Screen Time is a way for Apple to try and let iOS users keep tabs on their digital health on a regular basis. And now there’s a new tool being baked into the feature.
Earlier today, Apple seeded the first developer beta of iOS 13.3 and iPadOS 13.3, and now that the pre-release software has been available long enough to discover what’s new, it’s been confirmed that at least one new feature is coming along for the ride. Specifically, new limits for communication.
As noted first by MacRumors, you can see the screenshot of the first beta of iOS 13.3 below. The new feature is called Communication Limits and you’ll be able to find it in the Screen Time app when iOS 13.3 launches to the public at some point in the (hopefully near) future. And it works just as the name suggests.
With Communication Limits, parents will be able to set limits for who their kids can talk to. That includes using the Phone app, iCloud contacts, Messages, and FaceTime.
Using Screen Time, users will be able to select either a certain contact or contacts that can be communicated with, or everyone if no barrier is set. Apple also included the ability to select users that can be allowed access to a group chat when a particular member of a family group is already part of the group chat. (This could make planning for holidays or birthdays much easier.)
Parents will be able to set specific rules for messaging and communication within Screen Time during downtime as well. And it’s worth noting that no matter what type of limits for communication is set, emergency calls to identified numbers will also be allowed. Communication limits will also be turned off for 24 hours hen an emergency call is placed.
All of this sounds like a nice addition, even if it is primarily meant for parents. Still, being able to quickly set rules for when a kid can or cannot talk to someone (like during a set period of time for homework) is a nice touch.
iOS 13.3 is currently in its first beta phase, so it will probably be a few weeks before it launches to the public.