In a bid to address the growing concern of myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, particularly prevalent among children due to extended screen usage, Apple has stepped forward with a solution. During the June WWDC event, Apple, the manufacturer of iPhones and iPads highly popular among children, highlighted its commitment to help. As part of the iOS 17 update, Apple is introducing the “Screen Distance” feature, aiming to prompt users to maintain a safe viewing distance from their devices.
Understanding the “Screen Distance” Feature
The “Screen Distance” feature, debuting with iOS 17, serves as a valuable tool for ensuring users, especially children, maintain a safe viewing distance from their iPhone or iPad screens. Prolonged proximity viewing has been identified as one of the contributing factors to myopia, making it crucial for Apple to take this step toward user well-being.
Utilizing the TrueDepth Camera
To enforce safe viewing distance, the “Screen Distance” feature relies on the TrueDepth camera of your device, making it essential for users to own an iPhone or iPad equipped with Face ID functionality. Apple emphasizes that the feature neither captures photos nor records videos during the process, and all “Screen Distance” data remains solely on the user’s device, never being shared with the company.
How It Works
Once activated, the “Screen Distance” feature continuously monitors the user’s viewing distance from the device, ensuring it stays at least 30 centimeters away from their eyes. If a user, be it an adult or a child, holds their iPhone or iPad too close to their face, a warning prompt will appear on the screen. The prompt will prevent further device use until the user complies by moving the device to a safer distance and tapping the “Continue” button. It is important to note that the warning prompt does not appear immediately; instead, the device must be held close to the face for approximately five minutes before the warning triggers.
Accessibility and Availability
The “Screen Distance” feature is currently available as part of the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 public beta versions. To activate the feature, users need to navigate to Settings > Screen Time > Screen Distance, and from there, enable the Screen Distance functionality. If a Screen Time passcode is set up, users will be required to input the passcode to enable the “Screen Distance” feature.
Is Upgrading to iOS 17 Worth It?
As the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 beta versions are available for users to test, many wonder if it is wise to upgrade. However, before proceeding with the update, it is crucial to consider the potential benefits and risks associated with beta software. While early adopters get to experience the latest features, there might be some bugs or stability issues that could impact the overall user experience. For those seeking to explore the “Screen Distance” feature and other new additions, joining the public beta could provide valuable insights. Nevertheless, users should be cautious and back up their data before testing beta versions to mitigate any potential data loss risks.
Apple’s introduction of the “Screen Distance” feature with iOS 17 demonstrates the company’s commitment to user well-being, particularly in addressing the rising concerns of myopia among children. By utilizing the TrueDepth camera, Apple empowers users to maintain a safe viewing distance, protecting their eyesight while using iPhones and iPads. While the iOS 17 beta offers a glimpse into the latest advancements, users should weigh the benefits and risks before upgrading, ensuring a seamless and secure user experience. The “Screen Distance” feature represents a significant step towards responsible device usage and serves as a testament to Apple’s dedication to enhancing user health and safety.