Apple's Greg Joswiak Speaks About Screen Time in New Podcast

Greg Joswiak, Apple's VP of iOS, iPad, and iPhone Product Marketing, recently sat down with Arianna Huffington on the Thrive Global Podcast to discuss the new Screen Time feature that Apple implemented for the iPhone 5s and later in iOS 12.

According to Joswiak, information is the "cornerstone" of what Apple is doing with Screen Time. The company's goal is to provide people with information about how they're using their apps so they can come to their own conclusions about whether they're happy with their usage statistics.

ios 12 screen time

If you ask people how much they're using their devices, they can only guess. If you ask them how much they're using a particular app or category of app, they can only guess. I almost guarantee you their guesses are wrong. So what we wanted to do was provide people with the real information about how much they're using devices, apps, categories of apps, and how many notifications they're getting. These things are very measurable.

With Screen Time, built into iOS 12, users can get a complete overview on how much time is spent on each of their devices on a daily or weekly basis, with Apple offering up a weekly report. Joswiak says Apple wanted to make it as easy as possible, which is why iOS 12 asks people to opt in at sign up and delivers automatic reports each week.

Apple is hoping people will be "more cognizant" of what they're doing on their devices, using the Screen Time information to make better choices. Joswiak believes the vast majority of people will turn Screen Time on and will use the information to regulate behavior. That's how he uses Screen Time - awareness without imposing limits.

For me, I couldn't imagine leaving my home in the morning without my iPhone. I think like most people. I still found it fascinating to be able to open up the Screen Time app and see where I was spending my time. [...] That information was useful for me to regulate myself a to the behavior that I want. I didn't need limits, I just needed that information.

Even with children, Joswiak thinks parents will benefit most from being able to have an "intelligent conversation" about device usage with real data usage rather than implementing parental controls, but the controls are there for parents who need them.

Because of Apple's focus on user privacy, no data about Screen Time or app usage information is sent to Apple or any third party. Apple can tell who has Screen Time enabled and who doesn't for users who send diagnostic information to the company, but data is otherwise "available only to you."

Joswiak also highlighted iOS 12's features for cutting down on notifications, such as Instant Tuning, which lets you quickly turn off notifications for a particularly bothersome app without having to dig into the settings. Do Not Disturb has also been expanded in iOS 12 with new options that let it be turned on for an hour or a critical event.

Apple was not concerned with people using their devices less as a result of Screen Time, because it aims to provide the best usage experience, not the longest. "We don't need to make you use it every minute of every day," said Joswiak. "Our business model doesn't depend on how much you use your devices."

Screen Time was not developed because of the well-known shareholder's letter that called on Apple urging Apple to do more to protect children from smartphone addiction. Screen Time was conceptualized well over a year ago with the idea that Apple "wants to empower people with Apple."

"It's not a kids thing," explained Joswiak. "It's an everybody thing." Apple didn't set out to create a solution for parents to lock down their children's devices, it was created to give everyone information on how devices are being used. "Apple is not reactionary," said Joswiak. "We bring out features we think are going to help people."

Screen Time is available for all devices starting with the 2013 iPhone 5s, and bringing these kinds of new features is to millions of iOS users is something that only Apple can do, according to Joswiak. He says that soon, 80 percent of the user base will be using the latest version of iOS 12, which is "staggering."


Joswiak says that Apple has "lots of ideas" on how to take Screen Time further in the future. "We know there's lots more we'll want to do over time," he said.

Related Forum: iOS 12

Top Rated Comments

iLoveDeveloping Avatar
37 months ago
Is it just me or is screen time really buggy? Sometimes it says I’ve been on instagram 30 mins and I know I’ve been on it for like an hour (yes I’m an addict), it only shows 3-4 days then everything is reset (I have yet to get a full weeks data) and it says I have 33 unlocks today and that’s total nonsense I’ve maybe opened my phone 5 times today it’s been in my pocket all day. Is my broken or is it just another great “feature”, from modern day Apple. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
37 months ago
When my son's screentime kicks on, he now goes into settings and turns his personal hotspot on and plays on his laptop. Please let us choose what the kids can do and can't do.
So let me get this straight. You KNOW your son is bypassing a curb you set for him and yet you need Apple to tell you how to remedy the situation? Here, I’ll save you some time:

“Son, I busted you trying to get around a rule I set, so you are grounded and I am taking your laptop away. I’m your parent, not your friend and since I know how to do this, I am setting a rule and you will follow it. Throwing a fit? Go clean the basement or I’m taking away your phone as well. And no, you can’t go out either.”
[doublepost=1538428440][/doublepost]
I was so pleased when I found a way to disable Screen Time.

