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iOS 12 introduces new features to reduce interruptions and manage Screen Time (apple.com)
400 points by el_duderino on June 4, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 225 comments

This is game changing, one thing is accepting a weakness or a negative side-effect and another is implementing features that mitigate that. Props to Apple, this is some impressive work that will have a net benefit for users. It is almost as if they care. Of course, they can do this since it does not go against their incentives like other companies that make money on the time spent of the platform (video watching, website browsing for ad clicks, etc). It is a good step in the right direction way better than nothing or sitting on the sidelines until regulation steps in.

> Props to Apple, this is some impressive work that will have a net benefit for users. It is almost as if they care. Of course, they can do this since it does not go against their incentives like other companies

This post reads like parody, considering that these features are copied from Samsung [1] and Google [2].

[1] https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/...

[2] https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/go...

I wish we as a race could get over the whole 'this is copied from this'. How am I as a user meant to care? If Android has something I would like as a feature and Apple implements it, that's a win for me as before I didn't have that feature.

We should only be worried when Apple or Google are too arrogant to provide a feature that is a huge benefit to users just they didn't think of it first.

Yeah, I have had (the automatic, time based) Do Not Disturb mode on my Samsungs for what seems like forever. And they also let me configure where notifications are sent very easily, per app.

As a parent I welcome screen time locks, because any improvement over the previous non-existing support for such things is surely welcome.

On Android I could install a lot of tools to manage the same thing, but iOS wouldn't let the same apps work to a satisfactory level.

But of course since Apple finally does this, it becomes newsworthy.

Hasn't automatic, time based DND been on iOS already for several years?

IIRC I think I might have seen it even before smartphones.


Apple only announces new OS features at WWDC, and those news you linked were posted between WWDCs.

Obviously Apple had been developing this for at least a year to be able to announce it now, and there had been rumors about it.

And the others weren't working on it for a year before their announcements as well?

Hey, no facts here! Let people bitch.

A personal request: please consider using non-sexist language to describe people complaining.


We can use something like "sounds like a sneezing nose" to sound gender neutral.

I don't get your point. Is he saying these are unique to Apple? Should we not celebrate Apple doing good work, even if others have done it before? Should we not be happy that Apple is improving iOS?

> Is he saying these are unique to Apple?

Yes, and what's more, he's saying that Apple did something that nobody else would do. Not only would Apple's competitors do it, they already did.

[Non-Apple] people are annoyed because whenever Apple introduce features they've copied/amalgamated from others, they always manage to spin it like they are the ones who came up with these fantastic designs.

> Is he saying these are unique to Apple?

Yes, they said:

> Of course, they can do this since it does not go against their incentives like other companies that make money on the time spent of the platform

The implication of that sentence being that other companies haven't done it and that other companies wouldn't do it.

>other companies that make money on the time spent of the platform

This obviously refers to Facebook and the like, not Samsung etc.

he did say exactly that

[1] Not by Samsung they just made an exclusive partnership.

[2] Recent announcement, not out yet. No idea how it's going to operate.

In terms of actual features it's a step up from [1] and [2] is vaperware.

> [1] Not by Samsung they just made an exclusive partnership.

This partnership contradicts GGP's assertion that the other companies wouldn't do it because their incentives aren't aligned.

> [2] Recent announcement, not out yet. No idea how it's going to operate. [2] is vaperware.

In that respect, iOS 12 is also vaporware. Google gave exactly the same amount of detail that Apple did on how its "digital wellbeing" features work. https://blog.google/products/android/android-p/

I can update to iOS12 right and test this stuff out so it's hardly vaporware.

Google's announcement is just that an announcement if it was working then you could downloaded it, until this it's meaningless.

Android P beta is available to the public. You could go try out many of the wellbeing features right now.

As it turns out, these features will only be available with the next beta, which is due some time in the next week. So in the strict sense, the GP is correct here.

Cool, can I install this on my 4 year old OnePlus One ? Because I can install iOS 12 on my 5 year old iPhone 5S.

Oh please, can you and all GP's stop with this childish nonsense. There are other places on the internet that are much better suited for these type of discussions.

What's more, you don't need to pay anybody $99 per year for that privilege. iOS betas are only available to people with a developer account.

public beta are free for anyone:


The public beta is for iOS 11: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/guide

iOS 12 is currently available only as a developer beta, for which you need to pay the yearly membership fee.

Odd, I got a popup on my phone for downloading iOS12 and My development account expired a years ago.

Might be a legacy hangover from having been enrolled in the developer beta scheme with that same device. I just enrolled my spare iPhone 6 into the public beta program and can only get iOS 11.4.1 beta, no iOS 12 beta in sight sadly.

I'm aware of the Google announcement, that is why I mention incentives. Who do you think will push harder in the future or who do you think will get push back once metrics come back with less revenue numbers (possibly), even now look at features parity wise and marketing message. One is soft and targeted to parents this one has been rebranded as 'screen time'.

> One is soft and targeted to parents this one has been rebranded as 'screen time'.

How can you argue that "app timer" is softer than "screen time" with a straight face?


Too bad that is only available on Android P. While iOS 12 runs on devices from 2012.

Android P just provides this functionality out of the box. Anybody else can download these features from the Play Store today. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stayfocuse...

Not bad but not quite the same. One is supplied by the OS and the other is ad-based from a third party.

