SALT LAKE CITY — Apple announced it will bring a new feature to its updated software that will help parents control their own phone usage time as well as how long their children use apps.
“In iOS 12, we’re offering our users detailed information and tools to help them better understand and control the time they spend with apps and websites, how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad during the day and how they receive notifications,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
“We first introduced parental controls for iPhone in 2008, and our team has worked thoughtfully over the years to add features to help parents manage their children’s content," he said. "With Screen Time, these new tools are empowering users who want help managing their device time, and balancing the many things that are important to them.”
The new features include ways for parents to monitor their own screen time, as well as keep an eye on how long their children are using their iOS devices.
Parents will find the new features inside the Screen Time section in the Settings section of their iOS devices.
To monitor and control children's screen time, parents will need to connect their device to their child's device using Family Sharing, an Apple service that allows parents to monitor and control their kids' phone habits.
Once the devices are connected, parents can check their child’s Activity Report to see how often their kids are using specific apps. Then they can manage how long children use specific apps on their phones. Parents can also add time limits to specific apps, allowing children on their phones for a select amount of time.
Children will not be allowed to extend the time on their own phones, according to Engadget.
Parents can use the new Downtime feature (which can be found in the Screen Time settings) to block everything on their children's phones except for selected apps and phone calls for an hourly time range.
Parents can also make it so their children can't access their phone's software and apps at all for a specific amount of time. For example, parents can block children from using specific apps and features when they should be asleep.
Currently, Apple’s parental controls take “an all-or-nothing approach” since parents only can turn on or off the apps on the phone rather than designate specific lengths of time they can be used, TechCrunch reported.
The new features come as Apple looks to include new features to help iPhone owners use their phones a lot less and to monitor screen time. As Apple noted in its release, customers can now see how often they spend using specific apps.
In fact, Apple will send users daily and weekly reports that will break down “the total time a person spends in each app they use, their usage across categories of apps, how many notifications they receive and how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad,” according to Apple.
The App Limits features give people the opportunity to set specific time limits on apps as well.
“Screen Time is great for everyone to better understand and manage their device usage, but can be especially helpful for kids and families,” the release said.
Apple announced in January that it planned to rework its parental control features and how it can help people curb their iPhone cravings. As the Deseret News reported, the tech company said it wanted to add new features to help people take smartphone addiction seriously, especially among children.
The decision came after two shareholders, California State Teachers' Retirement System and Jana Partners, which own about $2 billion in Apple stock combined, released a letter that said Apple needs to take a stance against iPhone addiction and mental health issues the device creates in people, The Verge reported.
“It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally,” the letter read.
Apple responded by saying it is “committed to meeting and exceeding our customers' expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids," according to a statement sent to CNNMoney.