Screen time-limiting apps might not be worth the time or effort

Family all on their devices. (Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia)
Screen Time
Ways to manage your screen time

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — An iPhone setting that may cause you to use your iPhone less?

It's called "Screen Time," and it quietly made i's debut on iPhones about eight months ago.

If you have an Android device, like a Samsung phone, it's called "Digital Wellbeing."

The objective is to limit your time on your smartphone.

It's a tool many people apparently need, as recent research suggests both kids and adults are not active enough.

Adults are sitting more than six hours a day, and teens are sitting for more than eighty hours a day. That could be linked to more time spent on our phones, watching TV and surfing computers.

Being sedentary for so many hours could lead to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Apple's "downtime" feature allows users to limit their screen time during certain hours.

Facebook and Instagram have also introduced their own time limit settings, but some people question how effective they are because the onus is still on the user to regulate. It's not as if the apps or the phone shuts down if you've been on it too long. They alert you of your screen time, then ask if you'd like to continue. If you want more time, you simply increase it.

Still, something is better than nothing.

And now there's controversy surrounding iPhone's screen time tool as other smartphone time-limiting app developers are crying foul after betting booted from Apple's app store.

According the the New York Times, Apple has removed at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen time-limiting and parental-control apps, including OurPact, Freedom, Kidslox and Mobicip.

The developers say the tech giant is targeting them because their apps could hurt Apple's business. But when it comes to effectives, they say Apple's screen time tools are not as effective.

Apple recently responded, saying the apps were removed for security purposes.

"We recently removed several parental control apps from the App Store, and we did it for a simple reason: they put users' privacy and security at risk. It's important to understand why and how this happened."


Apple said the apps were using "highly invasive technology," but developers of the apps say it's all about the money.

While Apple's screen time tool can only control iPhones, the deleted apps were compatible with both Apple and Android devices. Now, iPhone users interested in limiting their screen time will have to utilize Apple's built-in iPhone app to help them manage.

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