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Apple Starts Removing Screen Time Alternative Apps from App Store

Google‘s Digital Well-being and Apple’s Screen Time features which were both debuted around the same time this year, following which a growing number of third-party screen time tracker apps started populating respective marketplace on both platform’s app stores.

Now, it looks like the Cupertino-based company is on a mission to clear out these third-party apps from the App Store. In a detailed report by TechCrunch, it noted how a lot of screen time tracker apps came under immersed review from Apple, which led to rejections and removals from the App Store.

iOS_12_screentime

The report which turns the spotlight onto several third-party screen time apps. One of such is the digital detox app also called Mute which announced its removal from the App Store on October, which seems to be the time when other screen time tracking apps have been put on notice as well. Another screen time tracking app called Space also announced its removal from the App Store in November.

Earlier some of these developers were told that their app violated the App Store developer guideline 2.5.4, which states that “misusing background location mode for purposes other than location-related features.” Others were told that their app violated developer’s guideline 2.5.1, sighting the use of public APIs in an unapproved manner.

That being said, it’s worth noting that some screen time tracking apps have been getting a pass from Apple. An app called Moment received a call from Apple, presumptively to discuss the app’s functionality. The app, however, was not taken off the App Store.

Moment-iOS
Moment app iOS

Likewise, the screen time app called Circle is also unaffected just like the Moment. So, I am likely to believe that Apple does not have a blanket policy in place for this but instead, it is making decisions on a case by case basis.

This, however, is bad for consumers because Apple’s Screen Time feature itself is not dependable for the most part. For instance, my screen time data for no reason keeps getting reset. And when it decides to work efficiently, it still lacks a lot of advanced parental control features which was offered by some third-party solutions, which Apple is getting rid of.

It all boils down to giving the customers a choice to tackle our smartphone addiction. Some app such as Instagram and Facebook now have native usage limits, which I hope other developers will implement in their apps, so the reliance on a digital wellbeing app can be cut short.

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