Screen Time


'Screen Time' Articles

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and others are frequently shared by kids through various social channels.“These are not rocket science, backdoor, dark web sort of hacks,” says Chris McKenna, founder of the Internet safety group Protect Young Eyes. “It blows me away that Apple hasn’t thought through the fact that a persistent middle school boy or girl can bang around and find them.”Although Apple has been making tweaks and improvements to Screen Time since its launch, some of the loopholes kids have been using to work around Screen Time limits have gone unpatched. And while Apple declined to address specific issues related to Screen Time, the company noted that it's committed to improving the feature.Apple spokeswoman Michele Wyman, in an emailed statement, said the company is “committed to providing our users with powerful tools to manage their iOS devices and are always working to make them even better.” Wyman did not comment on specific bugs and workarounds in Screen Time or the speed with which Apple addresses them.Apple rolled out Screen Time last year as part of iOS 12, and brought it to the Mac just last week with the release of macOS Catalina

Apple Reverses Course and Allows Parental Control Apps to Use MDM Technology With Stricter Privacy Requirements

As one of many updates to its App Store Review Guidelines this week, Apple has indicated that parental control app developers are again permitted to use Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology in their apps, so long as they do not sell, use, or disclose any data to third parties for any purpose. An excerpt from the newly added Guideline 5.5:You must make a clear declaration of what user data will be collected and how it will be used on an app screen prior to any user action to purchase or otherwise use the service. MDM apps must not violate local laws. Apps offering MDM services may not sell, use, or disclose to third parties any data for any purpose, and must commit to this in their privacy policy. Apps that do not comply with this guideline will be removed from the App Store and you may be removed from the Apple Developer Program.This comes a little over a month after The New York Times reported that Apple had removed or restricted many of the most popular screen time and parental control apps on the ‌App Store‌ since launching its own Screen Time feature in iOS 12 last year, raising concerns over potentially anticompetitive behavior. In response to the report, Apple said it had discovered that some parental control apps were using MDM, putting the privacy and security of children at risk. "These apps were using an enterprise technology that provided them access to kids' highly sensitive personal data," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement issued to The New York Times on Monday. "We do not think it is O.K. for any apps to help data companies track or

Parental Control App Developers Urge Apple to 'Put Kids First' by Releasing Screen Time API

Over a dozen parental control app developers have come together with a shared message for Apple: it's "time to put kids first." Together, they have launched a new website called Screen Time API that urges Apple to release a public API granting developers access to the same functionalities that iOS 12's Screen Time feature uses. The developers have even proposed their own API, complete with samples of code and a diagram of how it would work. "Protecting children online and teaching them good technology use habits are some of the biggest challenges facing modern parents," the developers plea. "That's why developers need a cross platform, open screen time API." The website, shared by The New York Times and The Verge, is a joint effort by OurPact, Kidslox, Qustodio, Screen Time Labs, Safe Lagoon, MMGuardian, Boomerang, Family Orbit, Netsanity, unGlue, Mobicip, Activate Fitness, Parents Dans Les Parages, Lilu, FamilyTime, Bosco, and Tittle. The developers were encouraged to act by Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive known as the "Father of the iPod." Fadell backed the developers in a series of tweets, and according to The New York Times, he also said he would help "push" their message "out to the world," adding "just make sure it's done BEFORE WWDC." The campaign comes a month after The New York Times reported that Apple had removed or restricted many of the most popular screen time and parental control apps on the App Store since launching its own Screen Time feature in iOS 12 last year, raising concerns over potentially anticompetitive behavior. Apple

Parental Control App Developers Urge Apple to Make Screen Time APIs Available for Third-Party Apps

Last weekend, The New York Times reported that Apple has removed or restricted many of the most popular screen time and parental control apps on the App Store since launching its own Screen Time feature in iOS 12 last year, raising concerns over potentially anticompetitive behavior. Apple was quick to respond. In both an email to a concerned customer and a press release, Apple indicated that it became aware over the last year that some parental control apps were using a technology called Mobile Device Management or "MDM" that puts users' privacy and security at risk. MDM technology is intended for enterprise users to manage their company-owned devices, and Apple says the use of MDM by consumer-focused apps carries privacy and security concerns that resulted in Apple addressing the situation in its ‌App Store‌ review guidelines in mid-2017. "Contrary to what The New York Times reported over the weekend, this isn't a matter of competition," wrote Apple. "It's a matter of security." Apple added that when it found out about these ‌App Store‌ guideline violations, it communicated with the necessary developers, giving them 30 days to submit an updated app to avoid being removed from the ‌App Store‌. In the days since, a handful of developers behind parental control apps including Qustodio, Kidslox, OurPact, and Mobicip have responded to Apple's press release with open letters, calling for the company to make the APIs behind its Screen Time feature available to the public for use in third-party apps. Eduardo Cru, co-founder of Qustodio:If safety is such a

