Could iOS 12’s Screen Time app cut your iPhone usage in half?

Apple wants you to use your iPhone less often. While that might sound like a contradiction, concerns over the effects of excessive screen time on our mental health has prompted tech firms to take action.

In iOS 12 Apple begins this push against smartphone addition with the launch of the Screen Time app, which enables iPhone and iPad users to set limits on their usage and gain insight into which apps they’re spending most time within.

But will it really make a difference? Well, without generalising too much, if a 14-year old can cut her iPhone usage in half there’s hope for us all. Using an iOS 12 beta, Sophie, the daughter of the New York Times editor, was able to significantly to cut down on that dreaded, habitual for-the-sake-of-it usage.

Related: iOS 12 Preview

During the experiment, Sophie was allowed free reign to use an iPhone X for a week, during which she averaged 6-hours per day. However, once limits on her Snapchat use came into play by week three, usage dropped to an average of 3 hours and 4 minutes.

Because the Screen Time app blocks access to the app in question after the usage limit had been met, Sophie resorted to habitually unlocking her phone and starring blankly at the screen. Her mother said she felt “triggered.”

Sophie said: “It was just a pattern for me, to open my phone, and I would have nowhere to go. I was just looking at a screen. It was kind of weird, so I’m trying not to do that.”

The teenager (or screenager as the report calls Sophie) even beat the NYT’s reporter over the course of the three weeks, who in turn was trying to cut down his Twitter use.

Of course, the results came during a competition where two iPhone users were actively trying to cut down their usage, rather than a natural reduction in screen time. However, there’s no reason iPhone users in the same family can’t challenge each other in the same way in order to cut down on usage.

Do you think Screen Time will help you cut down on unnecessary iPhone use? Are tech firms doing enough to safeguard our digital health? Drop us a line at TrustedReviews on Twitter.