This New iPhone Update Will Break Your Social Media Addiction

"Five minutes left for Instagram today!"

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Next time you find yourself deep in an Instagram hole, learning about the 2014 vacation of your ex-boyfriend's coworker's dog, a new feature can stop you in your tracks.

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Named "App Limits," the forthcoming iPhone with iOS 12 feature is part of a new app called "Screen Time," which Apple will start rolling out in September—and the info it provides might terrify you: In "Screen Time," you can see how long you spend on social networking apps, on work-based apps like Slack and Outlook, and on streaming apps like Hulu. You can check out how long you spent on your phone for one uninterrupted period, plus how many minutes you spent on your iPhone after you had set the mode to "Bedtime." (In other words, how much time you wasted looking at dog memes when you should have been drifting off to sleep.)


Which is where "App Limits" comes in. Users spending more time than is ideal looking at @doggos_doing_things, for example (wha? me?), can set a hard stop. Let's say that I set myself to just one hour on Instagram a day, and I'm 55 minutes into an extended trawl of dog-related imagery, I'll receive a "five minutes left" pop-up.


If you have a feeling you've downloaded this before, you're probably right: Similar apps, like Moment and ScreenLimit, already exist in the App Store. The difference is that "Screen Time" is a native app, meaning it comes with your installation of iOS 12 whether you like it or not.

The tech giant announced "App Limits"—along with the arrival of iOS 12, a new MacOS called Mojave, and "Memoji"—on Monday at its world wide developers conference (WWDC), where the company historically unveils software upgrades.

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