Just what I want, an app that will show me ads instead of Facebook ;)

Ok, I'll concede that it is a hard ask and I was not aware of the name "app timer" I thought it was under parental controls. I can with a straight face defend the aligned incentives. :)

In what way is Apple not profiting off excess screen time? Did they turn off in-app purchases on pay to play games, which account for growing billions in revenue [1]? Congrats to both companies for taking a long view against their immediate incentives, and disagreed about this stretched comparison.

[1] https://www.google.com/amp/s/techcrunch.com/2018/04/13/u-s-i...

Apple's large chunk of revenue comes from hardware sales with huge margins. Around 10% would come from app store last time I checked. Google's large chunk of revenue comes from ads, also around the 90% mark.

Those are not comparable numbers. The relevant number would be revenue from ads in Android apps.

They use the data collected from any activity on your phone and merge it back with any other data they have of you, to display ads on all the platforms you use. Less time spent on your phone, less usage they can collect to get your behavior, less specific ads. I thought it was common knowledge.

Android is doing something similar as well https://www.engadget.com/2018/05/08/android-and-youtube-will...

Apple was the holdout on this 'reducing screen time' feature, it seems everyone else has done it already.

I wonder why though, you do make a good point. Do they all know of upcoming regulations or something that will require these features?

At the Zuckerberg testimony, somebody mention that tech companies were being reckless and if they don't prioritize on their negative impact it will force government to come in and regulate it. It was basically a wake up call of either you become conscious of your impact or don't complain once big gov come knocking. After all companies are part of the communities, they should be working on stuff like this.

And that’s probably why we have GDPR.

The screen time topic came up during Apple's education presentation the other month. It probably has a lot to do with reassuring teachers and parents that the iPad can be used as a teaching device without other distractions getting in the way.

As a parent I'm curious to see how effective the screen time features will be. Previous apps I've tried always had UI issues or were full of loopholes the kids could work around.

If only they could address the root of addictive behavior on the internet.... ads. Seems kind of weak without giving the user control of the incentives they represent: the abulity use apps and the browser without ads.

This is some of the sharpest sarcasm I've ever read. Absolutely brilliant.

I'd love for both Android and iOS to find a way to be smart about audible notifications.

Low-hanging fruit seems to be to disable, or drastically reduce notification volume when the device is held in a hand and the screen is on. I get nervous ticks when someone is texting in a public space with loud notifications.

Another feature that might make sense is somehow detecting when the owner of the phone is out of earshot. Phones left behind in an open plan office, getting notifications, ringing etc is very annoying.

I'd love to see Handoff become more clever, and for Apple to choose a more gentle sound for calls and notifications, along with the vibrations. I had a colleague once who left his iPhone on full volume and he seemed to get a lot of messages. One 'DING/BRRRRR!' was okay but when you were trying to work and all you could hear was 'DING DING DING BRRRBRRBRRRBRBRBRRR DING DING DING DINGDING' in a tone that penetrates all walls and earbuds, it's too much. Meanwhile, the person who has suddenly become popular is listening to music in their insane-impedance headphones so they don't hear shit, they don't know how fucking annoying their phone is, and they don't put it on silent.

Make phones silent by default. If you need the notifications to be audible it has to be a choice.

You’re asking Apple to cure obnoxiousness.

Maybe. But there is room for improvement on the notifications, there is no reason why the phone needs to ring and vibrate on every notification.

If it notified the user a few seconds ago, it should have a delay until the next ring/vibration.

> If it notified the user a few seconds ago, it should have a delay until the next ring/vibration.

Multiple rapid notifications in a short window of time alert me to emergencies. Phones should be on vibrate in public, of course.

Or, honestly, just get an Apple Watch. Turn phone sounds off, wrist gets buzzed. It just works.

They do more than silence notifications; They allow you to effectively triage.

Your phone beeps and buzzes, you pick it up. The home screen shows "Email notification" because you're privacy conscious and don't show details on the lock screen, so you unlock it and enter your email app. It's marketing crap, so you close the app, but notice a Facebook notification, so you check that. And now you're on Facebook and off task.

Your watch buzzes, you look at it. It says "Gmail" because you're privacy conscious and you don't show the details on the notifications. You press the screen and see that it's spam. You dismiss the notification and the phone returns to showing you the time. You return to work.

Your watch buzzes, you look at it. It says "Gmail" because you're privacy conscious and you don't show the details on the notifications. You press the screen and see that it is from your solicitor saying some documents are ready to pick up. You hit Reply, press the microphone button, and dictate that you'll come over tomorrow after 4pm. You don't even notice there's a Facebook notification on your phone.

As far as the iPhone goes, it’s probably good enough if it can be configured to always send notifications to the associated Apple Watch and/or AirPods, and just plain shut up if those accessories are not around.

By default the Apple Watch duplicates the settings on the iPhone (Whether to show notification content, DND settings etc) but it can be customised. You could set the phone to never show notifications and always be silent, and the Watch to show notifications and vibrate.

But then how will people know how much friends you have? Some people that have these obnoxious continuous gongs going off while they are messaging other people are just oblivious but many want to make sure others can’t miss how incredibly popular they are.

Love the idea of a phone not making noise if its owner is a certain distance away!

It also stops eavesdroppers and prying eyes who go over and press the home button to get a glance at who's texting the lonely phone sitting on the counter.

Don't you want your phone to make noise so that you can come back and get it because you have a phone call or message? This makes no sense to me.

