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Hooked on your iPhone? Apple’s new update could help cure your addiction

The new features have been introduced as part of Apple’s Digital Health initiative

APPLE this week launched an update to iPhones and iPads – designed so people use them LESS.

The iOS 12 digital detox tools were introduced amid concerns users, particularly kids, spend too much time on the devices.

 Are you hooked to your mobile?
Getty - Contributor
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Are you hooked to your mobile?

At the firm’s annual conference, Apple’s Craig Federighi said: “Some apps demand more of our attention than we might realise.

“For some of us, it’s become such a habit that we might not recognise just how distracted we’ve become. He outlined how three key features will work together to help people use their devices less under Apple’s Digital Health initiative.

  1. SCREEN TIME provides daily and weekly updates of iPhone and iPad use. It will show the total time spent in each app, usage across similar types of apps, such as social networking, and how many notifications are received.
     Screen Time is designed to track your use of apps and help you set limits and even block certain apps
    apple
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    Screen Time is designed to track your use of apps and help you set limits and even block certain apps

    It can even show how often you pick up your phone and set limits for apps based on that data.

    For example, if you set a time limit of one hour for Instagram, it will warn you when there is five minutes left — and block the screen when the hour is up. Users can bypass this, however. Apple reckons the feature will be “especially helpful for kids and families”.

    Parents can monitor and set limits for their kids from their own iPhone.Screen Time also lets mums and dads schedule a block of time when their child’s iPhone or iPad cannot be used, such as at bedtime. But they can allow specific apps, such as Books and phone calling, to work.

  2. New ways to manage NOTIFICATIONS help users to cut back on distracting alerts flashing up on the screen.
     This feature is designed for users to limit the amount of distracting pings they get from texts, social media and news via smarter Notifications
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    This feature is designed for users to limit the amount of distracting pings they get from texts, social media and news via smarter Notifications

    It will be easier to turn them off, including when tapping on one on the lock screen. Apple will also suggest users stop alerts from an app if they rarely read them or click on them.

  3. A revamped DO NOT ­DISTURB — which can be switched on to block calls and texts at night — has a raft of new features. It can now block notifications at any time, such as during playtime with the kids or at dinner.
     A beefed-up Do Not Disturb function should ward off bedtime browsing and improve sleep
    apple
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    A beefed-up Do Not Disturb function should ward off bedtime browsing and improve sleep

    Plus, a new Do Not Disturb during bedtime can help solve the problem of being sucked into using your iPhone during the night when glancing at it to check the time.

    It dims the display and hides all notifications on the lock screen until the morning.

    Experts said it might sound surprising that a technology firm wants families to use gadgets less but the plans are to ward off intervention from authorities concerned at soaring screen time.

Stuart Miles, of gadget site Pocket Lint, said: “It is about doing the responsible thing before the Government steps in — and could make the products more popular.

“After all, many of us would like to spend less time staring at our screens, and we would certainly like our children to do so less.

“These are just first steps, though, and more of a ‘Do you realise you are using the device this much?’ rather than a sterner hand.”

Highlights from Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference 2018 keynote​ speech​