Tim Cook says Apple is working on new ideas for Screen Time to fight device addiction



The world has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Check out the pedestrians walking the sidewalk in any city and most are looking down at a phone screen. Inside a restaurant, a family dinner can turn into screen time for all, including tablets brought by the parents to keep their young ones entertained. ABC News magazine 20/20 recently did a show focused on the screen time compiled by a particular family and included an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Cook said that while Apple makes money by selling the iPhone to families, he doesn't want them to use the handset a lot. With one poll showing that half of all parents are concerned about their kids getting addicted to their gadgets, Apple last year added a new feature to the iPhone hoping to give parents more control. Screen Time measures how much time an iPhone user spends on each app, and how many notifications each app sends him or her. Once a profile is set, the user can limit the amount of time that is spent on certain apps. With a secret parent passcode (hint: don't use Dad123 or Mom123), parents can get a report on their kids weekly app usage and set limits on certain apps accordingly.


The executive pointed out that Apple isn't getting into the parenting business. He says that there are no standards for parenting, thus no standards on screen time. "People have different views about what should be allowed and not," he noted. But Cook did say that Apple is merely giving parents the controls to limit their kids' app usage if they feel that it is required. He added that Apple is working on a way to create age limits for apps and require parental approval for certain titles. The company also wants to label music with explicit language. The problem is coming up with a one-size fits all solution. "A fix is defined differently for you and I and everyone…you know, what might be reasonable for me might be totally unreasonable for my neighbor," Cook said. "I get notes from parents all the time. They have great ideas. And I'm sure there will be more things that we will do."

Once again, Tim Cook makes it clear that users of Apple devices are not the company's product


During the interview Cook admitted that he himself found out that he picked up his iPhone 200 times a day, twice as much as he thought. The executive admitted that knowing this figure hasn't led him to cut back on his iPhone use although he has cut the number of apps that send him notifications.

Besides screen addiction, the show discussed user privacy, another hot button issue. Apple's CEO repeated a line that he has used since Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal broke early last year. "You are not our product," stated Cook. He went on to add, "Our products are iPhone and iPads. We treasure your data. We want to help you, keep it private and keep it secure. We’re on your side." To back up that last statement, the executive has been calling for "comprehensive federal privacy legislation." Earlier this year he laid out a proposal for this legislation that would legally protect the right of a consumer to have companies collect the minimum amount of personal data needed, explain exactly the data being collected and why it is needed. Cook says that his proposed legislation should also give consumers the right to obtain, correct and delete their own personal data. "The people who track on the internet know a lot more about you than if somebody's looking in your window. A lot more," Cook said.

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16 Comments

1. Phullofphil

Posts: 1822; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

That seems logical I’m going to find a way to make it so the people that buy my phones use them less. I can see it now sales will go through the roof.

16. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Did apple do that with slow down your, Apple call it planned obsolescence. Come on now we all know Apple will never do that ever. *** i stuck my comment here not respond to your comment....

2. sun0066

Posts: 275; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

Keep making the same iPhone as always and at least in the iPhones the screen time will keep decreasing

7. blingblingthing

Posts: 974; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

This explains the low resolution LCDs and small batteries.

12. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

yeah, no wonder why Xr with low resolution and smaller battery aren’t selling well. Apple is just catching up.

3. oldskool50 unregistered

Apple, how about we don't. It's their device they paid for it. Let them use it as much as they want. They are happy. If person is happier being on his or her phone for 20 hours a day, then let them be happy. We all have our way of being happy. How about we dont tell people how to be happy as long as they aren't doing anything illegal. They not hurting anyone other than themselves. Some addictions arent bad. They could be addicted to far worse things. A person happy on their phone isnt going outside hurting anyone and causing trouble.

13. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Apple will add features for user to set screen on time like customize based on user need.

4. oldskool50 unregistered

Apple. Your customers are also your product. They're the product of your product. For example, you can be a product of your environment. But your environment didn't cause you to be here. Trying to change the wording is so disingenuous. Before smartphones, people didnt spend a lot of time on phones because they were more difficult to. Uy and didnt offer today's capabilities. Now smartphones have made things like texting easy, so people don't more often. Thus they are the are the product of the environment you ceeated.

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 31290; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Split screen multitasking, will allow you to cut screen time in half, by letting you do 2 things at once.

8. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1438; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Doesn't he really mean that Apple is looking at third party apps to steal their ideas to implement them in their own apps? And then ban those third party apps because they compete with Apple apps.

14. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Nice troll. Apple removes those apps that violates their app store privacy policy. If they don’t abide by the policy in app stores then better for them to move their apps in android.

20. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1438; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Those apps initially didn't violate any policy, not until Apple copied some of the features and called it Screen Time and changed the rules, forcing those apps to take out particular elements that were essential for the app but competed with Apple's own new app. That's extremely dodgy behavior.

11. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Yes, screen time allows you to monitor usage and battery life so what do Apple do? Apple removes the apps that allow you to monitor it from the App Store, sounds like they really care about device addition.

15. MrMalignance

Posts: 300; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

Every honest phone manufacturer knows: the customer is the product. That's why there are "fanboys", also known as "apple culture" or "Android culture". They know that knowledge, or the ability to have knowledge at your fingertips at a whim, is a powerful thing. All of that between games and social media. Bored people, lonely people, and socially akward people are their target. These are the people who use the phone as a lifeline. Any phone CEO who refuses to admit this is a liar or a fool

18. xq10xa

Posts: 810; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Just keep doing what you're doing Apple. Eventually screen time will be reduced on Apple products.

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