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Even Apple's Tim Cook thinks he spends too much time on his iPhone

"My simple rule is if I'm looking at the device more than I'm looking into someone's eyes, I'm doing the wrong thing," Apple's CEO says in an interview with CBS News.

Tim Cook told CBS' Norah O'Donnell that he has cut back on notifications.
CBS News

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

Apple might be responsible for popularizing the smartphone, but its CEO doesn't want you using your device all the time.

In an interview with CBS News' Norah O'Donnell on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about the weekly reports he receives using his iPhone's Screen Time feature and the impact they've had on his own phone use. Apple introduced the feature in last year's update to its iOS mobile software to allow people to keep an eye on how much they were using their phones and what they were using them for them for. Cook described his own results as "pretty profound."

"One, I was spending more time than I thought," he said. "And even more the case, I was getting more notifications and picking up my phone more than I should." 

As a result, the man responsible for the iPhone (in its latest few iterations at least) has started to use his iPhone less. "I've dialed back a whole bunch of notifications and stopped myself from being too antsy about picking up the phone," he said.

When O'Donell challenged him on this, asking if he was telling people not to use their phones as much, Cook responded by saying that iPhones were not designed to be looked at all the time. "We made the phone to make your life better," he said. "And everybody has to decide for his or herself what that means."

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Cook's developed his own code for phone use. "For me, my simple rule is if I'm looking at the device more than I'm looking into someone's eyes, I'm doing the wrong thing," he said.

O'Donnell's full interview with Cook, in which they also discuss privacy, Apple as a monopoly, fake news and China tariffs, aired on Tuesday's edition of CBS Evening News.

(Disclosure: CBS News is owned by CBS, the parent company of CNET.)