It’s antisocial to leave your phone about so it disturbs other people while you’re gone. It’s a mobile phone, take it with you if you need to receive calls or messages. If you don’t need to receive calls or messages and want to leave it somewhere, put it on silent.

Surely it depends on where you leave it?

Leaving it ringing for hours in a crowded office is obnoxious; leaving it on a side table in your house while you do some chores is totally normal.

And if you're at home by yourself?

Then it doesn’t disturb other people, does it?

Just referring to around the house or my shop really. I leave my phone just lying wherever, texts still come in. If it knew I wasn't nearby and I left it on the dining room table at home, at least it wouldn't buzz to disrupt the rest of my family.

iPhone X does this if you’re looking at the screen

Yes and Android phones have been doing it for a while

That should be Apple's new motto.

I’m thrilled about this change. Been trying apps to block for time such as Freedom, but it’s difficult to time blocklists, find how to block apps, and do all of this on a schedule. After a while I’ve realized every feature to effectively manage screen addiction while still remaining a good experience really needs to be baked into the OS. The direction Apple is taking looks fantastic—the only thing I hope for is specific Safari blocks in a addition to the app level timers.

I solved this problem a few years ago by setting up a parental restrictions block and intentionally forgetting the password.

I may not be able to install new apps anymore, but at least I don't reddit on my phone anymore.

> CarPlay adds support for third-party navigation apps displayed right on the car’s dash — joining music, messaging, calling and automaker apps.

woohoo! Can I finally use google maps in my car then? I don't understand why the Apple Maps team has been so slow on features

> I don't understand why the Apple Maps team has been so slow on features

Have they ? Every major iOS update has major updates to the Maps app.

It is slowly bridging the gap with Google Maps and the issues are still mainly with POIs which Apple arguably can never fix. Unless of course they do their own Street View and invent their own captcha system.

Google Maps gets new features all the time, it's weird Apple waits to give Maps an update annually. Apple would be better served decoupling a lot of the default apps from OS level updates.

The odd thing is Google Maps routing algorithm seems to actively be getting worse.

It tries to be too clever, resulting in often frustrating and silly route adjustments

It also seems to reset fixes. One example: when asking for cycling directions into the city from where I live, Google maps tried to send me down a staircase in a local park. I notified google and it was fixed a few months later. Now it's back… I've seen it for other fixes too.

Might be because Google Maps and Waze are getting closer entwined.

I thought Captcha was primarily used for model training and not actual POI parsing.

Regardless there are plenty of third parties who are in this space that companies like Apple license their data from. There's no reason someone can't compete with apple on POI quality.

It is used for model training. But the model recognises the street names and numbers which it can use to exactly position businesses. One of the biggest issue with Apple POIs are that they are often in incorrect (and sometimes ridiculous) locations.

Apple already licenses its data from many providers e.g. Foursquare, Yelp but that only gets you so far. Google is much further ahead largely through their own technology.

Yes, you can. They showed an image of it onscreen in the carplay keynote. Google maps, waze, etc

My app's name was ScreenTime. Oh well, time to change it I guess.


(PS: Please don't buy my app or anything. It's not 'released' yet.)

Cool app! Advice with only warm and friendly intent: you might want to hire a really great designer to look over the landing page. It's mostly good, but it sends off a few unconscious red flags for me.

Thank you; I'm all ears.

But, just to guess, I suppose the layout is inconsistent. Is that right? I tried to get the vertical rhythm correct but I suppose the discrepancy in the "inter-section" layout is jarring. Yeah?

There's something about the layout and style of the latter part of the page. Maybe part of it is that the "buy for $10" button is repeated so many times. Maybe it's the intense green I'm reacting to. I was also felt something, I don't know what, when I saw the loading widget after pressing the buy button. I think I reacted both to the fact that I had to wait and its somewhat antiquated style (feels a bit 2012-ish; no maliciousness intended, maybe my tastes are weird). Of course, these might just be N=1 impulses, don't take my reactions on faith without a/b testing stuff.

You're absolutely right about the buttons (and the other things too, btw). I'm going to be a/b testing the buttons part, so yeah, I hear you.

Agreed on the buttons, it give the impression of desperation somehow, like someone repeatedly tugging at your coat sleeve saying 'please, please buy me'.

Hear hear.

Not sure if I'm on the same wavelength as the other commenter, and I'm not a designer by schooling, but your page has 7 calls to action to purchase or download -- on my standard HD screen, I can have two pairs on my screen at a time, with the third just barely outside the top or bottom of the viewport. It's extremely redundant.

The contrast between the green headings and the white background is also a bit low. I understand that in this case it's your app's primary icon colour, but it's more difficult to read than it needs to be, especially combined with the light-weight font.

I will a/b test the buttons. I have a feeling there'll be a lot less left by the time I'm done with it :).

I'll play around with the color. Perhaps adding subtle shadows will help.

I want to chime in and say that, while I like the product itself (seems pretty cool), having the call to action after literally every paragraph of text feels desperate to me. It's like you can't speak a sentence without saying 'are ya gonna buy it yet?'. And if you asked me what would hook me in a bit better, I think it would be to flesh out the header above the fold first so it has a stronger impact and obviates the need to go in as much detail further down the page.

For another example, the graphic doesn't appear so clear and the main text doesn't feel very prominent. I feel like it lacks a sense of physicality that I'd want to feel from seeing a screen being shared to another device (a screenshot doesn't really hit the spot for me).

