Leadership

Apple CEO Tim Cook admits even he spends too much time on his phone

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Commencement Exercises at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 9, 2017.
Brian Snyder | Reuters

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently realized he has a problem: He uses technology too much for his own good.

After Apple debuted Screen Time, a new iOS feature aimed to combat tech addition, at the Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday, Cook tried it and admits it led to a rude awakening about his own phone use. "I've been using it and I have to tell you, I thought I was fairly disciplined about this. And I was wrong," Cook told CNN in an interview Monday.

"When I began to get the data, I found I was spending a lot more time than I should," Cook said. "I also found that the number of notifications I was getting just didn't make sense anymore."

Screen Time shows iPhone and iPad users how much time they are spending on their phone, which apps they are using the most and how many notifications they get — all as a way to make people more mindful about their tech use.

The new iOS feature appears not long after two prominent Apple investors, Jana Partners, LLC, and the California State Teachers' Retirement System, said that Apple was responsible for helping consumers better understand and manage their tech habits in a letter they sent to Apple's board of directors.

"More than 10 years after the iPhone's release, it is a cliché to point out the ubiquity of Apple's devices among children and teenagers, as well as the attendant growth in social media use by this group," they stated in the letter. "What is less well known is that there is a growing body of evidence that, for at least some of the most frequent young users, this may be having unintentional negative consequences."

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Earlier this year, Cook said that, although he doesn't have any kids, he does set tech limits on his nephew: "There are some things that I won't allow; I don't want them on a social network."

On Monday, Cook still maintained that "the device is not addictive in and of itself. It's what you do on it," adding that, "Whether the word is 'addiction' or not, I don't know."

"Ultimately, each person has to make the decision when they get their numbers as to what they would like to do," Cook said.

Here's how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, billionaire investor Mark Cuban and media mogul Arianna Huffington have faced up to and dealt with their own tech habits.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Commencement Exercises at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, June 9, 2017.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
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