It almost feels like Apple’s repeated line that “We don’t want people using their phones all the time,” is as hollow as it sounds. Of course the company doesn’t want users addicted to screens and unhealthily attached to their phones, but as the NYT report makes clear, it seems the iPhone maker is doing a lot to minimize your options around customizing phone usage.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment about the third-party app removals or more about its own tools and features.
Now parents and compulsive phone users are limited to Apple’s native tools, all dubbed “Screen Time.” While for many it’s a perfectly fine solution that reminds you to log off or look away, for others it’s not as powerful as what third-party options once offered.
Some glaring issues immediately come up with Apple’s Screen Time. Mostly that it’s easy to get around the limits. Kids quickly figured out how to game the controls and get into YouTube or game apps that parents had restricted. For adults, time limits for social media apps or others require a lot of self-control. With just your passcode you can allow the phone to let you back onto Facebook all day if you want.
Another issue: for families, Screen Time requires the entire fam to have an iPhone. Other restriction apps gave parents the ability to manage their kids’ Android phone from their iPhone.
Other issues that various apps addressed included weak coverage with Apple’s tool, like how it only blocks content in the Safari web browser for mobile, not Chrome or others; or multiple users using the same device. You don’t want your kid’s limits set while you’re on the same iPad.