll also get insights like how often you’re logging into certain apps, and which apps are more likely to send you notifications that draw you in.
WWDC 2018 Digital Health: Grouped Notifications
Siri will now also suggest that you shut off apps you’re no longer using, or make recommendations for notifications that are bothering you more often. Notifications will also be grouped by thread or category, meaning that with a single swipe you’ll be able to “triage” a whole slew of notifications away.
WWDC 2018 Digital Health: Apple Allowances
Don’t want to receive any notifications? No problem, Apple’s revised Do Not Disturb function will also allow you to set specific times to mute your phone without having to manually change your notification settings.
Starting on the new OS, you’ll also be able to set allowances which limit how long you’ll be able to use a given app throughout the day. You also can grant yourself extensions, if you want. You’ll also be able to use a Downtime feature which prevents you (or perhaps your kids) from playing games before bedtime, for example, or allow you block yourself from using Instagram during the workday.
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