Apple systematically revoked many timepieces / parental controls over the past year, leading to a series of disgruntled developers whose businesses have been crippled, and even to antitrust litigation.
In an email to an Apple Reader from MacRumor's Phil Schiller, Apple lists third-party screen apps that have used the MDM (Mobile Device Management) system to track all the data and activity on a child's device to present this information to parent parents who have downloaded these apps. According to Schiller, this is a data protection issue that should not be continued, and Apple will not reject apps that use methods other than MDM.
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With the introduction of Apple's own screen-time capabilities in iOS 12, the program is almost too convenient, but Apple has no realistic incentives to oversee screen time postpone offers from third parties.
Schiller's words, however, have a nuance. He welcomes developers to continue creating apps for parental controls that are not based on MDM profiles. The problem is that creating such a service leads to a significantly limited user experience. The iOS app sandbox prevents a regular app from collecting phone data, such as which apps have been open for how long, or supports downtime such as blocking an app from timeout.
Schiller calls an app called Moment – Balance Screen Time as an example of a great app for parents. This app relies on the user manually scanning the battery screen every day to upload it to the Moment app, which uses optical character recognition to read the lines of the most commonly used apps. It's a big hack and not nearly as seamless as the official screen time running in the background.
At the end of the email Schiller says:
The protection of privacy and user safety comes first The Apple ecosystem and we have important App Store policies that do not allow for privacy and privacy Consumer safety. We will continue to offer features such as ScreenTime, which help parents facilitate their children's access to technology. We will work with developers to provide many great apps for the purpose in the App Store, using technologies that are safe and private for us and our company.
In order for third-party apps to offer the same features as Screen Time, Apple would need to provide an iOS API framework that allows third-party apps to read device logs of the time spent in apps, notification numbers, pickups, etc. Using this framework would restricted by the standard iOS privacy authorization system, such as location services dialogs, and the user must explicitly allow access to a third-party app to retrieve this information.
This may refer to Schiller when he says, "We will work with developers to provide many great apps for the purpose in the App Store, using technologies that are safe and private for us and our children." Officially, Apple has not yet announced such features.
In the midst of this debacle, former Apple manager Tony Fadell tweeted about the status of Screen Time on Apple's platforms and called the feature a "rush job." Fadell also demands that Apple release a sanctioned API for accessing digital health data.
2 / Apple's screen time still has many gaps and shortcomings. Your v1.0 solution was a hurry job and it is not intuitive to use. Apple should create true APIs for Screen Time to address privacy concerns rather than limiting users' App Store options. https://t.co/rGRwB6HT4r[19659002-TonyFadell(@tfadell) April 28, 2019
9to5Mac previously reported that Apple would bring screen time to macOS with 10.15, the next release of Apple's desktop The operating system is to be announced at the WWDC in June.