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There are also tools to limit the amount of time spent in apps.

Apple Inc. has unveiled a slate of controls to curb smartphone addiction and make it harder for users to be tracked online, even as the company rolled out new features created to keep people tethered to their devices. As a user gets closer to their time limit, they will receive a notification.

Yesterday, Apple introduced a range of features at its WWDC developer conference that are meant to help you spend less time on your smartphone. Changes include a better Do Not Disturb feature, quiet notifications, set limits on how long an app one wants to use and app allowances.

In January, two major Apple shareholders urged the company to address the issue of "smartphone addiction" among children. Apple shares closed up 0.8 percent at $191.83 after the news, and rose to $192.40 in extended trading.

Apple's privacy and security updates are part of a calculated move to prioritize long-term customer loyalty over shorter-term metrics such as engagement, said Horace Dediu, an Apple analyst with Asymco. "Here's Apple telling the world: We want you to use our products less".

"The tools specifically created to analyse and manage the amount of time kids spends on Apple devices will be a welcome, but potentially alarming new feature for many parents". The company said it would place new restrictions on how apps can access users' cameras and microphones, and make it more hard for data-collection firms to create identifiable "fingerprints" of individual devices.

Along with ARKit 2, Apple announced a new app called Measure that lets you measure objects and distances in augmented reality. Google's tools have a feature called "Dashboard", which contains detailed insights about user habits, allowing someone to see how much time they are spending - or wasting - on YouTube and other apps. Federighi said the changes will make it "dramatically more hard for data companies to identify you and track you".

Apple also rolled out group video chat sessions with up to 32 users, putting it in direct competition with companies such as Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) and Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Skype.

Apple added some cool features to Siri, including a new Shortcuts feature and app based on Apple's Workflow acquisition.

New tools were announced to clamp down on Like and Share buttons and other web tools that can track users around the internet.

"Apple's focus on social responsibility closely followed that of Google at (its developer conference) I/O and illustrates a new appreciation among the tech giants of their role in helping people manage their daily engagement with technology".


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