> having the call to action after literally every paragraph of text feels desperate to me

Sorry about that. I'll reconsider the placement of the buttons.

> I think it would be to flesh out the header above the fold

As in, alluding to the fact that ScreenTime imitates an external webcam and things like that?

> I feel like it lacks a sense of physicality that I'd want to feel from seeing a screen being shared

Would putting the screenshots inside a monitor help? What about animating the screenshot? Like a gif of the two users doing things on their own screens?

Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it :)

I'm not comfortable giving you a specific solution because I'm just telling you what I personally feel, and it's up to you to receive the feedback from me and the others offering it and decide how you want to address it. It's feedback, not advice.

Truly, I don't know what exactly I'd prefer from you because I don't know you or your product in any intimate way, so while I might tell you what I would have liked to see it doesn't mean I know that it's overall better than what you have.

Fair enough. Thanks nonetheless.

Also the perspective on your screenshots are off. They get larger as the get further away. This is really disorienting.

Also try and throw them in to an iMac, it looks much nicer.

I couldn't get the perspective transform to work correctly. I'll try again.

Having “Buy for $10 / Download Trial” on every example is a bit weird, especially since you’re describing use cases, not features.

Also, are you aware we can already do this from Messages? If you have someone’s Facetime contact you automatically have their Messages contact. So what’s the advantage of paying for a third-party app that does the same as a native free feature?

Yes, I'm aware :)

You can use this in the middle of a regular FaceTime video call. Plus, the other person can be on an iOS device.

Hmm I would have thought screen sharing was a native feature of FaceTime. Great idea to add it if it's not already there. If you don't want me to buy it, is there somewhere I can leave my email address so I can find out when I should buy it :)

It's not a native feature of FaceTime, but it is a native feature of macOS--specifically iMessage.

Just start an iMessage conversation, then click "ask to share screen" or "invite to share screen" from the Buddies menu.


That doesn't work if the other person is, say, on an iPad.

I'll ping you when it's ready (very soon). My email's on my profile page.

Apple already has screen sharing via iMessage. This looks really cool, but probably unnecessary.

That looks like a pretty nice app! A good candidate to get sherlocked though ;)

This is a fantastic nudge towards encouraging better boundaries and healthier habits with tech, and having it at the OS level is far more effective than using an app that might not have the access it needs to properly do the job. I hope to see more ideas in this area as things like phones practically become an extension of our livelihoods, where leaving them at home can in extreme cases feel like you've lost your connection to the world, as if your entire life has to run through Instagram and Snapchat and Telegram.

That it's also subtle and configurable means it remains a sensible nudge and not an imposition. I would love to see more developments towards building tech that gives you some space instead of constantly vying for your attention and engagement.

For a slightly tangential example, it would be nice to sign up to a service and not be inundated with daily onboarding emails, upsell emails, weekly newsletters, account management requests, and Intercom chat popups because the marketing team doesn't have any chill and has to inflict this bombardment of utter tripe onto every unsuspecting user. Like an implicit condition of trying out an otherwise decent app is to accept this torrent of bullshit that just creates busywork.

I think some apps offer the ability to suppress notifications for non-important things, which is a good start.

I really like the idea of giving users more ability to manage their devices at the OS level.

Apps, websites (everyone wants to send me notifications) are not going to do it as a group.

The more customization I'm allowed and options to be human with a device the better.

I'm hoping this is a good thing for us since it should give us the ability to tell iOS how to manage screen time better. Our product pushes the idea that screen time management is only half of the equation, since technically you could have already taken the phone or tablet away from a kid, but most parents don't do that because it creates an enormous emotional conflict. It's all about agency.

There is an old child psychology example where a kid asks "Can I have a red popsicle?" and the parent knows there are only blue ones in the fridge. If the parent responds "No, there aren't any red ones left, but you can have one of the blue ones" then you're instantly the villain and you only exist in this world to deny them of their right to popsicles. But if you respond "Yes, you can have a popsicle whatever color is left in the fridge" you're their hero and it's the fault of the fridge for not providing their desired color of popsicle.

Our system gives kids the ability to access more screen time based on them making measurable progress in studying and because of that parents are less villains and our app/system absorbs most of the hate. If a kid says their phone or tablet won't load a page a parent can essentially say "Looks like your phone says you need to do XYZ before you can access more Internet"

Are other HN parents struggling with these issues? If so, do you think setting rigid screen time limits will help?

I don't have kids, but I'm curious - you're finding that children don't blame the parent for putting the internet-limiting software on their device in the first place?

Me: Parent of a 13 and 9 year old with software screen restrictions in place.

My kids clearly know who put the restrictions in place and the reason why. They also know that on request with a reason, I will unlock the restrictions. I find that this gating question sufficient that they police themselves.

How long has it taken them to figure out how to get around the restrictions on their own ?

I think the only reason I would put blocks in place on my children would be as a testing mechanism.

They haven't yet unless they've figured out how to scrub logs as well.

My strategy with the kids is for them to learn that delaying gratifications can lead to greater rewards. If they ask for the locks to removed for the day, it's usually granted.

In any case, I would be happy if they figured out how to bypass. (I see them attempting but so far failing.)

I really hope this includes a setting on Do Not Disturb to always silence calls/texts from numbers not in my addressbook along with the ability to schedule it for further silencing during sleeping hours.

This is a pretty common feature on most Android phone platforms. I'm surprised Apple has yet to adopt it.

