Apple and Google try to help you curb your smartphone compulsions

Apple iOS 12

Apple iOS 12

Users will be able to set daily time limits on specific apps.

Taken together, the moves announced at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose amounted to focusing on keeping its base of 1.3 billion users satisfied with their devices and catching up with some competitors.

Apple faced a backlash late previous year when it emerged that the company slowed down some older iPhones with flagging batteries.

The new features will be a part of their iOS 12 operating system update.

Software chief Craig Federighi said iOS 12 could carry out simple tasks, such as opening apps, up to twice as fast as its predecessor, iOS 11. The new filters work exactly how the existing Animoji filters do. The apps would be displayed when users searched using certain keywords in Pinterest, say, or Snapchat, according to the report.

Apple wants its digital assistant Siri to do more.

The company is also creating more entertainment options and new ways to communicate, including group video chats through FaceTime and more options for the iPhone X's animated emojis. Changes include a better Do Not Disturb feature, quiet notifications, set limits on how long an app one wants to use and app allowances.

"There are more 100 million apps out there for health and wellness", he said.

To monitor and control children's screen time, parents will need to connect their device to their child's device using Family Sharing, an Apple service that allows parents to monitor and control their kids' phone habits.

Apple on Monday previewed new controls for limiting how much time customers spend on their devices as the company tackles criticism that its devices are becoming increasingly addictive and distracting.

Rather, they display obsessive behaviour when it comes to specific online functions, such as social media - a tool that providers users with "esteem rewards" in the form or reposts, likes or retweets.

Another headline announcement at Apple's event was the firm's firmer stance on protecting user data.

What I find interesting (and this is consistent with other "mea culpas" happening in tech) is that companies who once saw themselves as benevolent influences on our economy, politics and culture are now trying to apologize for all the trouble they've created - even as they try to entice you to buy more of their devices.

"Data companies are clever and relentless", Mr. Federighi said, adding that it will become "dramatically more difficult" for firms to track users through their devices.

"It's exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology", he said at an Axios event in Philadelphia.

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