Apple aiming to make iPhones less addictive with new features

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Associated Press

Apple will offer more ways for people to limit the time they spend on iPhones while introducing features designed to make its products even more indispensable.

The iPhone 6.

Source: 1 NEWS

The paradox emerged today as Apple executives previewed new versions of free software due out this fall.

The forthcoming controls are aimed at addressing criticism that devices are becoming increasingly addictive and distracting, especially for children.

Experts worry that all the flashy colours and beeps give users short-term, feel-good rewards while increasing stress in the long run.

Yet Apple made it clear it also hopes to make its devices and services even more alluring — and potentially irresistible — by creating new avenues for its digital assistant, Siri, to serve as a backup brain for users.

The company is also creating more entertainment options and new ways to communicate, including group video chats through FaceTime and more options for the iPhone X's animated emojis.

People have become so dependent on technology that it's unlikely any company will be able to solve the addiction problem, but they can help keep it from getting worse, Gartner analyst Brian Blau said. The best hope, he said, is for technology to help people enjoy life and then get out of the way.

"Apple at least seems to be hearing what people are saying and trying to do something about it," he said.

Apple's new controls will expand on the "Do Not Disturb" options on the iPhone and iPad. The display can also be set to dim automatically just before bedtime.

Users can also block app notifications from showing up on the home screen not only based on time of day, which they can do now, but by location, such as when visiting the playground with their kids.

Other features will provide weekly reports on how much time people are spending looking at their screen each month. Users will be able to set daily time limits on specific apps.

Last month, Google revealed plans to force Android phones into "shush" mode when placed face down on a table and have the screen show only greyscale colours late at night.

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