This is my most wanted feature. Similarly, if we could just send all unrecognized numbers to voicemail that would be awesome.

That would be a nice feature. Since it didn't exist, my default ringtone is a silent tone. I then give entries in my contact list a regular ringtone.

Does that mean that you have to change the ringtone every time you add a contact? Did you have to go manually change it for every contact you have? Or is there a way to change it en masse?

If you are a social person then yes, my method isn't convenient. You do have to manage everything by hand.

I use my phone almost entirely for data and messaging though. Calls are rare.

This is pretty damn clever. Thanks. :)

This already exists for calls on iOS. It is under Do not Disturb in settings. Allow calls from Everyone, Favourites or contacts.

Turning on DND blocks all your other notifications too. You get very little control over how much the phone can bother you, and this is still my biggest complaint about iOS. Even if you have a silent ringtone set for someone, an incoming phone call still takes over the full screen of whatever you're doing to go "HEY SOMEBODY IS CALLING YOU!!!!" and frankly, I don't care. I'd rather just have an unobtrusive banner like every other notification.

I want the following features:

* Always, no notification of calls or texts from people not in my contacts.

* Scheduled at night, when I'm asleep, no notification of calls or texts from anyone, unless they call twice in a row (emergency calls).

As far as I know, I can't set up Do Not Disturb to do this.

It does no: (2), but thrice in a row. You can setup so only if someone calls you thrice within 3 mins, it will ring

> only if someone calls you thrice within 3 mins, it will ring

It’s twice. Under Settings → Do Not Disturb → Repeated Calls:

> A second call from the same person within three minutes will not be silenced.

This, a thousand times. Bonus points for an option to skip voicemail for numbers not in my address book and simply disconnect them.

I am thinking seriously about open sourcing this. It will log into sites to check for point progress and restore access after some points are earned. My daughter only needs 2 or 3 minutes of khan academy to earn enough points to get youtube back. I am proud of what my friend Kris and I built, but getting tired of managing a side project / playing startup.


website is studycity dot org

This is a really great idea, but I wouldn’t have really got from the app listing and screenshots that this is what the app does.

Your comment here explains it much better than the App Store description IMO.

Maybe some help from a UI designer and a little rebranding could help a lot!

Thanks Scott. I totally agree. Most frustrating challenge is that I have had many people (250+) say "this is amazing" etc. But it has been very difficult to convert that interest to a significant user base. Part of the challenge is at one end of the scale, parents don't care and at the other end of the scale parents have the issue under control. Even if parents love the concept, getting them to become users is way more difficult than I imagined.

Would love to have something like this for myself. Perhaps watch a few Udemy/LinuxAcademy videos to restore my access to YouTube/Twitch, haha. :)

I find it awkward how Apple is now bravely fighting problems that it has (co-)created in the first place. They invent all the clever ways how to limit the number of notifications and disturbances on the phone. But that's just attacking the problem from the wrong side. If you don't want notifications, just don't enable them! It's that simple.

I may be old (42) but the only notifications that exist on my phone are from SMS and WhatsApp (which I occassionally use). I intentionally don't enable notifications about emails, as this communication medium is by definition not realtime. Of course I'm not on Facebook either, but even if I were, I don't see the point of having to check all the time what fresh pics of cats are other people sharing.

Such a binary approach is probably too extreme for many people. I think it increases the overall usability of the device if you are able to more granularly define when to and when not to receive notifications.

Even better would be to adjust the expectation (or resignation) that an app/company has to send so many notifications in the first place, whether it's through push notifications, email, or some other channel, and has to constantly try to keep you 'engaged' in order to satisfy their metrics. I'm not sure that would change any time soon so the only easy way forward is to build software that mitigates it.

I'll happily welcome any small step to improving this situation, whether or not Apple shares its responsibility in causing it. It's better than the alternative.

Google has also introduced similar features at I/O last month. This is the industry as a whole trying to fix problems it originally created.

Why is this a bad thing? They’ve might have started something but grant them they ability to change. Their intentions now matter.

I agree and on a similar note get a weird feeling every time I price a car and come to the options or packages that have side airbags or emergency breaking as add-on option choices.

At least Apple (so far) isn't selling these features or limiting them to the newest phones.

Presumably they will work on all phones that can run iOS 12.

Regarding notifications, the real benefit to me of what apple is doing is being able shut off notifications in the heat of the moment instead of digging through the settings menu.

Yep, completely agree.

I've been using the do not disturb feature for a while now (2 years?), gets switched on an hour before I usually go to bed. As you mention, only calls, SMS and whatsapp is enabled for notifications, everything else is switched off. DnD stops these coming through late at night.

I've got nothing against adding extra functionality though. Perhaps being able to tell the phone do not disturb me for the 2 hours might be useful.

I wholeheartedly agree. while I'm not as sparse as you my default response to the "grant notification" request is "no". I rarely if ever change that later, I end up feeling a lot more free than when I was getting notifications from every app all the time.

I'm in my twenties, and this is basically my approach to notifications as well.

My phone and the apps on it exist to serve me, not the other way around.

Your anecdote on notification use cases has been noted by the Ministry of Statistics. Thank you for your participation.

Apple: please make the alarm app bypass do not disturb mode and allow independent volume control (ie allow alarms at max even if the ringer is left alone).

Sincerely, someone who is sick of having their alarm not work unless all their other apps are binging like crazy all night.

