Apple has been quietly killing off Screen Time competitors

Apple has been quietly killing off Screen Time competitors
Apple has a history of what some may call anti-competitive practices. There have been cases in the past where Apple has brought a new feature to iOS that was basically the same as what users could get from various apps already on the platform. The consequences for those existing apps have always been troublesome, ranging from users naturally leaving for the native iOS option or Apple actively killing off those apps.

Now, it appears as though Apple is at it again and this time with apps designed to limit screen time or enforce parental controls. According to a new report, Apple began removing or restricting apps soon after announcing Screen Time, Downtime, and App Control features that were first brought to iOS 12. Since then, Apple has taken action against 11 of the top 17 apps in those categories and an unknown number of smaller apps with similar features. Some of the app makers had apps pulled from the App Store without warning and some that included parental control features were told they violated guidelines against allowing apps to control other devices, even though the apps had hundreds of versions approved in the past and had been in the App Store for years. 

As a result, many developers have been forced to remove features from apps and users have been forced to try finding alternatives or use Apple's native options. However, those interviewed by the New York Times said Apple's native features often were more complicated to set up and didn't offer the same level of control as 3rd party apps had. Apple's options don't allow as granular options for limiting app usage and its parental controls are easy for kids to get around. 

Apple has been taken to court before for anti-competitive practices in the App Store and there is even a case pending with the U.S. Supreme Court claiming Apple's App Store control represents a monopoly. It's hard to say if anything will change though. 

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