Apple Said It’s Going to Help Us With Our Phone Addiction. This Study Indicates That’s Probably a Good Thing

June 6, 2018, 4:26 PM UTC

At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote this week, Apple said it’s going to try to help us with our phone addiction. And judging by a new study, that might be a good thing.

In a survey of 1,137 people conducted in March, cellular signal booster company SureCall found that people are really, really addicted to their phones. The study found that 69% of smartphone owners check their devices at the toilet and 22% are on their handsets even while they’re in the shower. Among the 10% of people who admit to checking their phones during sex, 43% of them have done so multiple times in the past year.

But it gets worse. According to SureCall, 27% of people said that they feel fear and anxiety when they’re without their phones and 30% feel anxiety when they’re not within cell service. Nearly three-quarters of people sleep with a phone on or near their beds and 16% of respondents told SureCall that they believe their romantic relationships are affected by their phone addiction.

Apple on Monday unveiled its new mobile operating system iOS 12 during its WWDC keynote. The operating system includes a variety of feature and performance upgrades and has added a new function that allows users to gain much better insight into the apps they use, when, and how. The idea is to surface for users just how much they’re tied to their smartphones and hopefully get them to step away.

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Indeed, phone addiction is not a new phenomenon and has been discussed for years. But as an increasing number of people—and especially young people—focus so much of their time on their handsets, some industry giants are eyeing ways to curb that.

One of the features Apple unveiled in iOS 12 to address youth phone addiction is Allowances. It aims at giving parents tools to stop their kids from spending too much time in apps or categories of apps. Most importantly, it stops children from spending so much of their time on their phones.

According to SureCall, age appears to be a factor in phone addiction. Eighty-five percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34, for instance, admit to using their phones on the toilet. But 53% of people between the ages of 52 and 70 do the same. Similar differences in phone use appear in all the other metrics SureCall evaluated.

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