This was so trivial in Android, it’s laughable I still need think about what I need need to do for the alarms to work properly. Also always paranoid I’ll forget a step and miss an exam or something.

Um. If you're setting an alarm in the built-in clock app, it definitely works when Do Not Disturb is turned on.

This does not match the physical testing I have been doing and my father has said the same about having issues with DND and the clock.

So, I don’t really know what’s going on, then. But unless vibrate and DND is turned off and the volume is all the way up, sometimes the alarm just doesn’t work and I have missed stuff before.

Android was really clear about this: there was just “no notifications”, “alarm only” and “all notifications”. I wish Apple would make a three state toggle like this and bundle it all together ..

(I understand that you’re trying to tell me that alarm should be working, but it just isn’t).

The alarm app on iOS can run into an issue where it will not play sound regardless of any other setting. It has existed in many versions of iOS. It has happened in iOS 10 and iOS 11, I don't know about the previous versions.

They fix is to reboot the phone.

I cannot trust it for critical alarms, so a simple device by the bed is required again.

Yikes - alarms do cut through DND and silent mode. Apple’s been great about making sure developers use the correct audio APIs, too, so games don’t make sound when volume is off but medical apps sound no matter what.

I’m morbidly curious how many years you’ve suffered from this problem without googling it or mentioning it to another iPhone user!

The volume not being independent is super annoying, sometimes I have my ringer volume pretty low, just because, and I will barely hear my alarm in the morning.

put your phone on vibrate, the alarm will always work with it on

About time... as a parent, I’m very thrilled to see this get implemented.

Finally some progress on notifications. Coming from N years on Android, that's my most annoying point.

Grouped notifications are largely welcomed. I simply disabled those for Twitter/Telegram/Messenger because that's nearly one notif per message (kept Whatsapp because of too much miss otherwise). Hope it's customizable though (app dev or user) because I'd prefer my email notifications from Inbox/Gmail not grouped for different senders.

And the other thing I miss so much is the "auto-dismissal" of notifications. When I read an email in inbox web client on my laptop, the notification for it instantaneously disappeared on my Nexus 5 (just that one notif). Not anymore with my iPhone. If I remember correctly, notifications API only allows a remove all or nothing behavior for apps on iOS. Do you know if there is any progress on that front?

Helpful, but my kids will switch to their game console, another tablet, the computer or Netflix.

When I am king, I will declare that ALL devices must support an API so that I can control my kids total screen time across all devices.

The limit actually transfers. E.g. if you spent half of your allocated time on iPhone and then grab iPad you will only half the half time remaining, not starting afresh.

Why did you buy them the tablet?

Kind of happy to see that Workflow will finally be integrated into iOS. Hopefully they have made some improvements to the functionality and to the depth of OS features it has access to.

I'm surprised this is getting so little discussion - for my money, that's one of the biggest announcements today, period. It should be awesome for power users.

Not even a notable post here on HN. I really hope this works as has been shown yesterday, it looked so promising. Really great stuff for power users :)

Lots of shade thrown at Facebook. Instagram and Facebook were the top 2 apps they demoed for reduction.

To be fair, Facebook's notifications are really annoying.

CNN was the target of the new feature to ask for fewer/quieter notifications, too.

However, the top shade went to Craig Federighi’s shot at Android: “It’s hard to say they have a software update model.”

Also arguably the two most popular apps in the world.

This is great, as a parent. Next big thing I'd like is a better parental youtube filter (it has something now, but it's absolutely terrible).

Download the YouTube Kids app instead.


Everything I've read about YouTube Kids is that the filtering doesn't actually work well and is largely algorithmic.

Apparently they finally added an option for curated channels (known brands / everything is reviewed by a human moderator) about a month ago, but you have to enable that option.


"This item isn't available in your country".

Why, Google?

Question for the crowd: With this upgrade is iOS at feature-parity with Android/Google Family Link for managing child smart phone usage?

Android still has a great edge by offering Multiple user feature on their tablets (rip?) and phones. Unless you have an iPad and iPhone for each child, or only have one child, the iOS management features are still not flexible enough.

Strangely enough iPads have it for years with an education profile.

Interruptions are the biggest downside of mobile devices, and this update still doesn’t address them correctly. The fix is simple: a big “OFF” switch at the top of the Notifications Settings Screen.

In my mind, the only reason my phone should ever make noise on its own is when a phone call comes in from one of my contacts, or an alarm I set goes off.

Notice that neither of those things are “Notifications”.

Feel free to keep a list someplace of emails and texts that have come in. But I’ll check that on my time, so don’t ever interrupt me to tell me about it. Apps that want permission to appear on that list should have to explicitly ask for it, rather than getting it by default and forcing me to fish around in the notifications settings to turn them off for ever single app that I install.

It’s amazing that no phone (or computer anymore) has anything approaching this.

Third-party apps already have to ask permission to notify you in iOS, pretty sure they always have. Sure you have to turn them off for Messages and Mail, but I don’t think most people would be happy with a default where you’re not notified for those.

I welcome this feature. Knowing that my kids will be brought up in the age of iDevices (whether I like it or not), having a "digital guardian" like Screen Time will be of great use and can be made part of your family life naturally vs imagine abruptly introducing this to todays teenager's life.

Plus, it is a great tool for self-management as well. Weird a couple of weeks ago we were having quite a debate among co-workers about the lack of such important feature in todays smartphones. Sure there is already a similar feature in current iOS to view battery usage by app but it is not intuitive and requires quite a drill-down in settings.