If I want a babysitter who monitors how often I use my device, I'll hire one.
Same excuse people use for not having a bathroom scale.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baymowe335 Avatar
37 months ago
This is a pretty cynical move by Apple. They know that their devices are causing problems but they place the blame back on the user. It reminds me of the suggested serving size limits on junk food.



That's so misleading, their business model absolutely is based on how much people use their devices. The bigger and more absorbing the device is, the more apps and services you buy and Apple makes 30% on all sales. The more you use your device, the more likely you are to buy an iPhone XS Max than keep your old iPhone 6 which still works fine, etc.
Why is the user not to blame?

Apple doesn't force you to use your device too much.

This is the insane thought process of society of today. It's always some else's fault.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Will.O.Bie Avatar
37 months ago
If you need Screen Time to tell you that you've been on IG, Twitter, YouTube, for a long time, then you have bigger problems than a buggy app. I've seen people walk into light poles, almost hit by a car, bumped into an old lady with a walker causing her to lose balance coz they can't seem to unglue their faces off their phones. It's the addiction that's the problem.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sinsin07 Avatar
37 months ago
I've been using the same screen time for years.
The clock.
When it reaches the end of their "screen time", devices are put away.
A check on the children to confirm.
All not in compliance will deal with the "consequences".
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
37 months ago
Thanks goodness we have Nazi's like you to tell us all how to live. I can't believe I've raised a family, and been successful in my career without your guidance. Oh, please tell us all what else we must do - because you deem it so.
LOL so someone grounding their child for not listening to their parents’ rules is a “nazi” now? Jesus wept. If you’re so successful then you wouldn’t be on this board making excuses for someone saying their kid won’t listen to basic home rules. As for your career? No one cares about your job title or income when it comes to bad parenting. No one.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
Apple watch series 5 new case material made of titanium 091019

Titanium Apple Watch Series 6 Models Currently Widely Unavailable

Sunday August 1, 2021 6:21 am PDT by
Models of the Apple Watch Series 6 with titanium cases part of the "Apple Watch Edition" collection is currently widely unavailable for pick-up in several of Apple's retail stores in the United States and is unavailable entirely for delivery in major markets. Noted by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, titanium models of the Apple Watch Series 6,...
ifixit iphone12 mini

Apple to Make Space for Larger Batteries in iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks By Adopting Slimmer Peripheral Chips

Monday August 2, 2021 2:12 am PDT by
For future iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, Apple plans to use smaller internal components in an effort to increase the size of the device's battery, according to DigiTimes. Image Credit: iFixit Specifically, Apple plans to "significantly increase the adoption" of IPDs or integrated passive devices for the peripheral chips in its products. These news chips will be slimmer in size and allow for...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature

Unreleased Apple Macs and Apple Watches Listed in Eurasian Database Ahead of Fall Product Launches

Monday August 2, 2021 9:34 am PDT by
Apple is preparing for a slew of fall product launches according to new filings that showed up today in the Eurasian Economic Commission database. There are listings for new Mac and Apple Watch models, all of which have previously unknown model identifiers that indicate that they're upcoming devices. There are six new Apple Watch identifiers, including A2473, A2474, A2475, A2476, A2477, and...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...
youtube premium lite

YouTube Tests Cheaper 'Premium Lite' Subscription for Ad-Free Viewing

Monday August 2, 2021 3:22 am PDT by
YouTube is piloting a new cheaper subscription tier in Europe called "Premium Lite," which offers ad-free viewing minus YouTube Premium's other features. First spotted by a user on ResetEra and subsequently confirmed by Google, the "Lite" plan means users who aren't interested in offline downloads or background playback can still enjoy YouTube videos on web and mobile app without being...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
COVID19 Digital Wallet Apple Wallet

Australian Government Now Offering COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificates for Apple Wallet

Monday August 2, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
The Australian government has introduced support for adding COVID-19 vaccination digital certificates to Apple Wallet via the Express Plus Medicare app on iOS. Image credit: Tap Down Under As spotted by Tap Down Under, users who have received two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine now have access to the digital certificate through their Medicare online account or via the Medica...