Coming soon to an iPhone near you– the Addiction Cure™. Say, “Thank you, Apple.” You might want to hold onto the kudos, props, and thanks until we see a drop in iPhone addiction, thanks to new controls in iOS 12, due for the masses in early fall.
Humankind seems to run on addictions, and iPhone usage is merely one small gear in a factory overrun with products designed to get us to buy and use and buy again and use again. Let’s not blame Apple too quickly for creating a product that a billion people want to use over and over and over again.
Addiction is a human affliction and all Apple has done is give us exactly what we want and crave. Pleasure. Pleasure in sufficient quantities to feed our addictions, not cure them.
Coming in iOS 12 are a handful of new tools to help us manage our screen time better. Say, “Thank you, Apple” but don’t get too excited because, based on my unofficial and unscientific survey of humans, human addictions based upon the so-called dopamine effect, and utilities which require us to spend more screen time to manage our screen time, not much will change.
Outside of a 12-step Program for Apple customers, or perhaps medication, there is no cure. We are hopelessly addicted to that which gives us pleasure. In this case, a bunch of technology products which help us work and play and stay connected to, 1) humans, 2) work, 3) entertainment, 4) information, 5) personal pleasures (hint: not necessarily in that order).
Much of our lives are devoted to doing things that give us what we need. We breath to get air. We eat to satisfy hunger and to have sufficient energy to get through the day. We work, we play, we procreate, and we just can’t get enough time in front of our iPhone screens.
Sidebar: By iPhone, I mean any smartphone, but it’s likely iPhone users are more addicted than even Android sufferers because we value privacy and security and have a disdain for malware and no operating system updates.
Apple’s online Newsroom has a page devoted to new iOS 12 features to reduce interruptions and help us manage Screen Time. Apple software honcho, Craig Federighi:
In iOS 12, we’re offering our users detailed information and tools to help them better understand and control the time they spend with apps and websites, how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad during the day and how they receive notifications
Fair enough. While much of humanity is hunched over a smartphone screen, we do not necessarily know what they’re doing. Texting? Sure. YouTube? Likely. Games? Uh huh. Using the Screen Time app to manage their notifications and the amount of time devoted to the aforementioned afflictions? Sure.
With Screen Time, these new tools are empowering users who want help managing their device time, and balancing the many things that are important to them.
My guess is that none of these new tools will matter much because they themselves take time to learn, to use, to track, to study, to make adjustments so they can be helpful. It’s like a secure password. It’s too much trouble to create, implement, and remember a long, complex, highly secure password, so most people use something easy and simple, thereby lessening security to have more convenience.
The iPhone addiction cure will not be a cure.