Where is some AR innovation within my camera's view ... like open my camera, point it a historic location and see how it looked in the past or show me information about a business. You know something like Google Lens!

Maybe in a few years AR will be exciting or become useful like Touch ID did after awhile (for me at least). For now its just silliness as no killer utility or experience has been created yet. Measure ... there are tons of AR rulers out there now that are fun to use, but...

I've thought about that same kind of feature, even without AR and simply based on geo location would be cool... someway to quickly pull up historical photos and information about wherever you are at the time.

Or turn day into night time view or tell me this strangers name I’m talking to.. AR glasses are more suitable for those ideas.

As for AR Wikipedia or AR Historcal View it would require a massive amount of crowd sourcing. Though Wikipedia did it.

Overall AR as of today is lame it needs killer utilities or experiences like AR Wikipedia or whatever it would be called.

This is cool i guess. iOS Nanny. The best part I think is the notifications. Looks like the ultimate STFU setting for apps. Glares at Facebook, twitter and work email /s

I have a feeling that it will be ported to macOS one day. Since I have a time tracking app, I'd better start preparing for getting sherlocked[0] in advance.

[0] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sherlocked

I think it’s great that Apple offers the tools to combat the new “tobacco”. Of course, anyone has to quit on their own

Funny how Software updates make me more excited than Hardware ones... I'm so excited for iOS 12!

Also, iOS on Mac OS! I wonder what this means for the React Native devs... I have no experience on that platform but I'm curious about the potential impact of iOS + MacOS on that community

It would probably help given now react native iOS will work on the Mac “natively”.

Dark mode... so much wow!

Does anyone know if the usage data collected will be available via iOS API's? It would probably be a bit ironic if it were, but it doesn't seem out of the question either.

There's no way that Apple, of all companies, would provide this information to third party apps via an API. Even if Apple put this under the permission request model and add a new permission, we should keep in mind that most people don't understand app permissions well. Imagine a scenario where WhatsApp prompts the user to allow it to get usage information to "help" the user, and in turn starts spying on activity on Telegram or competing apps and shares that with HQ so that they can work on manipulating the user even more to shift their attention to WhatsApp and away from other apps. Such a scenario sounds highly disturbing to me.

Social platforms already have so much on their end to manipulate users into giving them their attention. There's no good reason to trust any of them with such information.

This is great.

I was already using dnscrypt-proxy to limit access to some websites during certain days/times, but restrictions at application level is even better, at least for iOS devices.

Sad that it's still not possible to change notification sound for apps at the OS level i.e. for apps that don't offer the functionality to change the sound.

I don't want information about how much I use my device. I want an "essentials mode" that will allow only phone, iMessage,email and gps for example.

I love this. It shows that Apple can make long-term improvments (limit smartphone zonbies) even at expense of short-term gains (App Developers may suffer).

I don’t consider myself phone addicted but it could be sobering to see my app usage broken into times instead of battery consumption percentages.

Even on iOS 11, it's possible to see the time consumed in different apps.

Go to Settings->Battery and tap the clock icon (next to "Last 7 Days"), or even easier, just tap on any of the app rows below to switch between percentage or percentage plus time view (the time is shown below each app).

This gives you app times based on screenshotting the battery page. Won’t be as accurate as Apple’s implementation.

I've updated to iOS 12 beta 1 on my iPhone 7, and it's so much smoother and faster than iOS 11.4, it's like a whole new phone. :)

Here’s my feature to reduce interruptions: turn off all notifications and app badges. It let me use my phone the way I wanted to

Anyone have a link to a list of all the api changes / enhancements that will take place.

I have just installed beta on iPhone SE and it feels much faster.

And still no native calculator for iPad. Oh well, maybe they'll squeeze it in next year. Imagine the cheers and adulation that'll bring from the WWDC keynote audience...

Good that the tech world reacted to the pocket computer addiction

I really hope this works better than the current awful, awful parental controls.

Great. Can you manage your contact groups from iOS yet?

Why is the name of the iPhone X "Jason's iPad"? This is a surprising lack of quality control from Apple.

You can monitor/moderate screen time for other devices you've connected in Family Sharing. That section talks about setting those access limits for others in your group.

All I've ever wanted was a mouse support and not have to jump through ridiculous hoops to open up a file.

I'm sorry touch does not cut it for a productivity working on large documents or any other program that requires repetitive precision.

All this, but they still implement the anti-pattern of only allowing Siri to control their own music App. I'm skipping this OS update.

I don’t see how skipping iOS 12 will allow you to make Siri do more things. Plus, I don’t even think you’re right about that, since you can now send custom intents through Siri.

It won't make Siri do much less, and Siri is already the bottom tier of voice assistants. If Apple was going to allow Siri to talk to Spotify, they'd say that they were going to do it. Users have been asking for it. People who switch from Android notice that they can't do a thing that they used to be able to do.

Aside from that omission, what other things does iOS 12 offer that I'd be missing out on? - Analytics about notifications: I don't care

- Augmented reality: not compelling

- New proprietary animated emojis: not compelling

- Group Facetime: Facetime suffers from the Telephone Effect. I never use it because at least half of my friends are android people, and we all use Facebook because it's something everyone has. If you're talking about a group of people, it's extremely unlikely that everyone will use iOS, but it's extremely likely that everyone will be on Facebook.

