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

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
back to school 2024

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launches, Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Thursday June 20, 2024 4:29 am PDT by
Apple has launched its annual Back to School promotion for college students in the United States. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with any new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac, and a $100 gift card with the purchase of any new M4 iPad ...
iOS 17

Apple Releases First Public Beta of iOS 17.6

Thursday June 20, 2024 10:18 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first betas of upcoming iOS 17.6 and iPadOS 17.6 updates to public beta testers, with the betas coming a few days after the initial iOS and iPadOS 17.6 developer betas. Public beta testers can get the beta by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 Public Beta....

Top Rated Comments

iLoveDeveloping Avatar
75 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
75 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
75 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
75 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
75 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
75 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)