Instagram to Offer 'Time Spent' Usage Insights to Promote Healthy Online Habits

by

Instagram is developing a Usage Insights feature for its social media platform that will let users know how much time they're spending in the app.

TechCrunch on Tuesday highlighted code buried in the Android version of Instagram that reveals the new time management controls headed for the app, and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has since confirmed the features are indeed in development for the platform as a whole.

"It's true," said Systrom, adding in a series of tweets: "We're building tools that will help the IG community know more about the time they spend on Instagram – any time should be positive and intentional. Understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it's the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this. We want to be part of the solution. I take that responsibility seriously."

The upcoming feature reflects a recent trend by big tech companies to acknowledge the unhealthy habits that their products can promote, especially among younger users. Facebook-owned Instagram joins Google and Apple in a pool of companies that have recently confirmed they are developing methods to promote more meaningful engagement online and cut down on anti-social browsing.

Last week, Google announced several tools for users of its latest Android operating system that would help them better manage their screen time. These include a new do not disturb mode called "shush" that makes it easier for users to ignore notifications, and a "wind down" mode that gradually changes screen color to grayscale and lowers brightness as bedtime approaches.

Earlier this year, Apple responded to an open letter from two major investors asking the company to do more to reduce growing smartphone addiction among children. The letter cited several studies revealing the negative effects of smartphones and social media on children's mental and physical health, and urged Apple to offer more tools and choices to help prevent harm.

In a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal, Apple said it "thinks deeply" about how its products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. "We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids," the company explained.

The fruits of Apple's commitment could appear as soon as next month at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where users can expect a preview of iOS 12: Apple plans to offer updated parental controls in the upcoming version of its mobile OS, starting with a new Digital Health tool that will let parents know how much time their children have spent using iOS devices, which will allow parents to better monitor screen time.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
31 months ago
This is great and all, but I'd be happy with them getting notifications to work properly. In all of the years I've been using iOS and Instagram, never has that app, consistently, given me a proper lockscreen notification accompanied by a badge.

I figure that's an easy ask, seeing as how going back to a chronological feed is mortally impossible.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Translation, keep using Instagram, just responsibily :)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
“The computer argues, to put it baldly, that the most serious problems confronting us at both personal and public levels require technical solutions through fast access to information otherwise unavailable. I would argue that this is, on the face of it, nonsense. Our most serious problems are not technical, nor do they arise from inadequate information. If a nuclear catastrophe occurs, it shall not be because of inadequate information. Where people are dying of starvation, it does not occur because of inadequate information. If families break up, children are mistreated, crime terrorizes a city, education is impotent, it does not happen because of inadequate information. Mathematical equations, instantaneous communication, and vast quantities of information have nothing whatever to do with any of these problems. And the computer is useless in addressing them.”

Excerpt From: Neil Postman. “Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.”
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
It will reveal numbers that nobody will ever want to see, you can’t to go 30 seconds in New York City without seeing somebody with their face buried into that app
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

This is great and all, but I'd be happy with them getting notifications to work properly. In all of the years I've been using iOS and Instagram, never has that app, consistently, given me a proper lockscreen notification accompanied by a badge.

I figure that's an easy ask, seeing as how going back to a chronological feed is mortally impossible.

I have some notifications problems too.. They show up correctly, but tapping on one to open the app will dismiss only the one tapped. Other Instagram notifications stay and have to be manually cleared.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Hands-On With iOS 14 Widgets, Custom Icons, and Home Screen Setup

Tuesday September 22, 2020 3:25 pm PDT by
Apple with iOS 14 introduced widgets on the Home Screen, leading to unprecedented levels of customization for the iPhone. Combined with Shortcuts that let you change an app's icon, iOS 14 lets you create a whole new look for your Home Screen. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've been following along with some of the creative alternative Home Screen designs that M...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

New Version of Microsoft Office Coming Next Year That Won't Require a Subscription

Thursday September 24, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Microsoft will next year offer a new perpetual release of Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows that doesn't require a subscription to use, according to the software giant (via Windows Central). "Microsoft Office will also see a new perpetual release for both Windows and Mac, in the second half of 2021," said Microsoft in a blog post announcing the next version of its Exchange server,...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...

'iPhone 12 mini' Name Reappears in Leaked Apple iPhone 12 Case Stickers

Friday September 25, 2020 1:58 am PDT by
Earlier this week a proven leaker claimed that the iPhone 12 lineup would be named "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max," and today the same nomenclature has appeared again in a photo depicting alleged stickers from unreleased Silicone iPhone cases originating from Apple's international distribution center in Ireland. The photo shows three stickers with the...

Apple Releases iOS 14.0.1 With Fix for Bug That Resets Default Apps After Rebooting

Thursday September 24, 2020 10:12 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 14.0.1, the first update to the iOS 14 operating system that was released on September 16. Today's update is a bug fix update addressing issues that weren't able to be fixed in the initial iOS 14 launch. The iOS 14.0.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. ...

Apple Emphasizes That Solo Loop May Increase in Length Over Time, Updates Sizing Guide With More Specific Instructions

Wednesday September 23, 2020 8:26 am PDT by
Apple on Tuesday updated one of its support documents to emphasize that the new silicone rubber Solo Loop for the Apple Watch may increase in length over time, as mentioned in fine print at the bottom of the Solo Loop product page. Apple has also updated its printable Solo Loop sizing guide with more specific instructions, as noted by 9to5Mac's Michael Steeber. The guide now advises users to ...

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
Updated on September 22nd with hands on video. In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of...

Kuo: Mini-LED Displays to Debut in Apple's Next iPad Pro

Tuesday September 22, 2020 11:45 pm PDT by
Following his report earlier this week indicating that Apple will be accelerating adoption of mini-LED displays in its iPad and Mac notebook lineups thanks to better than expected development from potential secondary supplier Sanan Optoelectronics, analyst Ming-Chi has released a new report today sharing a bit more perspective on the mini-LED display market as it relates to Apple. Kuo says...