- New features in Photos: I don't use any of the features that have been added to Photos since...iOS 7? New features are just going to continue to slow down my device.

- Various other features: nothing jumping out at me as something I'd risk an OS update over.

It's a nice effort and I'm sure Apple has made the OS update they want to make, but it's not offering anything I've heard anyone ask for.

> Augmented reality: not compelling

While certainly a matter of opinion, but I think it’s the most important tech innovation in a long time. Just the Measure app alone has incredible implications. We are just scratching the surface of what this tech can do.

> We are just scratching the surface of what this tech can do.

I agree, and I think that's a great way of putting it. I don't think that AR can't be compelling in the future, but right now it feels like we're between the Peak of Inflated Expectations and the Trough of Disillusionment in the Hype Cycle.

Extremely unlikely for a group of people to all have iOS isn’t necessarily correct for the US at least. I have two groups of friends who are effectively iOS only.

> If Apple was going to allow Siri to talk to Spotify, they'd say that they were going to do it.

The onus is on Spotify to adopt the new APIs that Apple has provided.

Well, they've shown exactly what Google had shown a month ago at Google IO.

That's obviously untrue.

A major difference between Apple and Google: Google does lots of fancy machine learning to make Google Now magically anticipate everything. Apple introduces a kind of low-key programming in graphical form to let the user shape Siri's abilities.

I find the latter very interesting, it's a bit like Tasker lite.

And more important, the first few times Google Now appeared on my phone I was creeped out. Just because I had googled an event weeks ago on another device doesn't mean I want you to tell me to leave now and present me with the map and traffic information!

Why are you talking about Google Now? There hasn't been any announcements on I/O about it, it's pretty much a deprecated brand.

The common point here are phone use management features which were unveiled on both OSes in the same year it seems.

Sorry, was commenting on the part mentioned in the title, which -was- already introduced at Google IO. Anyways, still, there's not much innovation happening there these days in my opinion.

I guess that’s probably when they started working on it as well /s....

Obviously they have spies ;)

Then it's even more amazing that they could knock up a clone in just a month to announce it at their annual conference!

Which happens to be the only time when they announce new OS features.

I doubt they developed this entire system wide feature in one month. If they did, it would be _very_ impressive.

I'm not saying that. I just don't see any meaningful innovation.

Demanding 'meaning innovation' on a regular schedule is how you end up with TouchBar.

Is this peak OS? Sure, these features are somewhat useful for busy individuals, but when was the last time we saw something revolutionary in OS design?

I'm not saying everything should be changing year-after-year, but it's hard to get excited for these WWDC keynotes when it feels like they are stretching app release notes to 15 minutes of a visual demo.

Let's start with: what did you consider revolutionary in past releases?

Because just about everything was maligned from some people or others:

The App Store? Obviously a stupid idea, nobody will program apps with such a limited feature set.

Copy&Paste? Yawn. Should have been there from the start.

AR? Who needs that?

Face ID? An expensive gimmick.

And so on.

Personally I found this WWDC announcements way more interesting and a reason to look forward to than last year's iPhone announcement.

> when was the last time we saw something revolutionary in OS design?

Isn't part of the problem the endless parade of these "revolutionary...OS designs?" Precisely what makes them delightful appears to make them addictive.

I think these are some of the most exciting features that I've seen in iOS for a while, and I suspect it will push iPhone sales quite a bit as parents decide its worth getting their younger kids of that old refurb iPhone 4S.

Also great to see the focus on performance improvements on old models.

Siri Shortcuts (iOS 12) + Type to Siri* (iOS 11) is a revolution in mobile OS design imo

assuming Type to Siri works with Shortcuts.

They've delayed bigger features in iOS 12 because iOS 11 was such a buggy mess, according to [1].

[1]: https://www.macrumors.com/2018/01/30/apple-to-focus-on-ios-p...

This wouldn't be the first time Apple's had a perf/polish focused release. For example Snow Leopard had almost no major features and was mainly perf and polish over Leopard.

Isn't Snow Leopard a complete myth? Back then they told to the public, that this is only a polish release, but they introduced the built-in anti virus solution, a complete rewritten Finder and QuickTime for example. I remember that Snow Leo had lots of bugs in it's .0 release, it was only stable after some updates like every other OSX version.

The best gains would come from removing most of the "revolutionary" features added before. Bringing back hardware buttons and keyboards and reducing physical size would get me excited.

Edit: You'll see downvoters, the beeper's gonna be making a comeback. Technology's cyclical.

> Technology's cyclical.

Cannot wait to get back to horses.

Apple’s changes amount to what the gambling industry has done to acknowledge and address gambling addiction: displaying pamphlets around casinos and suggesting that problem gamblers opt-in to a self-exclusion list. Helpful for some but doesn't change anything about the environment, which has little protections from products that are expertly engineered to get and keep you addicted.

There should be developer API’s for this. The lack of API’s and the fact Apple thinks three product changes alone can solve a complex social problem speaks to how simplistically they are treating the issue. It’s a positive step forward, and necessary, but we should be able to bring an ecosystem approach to solving what many of us consider the biggest socio-technical problem today.

This petition is a start: https://www.change.org/p/apple-allow-digital-wellness-develo...

> There should be developer API’s for this

Like there are APIs for notifications etc. that many developers abuse and Apple had to step in with this? As a user I am glad.

What APIs are you looking for?

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