New Apple tools to help parents manage kids’ screen time

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Many of us spend hours with our noses buried in our smartphones, and there's a movement among technology firms to give consumers tools to limit how much time they spend using their devices.

But not all of the new features unveiled to such acclaim.

The new iOS 12 will add an improved do not disturb feature, along with a new "screen time" feature which warns users when they are overusing their device.

"Some apps send us flurries of notifications trying to draw us in for fear of missing out", said Apple's senior vice-president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, speaking to a 6,000-strong audience at WWDC, Apple's annual developer conference, at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose on Monday.

The new Screen Time feature monitors the amount of time a user spends on a specific app, a category of apps and individual websites, plus the number of notifications received and total hands-on time. You'll also be able to set time limits for apps.

Apple also showed off its newest operating system Mojave, which includes a "Dark Mode" consisting of subtle colors promising a "distraction-free work environment that's easy on the eyes".

One developer, who has gotten access to the iOS 12 beta, has been poking around the code for iPhone and iPad update.

According to The Guardian, the update will also limit a process called "fingerprinting", where data companies gather information about a web user's computer.

Animoji can be created to look similar to users' real-world appearance, or with a variety of digital accouterments like hats and costumes.

Criticised for slowing down older iPhones with ageing batteries, Apple is focusing on reliability and is bringing performance enhancements with the iOS 12.

Apple released the next version of its augmented reality platform for developers, called ARKit 2. Apple says this makes apps load 40 percent faster, and the keyboard loads 50 percent faster. The new version takes several design cues from the iOS App Store, such as "larger billboards" advertising new apps, and some "editorial content" about the software that is available.

Photos will be able to index over four million events and even search for multiple search terms.

One of the more interesting features that no one really asked for, but seems super useful nonetheless, is an app for measuring things.

When Downtime is turned on, notifications from apps will not appear and a badge will appear on apps that are not allowed to be used.

And during the conversation if you find your face a bit boring and want to add some excitement, you can replace your face with Animoji and the new Memoji characters that you created.

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