Apple is reportedly going after apps designed to limit screen time, after pushing its own feature that tracks phone use (AAPL)


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  • Apple is cracking down on popular apps that help customers curtail their screen-time usage.
  • Apple’s own Screen Time feature allows users to track their screen time.
  • The move prompted two such apps to file a complaint with the European Union, according to The New York Times.

Apple has cracked down on apps designed to help people limit their screen time, according to a report from The New York Times.

This push roughly coincides with the tech giant’s stated commitment to helping customers and parents limit their technology usage. When Apple introduced iOS 12 in the fall of 2018, it added Screen Time, a feature under the iPhone’s settings that tracks usage stats.

This development seemed to reflect the tech giant’s commitment to combat iPhone addiction. And earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out on the topic.

“It is clear that there are certain apps that people can get in the mindset of just scrolling through mindlessly and continuously picking up their phones and looking to see what is happening this second,” he said, adding that it’s never been Apple’s “objective” to get people hooked on their phones 24/7.

But the results of Apple’s latest in-house Screen Time push have been bad news for competing apps, including parental control apps that help users block inappropriate contact. The New York Times found that Apple “removed or restricted at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded screen-time and parental-control apps” in its app store.

Read more: One of the tech industry’s leading critics says Apple and Google’s new ‘screen time’ features will never work because they ignore the underlying problem

Apps including OurPact, Kidslox, and Qustodio have reportedly been negatively affected. The latter two are taking up a complaint against Apple with the European Union. The US tech giant is already on the EU’s radar; Spotify filed a similar complaint against Apple in March.

This isn’t the first time that Apple has faced criticism for its handling of issues pertaining to technological addiction among young children.

The World Health Organization has sounded the alarm, recommending that children under five should not be exposed to more than an hour’s worth of screen time per day.

And cofounder of the Center for Humane Technology Tristan Harris previously told Business Insider that he’s not confident that Screen Time — not to mention its Android counterparts — will address the issue of screen-time overload.

“I want to applaud the direction, but I think we have to get the diagnosis right,” Harris said.

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