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    I would be interested to know if there are open-source / self-hosted alternatives for these kinds of things. I did a quick search and found:

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      Thanks for sharing these.

      I hadn’t looked into open source alternatives, activity watch does look interesting. These projects would also benefit if Apple ever opens up their APIs because iOS and iPadOS are still not supported by such services.

      Edit: missed the question! I haven’t searched open source alternatives. I used Rescue Time for the longest time and then stopped tracking time since it’s built in via Screen Time on iOS and macOS. I’d rather not have an extra program running doing the same thing when the OS is doing it for me.

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        I feel like this particular feature was one of those “bullet point on the box” features designed to placate moralizing parents who wanted to get devices for their kids but not let their kids use the devices “too much.” The majority of its users are thus captives who don’t want the feature and don’t care about it. It’s mostly there to convince distracted parents that they’re doing “enough” for their kids. So of course it’s no good. There’s no incentive for Apple to improve it.

        I definitely agree with the thrust of the article though. Apple is always adding features that we don’t want or use, and then eventually they disappear in the night. Remember widgets? They’ve done this kind of thing forever. They’re humans too, despite how they present themselves.

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          Thank you, I had not thought from that angle at all. That’s probably it. They do feature it near the top in Settings app though, it’s among top 10 in settings app list on iPhone and iOS.

          Remember widgets? I feel that Widgets have at least gotten a lot more love and there are several rumors around widget improvements in iOS 16.

          Nit picking aside, I agree that this is a habit they have gotten into lately and as someone who likes their devices, I find that a bit concerning. A lot of new features feel like they’re 90% done but then they leave them just out there. Storage screen in settings is a good example. It has been around forever and I still often see complaints about a mysterious “other” block growing to 100s of GBs once in a while. Heck, they even brought that to macOS without letting us see further what “other”

          Though recent OS releases from them have been less buggy IMHO, I can only hope that they’ll tighten the quality around OS features next.

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            I mostly agree, except widgets are a tar pit that both Apple and Microsoft and others periodically fall into. Remember Active Desktop with IE4 and Windows 98? (Which in turn was meant to challenge PushCast, IIRC.) Every few years since then someone decides that using HTML to make widgets is a good idea, but it’s never performant enough and they always drop it a few years later.

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              I do remember that!

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            Lack of Export/API

            There were competing businesses writing about this at the time, and at that time were kicked off the app store: https://freedom.to/blog/screentime-is-just-the-beginning-an-api-for-digital-wellbeing/ (via my 2018 tweet: https://twitter.com/vivekgani/status/1044757170078670848 > via https://twitter.com/matthewstoller/status/1044689879224004608)

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              Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t aware of Freedom, and it does look like an interesting service. I didn’t see what kind of usage stats they offer. I see that they don’t send data back and operate on device, I’m also interested in know how they block apps on iOS. Outside parental controls, I don’t think that’s possible.

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                I was exploring how to write my own at one point, and speculate some apps (like Freedom) switched between a vpn profile setup (which could do everything locally and route certain domain names/ips to localhost - on iOS NSAppTransportSecurity’s NSAllowsLocalNetworking might facilitate this) and an actual remote VPN if really needed - hence why many have a monthly payment business model.

                So you could block not the ‘app’ itself, but block the network connections - useful at least for social media & news apps.

                Another approach may be dns proxying, done by https://nextdns.io/ for example.

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                  Thanks, that’s really helpful.

                  I’ve a Raspberry Pi running locally to block ads, I think it would be a fun weekend project to setup a VPN to my home network.