On Saturday, Apple has rolled out new features which are designed to limit and track screen time, after which it started policing the competition.
Apple has already limited or removed features of many popular third-party apps in an attempt to monitor screen time. This includes apps that enabled parents to have more control over their kids’ phone usage.
The analytics firm Sensor Tower collected data that indicate that Apple has restricted or removed about eleven of the seventeen most popular parental control and screen time control apps. Apple states that the removed or restricted apps did not adhere to the App Store policies, although these apps had already gotten Apple’s stamp of approval.
OurPact was a widely popular parental control app that was downloaded over three million times. However, it was removed from the app store in February. According to Amir Moussavian, the CEO of OurPact, the app was yanked out of the App Store with no warning. He said that Apple is trying to kill the industry systematically. The move to remove screen control apps has coincided with Apple rolling out its own screen controlling features.
Several other developers also said that Apple has been forcing them to remove features in order to continue having a presence on the App Store.
In December, Tech Crunch had published a report about Apple’s latest policy of third-party screen time apps.
According to Tammy Levine, Apple spokesperson, Apple considers all of these apps to be the same, including third-party apps that compete with those offered by Apple. She also said the company strives to have a vibrant app environment that offers the customer a chance to have access to as many top quality apps as possible. She also cited privacy concerns as being one of the reasons why Apple has been forcing developers to make changes to some features in their apps in order to continue in the App Store. Levine also stated that these actions are in no relation to Apple’s rolling out of new screen time control features.
Apple is currently facing criticism that it does not encourage people to stay away from screens. This led Apple to roll out a suite of newly designed features that would specifically assist customers in tracking and limiting their screen time. However, these features are not compatible with Android devices and work only with other iPhones. Times reported that the features offered by Apple are also far more permissive than those offered by third-party apps.