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Apple helps you kick iPhone addiction with iOS 12

Do you love your iPhone a little too much? Apple's iOS update aims at helping you curb constantly checking your device.


This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple wants to cure you of your iPhone addiction.

Now playing: Watch this: Limit your screen time with iOS 12

On Monday, the company unveiled new features in iOS 12, the latest version of its mobile software, to help you kick the habit of constantly checking your iPhone and iPad. The new tools, introduced at the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference, let you monitor how much time you spend on your device and in certain applications, like Facebook. 

The new features will give you deep insight into how you use your Apple devices, offering breakdowns of how often you're picking up your phone and which apps are sending you the most notifications. The software lets you track by day, week or month how much time you're spending on your phone and which apps you're using the most. You can also set a limit on how much you use your phone, which will cut you off when you've reached it. 

The features can be synced across devices, so you can't sneak off and use your iPad to check the latest on Twitter or Instagram. 

The new tools also allow parents to set limits for kids to help them better manage their children's screen time. It can be accessed from the Family Sharing app. 

Apple has faced backlash from investors and device users over concerns about phone addiction among children. A 2016 report by social agency Influence Central said the average age for children to get a phone was 10.3, and Apple's devices remain among the most desired by children and teens.

Two of Apple's major shareholders published an open letter in January that asked Apple to take a socially responsible approach toward children's device use. It cited concerns about mental health problems and other issues that come from heavy phone use. In response, Apple vowed to introduce new features to help parents manage their children's use of its smartphones.

In March, the company launched a new Families page to give parents information about how to monitor their kids' iPhone use.

Google announced similar tools at its own developer conference in May. Like Apple, Google has a Dashboard for Android phones that lets users monitor how long they're using other apps and reminds people to take a break.

Now playing: Watch this: iOS 12 preview and what we expect at WWDC 2018

Apple also announced it's offering other new features in iOS 12 to help make our phones less distracting. For instance, it's added a nighttime mode to its Do Not Disturb feature so that you don't get messages and alerts at night, an introduction designed to prevent you from getting wound up at bedtime with a barrage of notifications. When you wake up in the morning you can tap your screen to get caught up on what you missed overnight. 

Apple also announced an update to its notifications so that you can group them by topic and thread to make it easier to access the notifications you really want to see. You'll be able to triage a whole group of notifications with a single swipe. Siri will also make suggestions on which notifications you might want to consider turning off.  

Updated 11:20 a.m. PT: This story was updated with more information about iOS 12 features to help curb iPhone overuse.