Apple Shares More Details on Parental Control App Crackdown

Following an email from Phil Schiller to a MacRumors reader yesterday addressing a report from The New York Times on Apple's removal of a number of App Store apps focused on screen time monitoring and parental controls, Apple has issued a public statement sharing additional perspective on the situation. The statement, entitled "The facts about parental control apps," is very similar in its details to the email from Schiller, highlighting how Apple "became aware" over the last year that these apps were using Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology to monitor all of the activity occurring on the user's device or devices used by their family members. MDM technology is intended for enterprise users to manage their company-owned devices, and Apple says the use of MDM by consumer-focused apps carries privacy and security concerns that resulted in Apple addressing the situation in its ‌App Store‌ review guidelines in mid-2017. Apple says that it notified developers of apps affected by its crackdown on this disallowed usage of MDM, giving them 30 days to modify their apps before pulling them from the ‌App Store‌.Parents shouldn’t have to trade their fears of their children’s device usage for risks to privacy and security, and the ‌App Store‌ should not be a platform to force this choice. No one, except you, should have unrestricted access to manage your child’s device. When we found out about these guideline violations, we communicated these violations to the app developers, giving them 30 days to submit an updated app to avoid availability interruption in the ‌App

Phil Schiller Lays Out Apple's Case for Cracking Down on Screen Time Monitoring Apps

Earlier today, a report from The New York Times highlighted Apple's removal of a number of App Store apps that had allowed users to monitor usage of their devices or those used by their children. The report suggests that Apple's move to pull the apps is related to having rolled out its own Screen Time feature in iOS 12 that competes in some ways with these apps, raising concerns over anticompetitive behavior. Over the past year, Apple has removed or restricted at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental-control apps, according to an analysis by The New York Times and Sensor Tower, an app-data firm. Apple has also clamped down on a number of lesser-known apps. In some cases, Apple forced companies to remove features that allowed parents to control their children’s devices or that blocked children’s access to certain apps and adult content. In other cases, it simply pulled the apps from its ‌App Store‌.The report quotes several developers who had their apps removed, including one who says the removal came "out of the blue with no warning." Apple is facing several complaints related to the moves, with a pair of developers filing with the European Union's competition office and Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab filing an antitrust complaint in that country. The New York Times shared a brief statement from an Apple spokeswoman saying that Apple treats "all apps the same," including ones that compete with Apple's own features like Screen Time. The spokeswoman stated that the affected apps "could gain too much information from users' devices."

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. 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

Hands-On With iOS 12's New Screen Time Feature With App Usage Stats, App Limits and More

The iOS 12 update introduces a comprehensive set of built-in features designed to help you focus, limit distraction, monitor your iOS device usage, and get a better understanding on how you're using your time throughout the day. These new features are housed in the Screen Time section of the Settings app, which we decided to take a closer look at to give MacRumors readers eagerly awaiting the iOS 12 update an idea of what to expect from Apple's new monitoring features. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple designed Screen Time to be incredibly detailed, and it provides a surprising amount of information on how and when you're using your iPhones and iPads. With the main view, accessible in the Settings app, you can see just how much time you've spent on the iPhone each day. A bar at the top lets you know which apps you've been using, separated by category or specific app, and a small arrow lets you know whether your daily usage is higher or lower than normal. Tapping into more specific details, there's a full breakdown on every app that you've used in the last 24 hours or across the last 7 days. This breakdown shows each individual app and it displays the websites that you've been viewing. You won't see specific content that was browsed, but it will, for example, note that you spent five minutes viewing MacRumors.com. If you scroll down, you can see how many times you've picked up your phone per hour and how many total times you've picked up your phone during the day. There's also a measurement of how many notifications you've

Apple Explains How iOS 12 Will 'Help You Limit Distractions' With New 'Screen Time' Settings and More

Apple's iOS 12 update will greatly "reduce interruptions" and help users manage their digital device use, which has been an increasingly focused topic of conversation in recent months. For its implementation, Apple at WWDC announced a new section of the Settings app called "Screen Time" that breaks down how much time you spend on your iPhone or iPad each day and week. Screen Time is found under Do Not Disturb in Settings. Data includes how much time is spent in each app, app usage across categories like Games and Social Networking, and more. The app will also show the "Most Used" apps and the time spent in each, and you'll be able to set App Limits so that your iPhone can warn you when you've been using Instagram or YouTube too much. At night, there will be a Do Not Disturb during Bedtime mode aimed at helping you get a better night's sleep. The feature does this by dimming the iOS device's display and hiding all notifications until prompted in the morning, with the time and date the only thing appearing during that period. Notifications can be edited right when they appear, so you can turn them off with a button or choose to "Deliver Quietly" so they bypass your lock screen and go directly to Notification Center. Over time, Siri will make suggestions for notifications settings based on previous actions and settings you choose. Parents will also have detailed controls with a feature called "Downtime," which they can set as a block of time to limit their child's iOS device use. During Downtime, notifications aren't displayed and a badge appears on apps to