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Apple's new software aims to help minimise screen time

Apple's iOS 12 software update aims to help minimise screen time

Apple's latest software update, iOS 12, features tools to help users control the amount of time spent on devices, as well as new personalised 3D emojis and augmented reality effects.

Announced yesterday at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, the iOS 12 software update is set to be available on iPhones and iPads this autumn.

The update covers topics from digital wellbeing to communicative expression, and includes tools to manage the time spent using the devices as well as new customisable Animoji and Memoji characters.

A new app called Screen Time will give users information and tools to better understand and regulate the time they spend using apps and websites.

Apple's new software aims to help minimise screen time
An app called Screen Time, which is included in the iOS 12 update, records app usage

Daily and weekly activity reports will outline how much time a user has spent using certain apps, how many notifications they receive, and how often they pick up their device.

Users will be able to set daily time limits for individual apps, which will solely show notifications once this time limit has expired.

Screen Time will also give parents access to their children's activity report via their own smartphone, to control the time that a child's device can be used – during the nighttime, for example.

Apple's new software aims to help minimise screen time
The iOS 12 update will contain personalised Memoji characters

Additional functions in Do Not Disturb have been added to help people get a better night's sleep. The update will allows users to hide all notifications on the lock screen until prompted in the morning, and control how notifications are delivered – sent quietly or turned off completely.

Aside from new "Digital Health" settings –  iOS 12 will contain customisable Animoji and personalised Memoji characters to make communicating with friends and family more "expressive".

Apple's new software aims to help minimise screen time
An augmented reality update aims to make AR objects visible in all apps

New shared augmented reality (AR) experiences in the update aim to "change the way iOS users see the world," with features such as object detection and image tracking.

Designed together with Pixar, a new open file format called usdz plans to make AR objects accessible across all Apple apps, such as messages, safari and mail.

Other new features include advanced Siri intelligence, group FaceTime – allowing users to easily chat with multiple people at the same time – and enhanced privacy and security settings to block social media sites from tracking users without permission.

Apple's new software aims to help minimise screen time
Group FaceTimewill allow users to chat with multiple people at the same time

"We're very excited about the new communications features we're bringing to iPhone and iPad with Memoji, a more personal form of Animoji, fun camera effects and Group FaceTime," said Apple's senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi.

"With iOS 12, we're enabling new experiences that weren't possible before. We're using advanced algorithms to make AR even more engaging and on-device intelligence to deliver faster ways to get things done using Siri."

Back in September 2017, Apple unveiled the iPhone 8 with wireless charging and augmented reality capabilities, and confirmed rumours that it would be releasing the iPhone X with facial recognition technology.