Last year, a report explored Apple's crackdown on third-party screen time and parental control followed by the implementation of Screen Time as a native feature on iOS 12. Now, a new report from The New York Times Notes of Apple's continued efforts to push users towards its first-party time tracking feature.
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The report details that over the past year, Apple has "removed or restricted" at least 11 of the 17 most Popular screen and parental control applications on the App Store. In some cases, the apps were completely removed from the App Store, while some developers were forced to remove key features.
Following Apple's harsher stance on these parental control applications, developers of two of the most popular apps have filed a complaint with the European Union. Kidslox and Qustodio filed a complaint with the EU on Thursday, today's report says. Say that Apple's crackdown on these apps makes them question whether the company really wants people spending less time on their web site. phones:
"Their incentives are really aligned to helping people solve their problem," said Fred Stutzman, chief executive of Freedom, a screen-time app with more than 770,000 downloads before Apple removed it in August. “Can you really trust that Apple wants people to spend less time on their phones?”
In a statement, an Apple spokeswoman told The New York Times that the timing of the company's actions against third-party parental control applications has nothing to do with the debut of its own Screen Time feature:
"We treat all the apps the same, including those that compete with our own services," said Tammy Levine, an Apple spokeswoman. “Our incentive is to have a vibrant app ecosystem that provides consumers with access to as many quality apps as possible.” The timing of Apple's moves was not related to its debut or similar tools.
The full report from The New York Times dives deeper into how parents feel about Screen Time compared to pre-existing third-party apps.
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