iPhone XS features: Twitter erupts over 'screen time' nanny function that watches how you use your phone

Nick Charity
A customer looks at the new iPhone XS Max at an Apple store. The company's new software has introduced new features that can monitor and prevent social media addiction: AP/Patrick Sison

Apple's new iOS 12 feature designed to help people monitor how much their use their phones has been met with astonishment by customers.

With the release of the iPhone's iOS 12 operating system this week, many users were shocked, and some even "disturbed" to a find a feature that tracks in minute detail the apps they use on their phone, and how much time they waste scanning social media.

Users have been posting their "Screen Time" reports on social media, shocked to discover how much time they really spend looking at their phones or tablets - whether learning they lose 10 hours to Facebook each week, or highlighting a hidden addiction to certain games.

The background function allows iPhone users to turn on time limits so they can ration the time they spend on certain kinds of apps each day.

Once their self-imposed limit is up users can opt to carry on, but they are given reminders to point out they may be overdoing it on their phones.

As people woke up to their first 9am Screen Time report today, many have said the shocking reminder of their smartphone habits is proof of widespread social media addiction.

Apple released iOS 12 on September 17 following the unveiling of this year's new batch of iPhone models, including the brand's most expensive to date.

The operating system includes other new features such as enhanced Augmented Reality experiences, and animate emojis, or "animojis".

By putting some apps in "Downtime mode - the iPhone will black out their selected icons during certain times of day so they aren't available (without changing your settings again). You can even put your emails and productivity apps in "Downtime" if you're worried working too much.

Apple said: "Screen Time provides users with detailed information and tools to help them manage the time they spend with apps and websites, and better understand and control where their child spends time. Daily and weekly Activity Reports show the total time spent in individual apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received and how often iPhone or iPad are picked up.

"App Limits allow people to set a specific amount of time to be in an app."