5 June 2018

Detailed Activity Reports show the total time spent in each app, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received and how often a person picks up their iOS device.

Image courtesy of Apple media centre.

The last thing you would think a business would do is encourage its consumers to use their products less, right? Not in Apple’s case!

At its WWDC conference yesterday, the tech giant launched its new iOS 12 software which comes with a whole range of ways to monitor and control the time we spend using iPhones and apps.
Basically they said ‘buy our products, but don’t spend too much time using them’!

The announcement came at an interesting time – just as I had imposed a new rule: in meetings, phones must be on the table, face down otherwise they cause a huge distraction. There have been so many occasions where I have looked around the room in both internal and external meetings and seen that half of the people around the table are looking at their phones. It’s distracting for both them and the person speaking.

Whilst the devices are incredibly useful in business, there has to be a limit to when they are used. Equally, media man Simon Cowell said this week that he hasn’t used a mobile phone for 10 months and counting! It’s an experience that he describes as one that “has been so good for [his] mental health.
It’s a very strange experience but it really is good for you and it has absolutely made [him] happier.”
Apple’s new software comes with an app that gives you a weekly report about how much time you use your phone each day and on which apps. There are also app-by-app time limits to set and warnings when you go over that time period.

Being phone smart

The devices also come with the ability to set time allowances for children and limit their access to apps. It’s beyond time for this type of measure. Whilst there are currently some parental controls, there aren’t enough to properly support children’s online experiences.

The software isn’t out until September, so what can you do in the meantime?

  1. Set up ‘No Phone Zones’: Allocate a space in your home where you simply cannot have a mobile device. At our house, we have no phones upstairs.
  2. Encourage children to find other activities: We all do it, it’s quick and simple to entertain a little one with Peppa Pig on a screen, but how else could you keep them busy without the screen time?
  3. Dinner time: Whenever you’re eating, put your smartphone away, especially when eating with family or friends.
  4. Do Not Disturb: Enable ‘Do Not Disturb’ functionality and turn off notifications – you’re less likely to be distracted and fall into a pattern of scrolling without those constant reminders.
  5. Give people your full attention: If you’re in a meeting or with friend give them your full attention – don’t be that person!

I’d love to hear your tips and advice for making your phone time efficient and cutting down time spent scrolling.

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