iPhone's Screen Distance Feature on iOS 17 Can Help Reduce Eye Strain

iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 include a new Screen Distance feature that can alert you when you hold an iPhone or iPad too close to your eyes for an extended period. Apple says the opt-in feature is designed to help lower the risk of nearsightedness in children by encouraging healthy viewing habits, and can help reduce eye strain overall.

iOS 17 iPhone Screen Distance
Screen Distance can be turned on in the Settings app under Screen Time → Screen Distance, and is available on all iPhone and iPad Pro models with Face ID. The feature uses the same TrueDepth camera that powers Face ID to measure the distance between the screen and your eyes, and a full-screen alert prompts users to move their device farther away after holding it closer than 12 inches to their eyes for an extended period.

When the feature is enabled, users will receive an "iPhone is Too Close" warning as necessary. After the iPhone is moved to a safe distance, a checkmark will appear on the screen, and users can tap the "Continue" button to proceed.

iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 will be released later this year, and are currently available in beta for users with an Apple developer account. Devices compatible with Screen Distance include the iPhone XS and newer, and 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released in 2018 and later. The feature can be turned on or off at any time.

Related Roundups: iOS 17, iPadOS 17
Related Forums: iOS 17, iPadOS 17

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Top Rated Comments

magicschoolbus Avatar
13 months ago
Apple: Don't hold this device close to your face
Apple: Here's a device you can strap to your face
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UndefinedxJoker Avatar
13 months ago
The irony of introducing this feature alongside the Vision Pro is astonishing.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jim Lahey Avatar
13 months ago
RE: Comments vis-à-vis Vision Pro, this may not be as it seems. I understand it’s the focal length that is the driving factor, not the distance to the actual screen/s per se. This is evidenced by near sighted people still needing to wear their prescription when using VR/AR, despite the source of the image being inches from their eyes.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CC77 Avatar
13 months ago

The irony of introducing this feature alongside the Vision Pro is astonishing.
Lol, I thought the same thing. Your phone is too close to your face, but let’s strap a 4K screen to each eyeball. Normal!
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjp1 Avatar
13 months ago

This feature got annoying after half a day... it would get rid of the notification only after my arm was so far out that it became annoying to hold (and my arm got sore).

Two things I took from it - I'm too addicted to my iPhone so disabled it, and owning a mini makes me hold my phone so close to see what is on there that I should probably get a regular sized iPhone next upgrade cycle...

So, that is to say, the feature works!
To be honest, sounds like you need your vision checked.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wesley96 Avatar
13 months ago

RE: Comments vis-à-vis Vision Pro, this may not be as it seems. I understand it’s the focal length that is the driving factor, not the distance to the actual screen/s power se. This is evidenced by near sighted people still needing to wear their prescription when using VR/AR.
Yep, it's all about how near or far your eye tries to focus on. Even if the display element is an inch away from you, the optics in a VR/AR headset makes it as if it's several inches to a few feet away and your eyes focus accordingly. That's what the lenses in the smartphone VR goggles like Google Cardboard does as well.

That being said, the timing of the availability of this feature is still amusing.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)