Against myopia: Activate screen distance on the iPhone and iPad

After upgrading to iOS 17 on the iPhone and iPadOS 17 on the iPad, the new “Screen Removal” function can be used on devices with Face ID. This measures the distance between the device and the eyes and warns if this is too low for a long period of time. You can find out here how to activate the screen removal function to protect yourself or your children from nearsightedness. Screenshots of the warning show you what the display looks like when it appears. In this guide you will also find two lists with compatible iPhone and iPad models.

Activate screen distance: set up eye protection under iOS / iPadOS

Setting up the new protection function is extremely easy. The way takes you once again via the settings of the iPhone or iPad. are needed iOS 17 or iPadOS 17. If you have updated the device to it or a newer version of the operating system, follow these steps:

  1. Opens the Settings of the device
  2. Vote in it Screen time from
  3. Tap the dot under “Restrict usage”. Screen distance an
  4. If this is your first time, read the introductory screens
  5. Currently you can only do one Switch use to activate/deactivate the function; individual fine adjustments are not possible
To activate eye protection on the iPhone and iPad with Face ID, you control it via Settings -> Screen Time -> Screen Distance. There is an explanation of the feature and then the switch to activate and deactivate it.
To activate eye protection on the iPhone and iPad with Face ID, you control it via Settings -> Screen Time -> Screen Distance. There is an explanation of the feature and then the switch to activate and deactivate it.

This happens when you hold the iPhone too close to your eyes

I have spared no effort to show you how the screen distance function on the Apple iPhone is supposed to ensure that you don't hold the device too close to your eyes. To do this, I held my iPhone 12 Pro very close to my face to read (about 15 cm) and waited for the message. This came after a few minutes and completely took up the display.

If it is detected that you are holding the device too close to your eyes for too long, the display will be covered by a “shield”. This can only be removed if the distance is increased.
If it is detected that you are holding the device too close to your eyes for too long, the display will be covered by a “shield”. This can only be removed if the distance is increased.

As indicated on the screen, you should hold the iPhone further away. The “Continue” button only becomes blue and usable when you move the device away from your face. For me it wasn't arm length, but about 30 to 40 cm - so maybe a child's arm length. But since the feature is primarily intended to protect children from nearsightedness, this is probably correct.

If the device's distance meter determines that a suitable distance between the eyes and the display is maintained, you can remove the "shield" using the Continue button.
If the device's distance meter determines that a suitable distance from the eyes to the display is maintained, you can remove the “shield” using the Continue button.

These iPhone models are compatible with screen removal

With the exception of two models, the new feature can be used on all Apple smartphones Compatible with iOS 17 are used. As already mentioned at the beginning, the smartphone must have Face ID - and therefore also the distance meter in the notch or Dynamic Island. Since the iPhone SE (2nd Gen) and iPhone SE (3rd Gen) still use Touch ID via a home button instead, they are excluded. These smartphones are compatible with screen removal:

  • Apple iPhone XR (2018)
  • Apple iPhone XS / XS Max (2018)
  • Apple iPhone 11 / 11 Pro / 11 Pro Max (2019)
  • Apple iPhone 12 / 12 mini / 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max (2020)
  • Apple iPhone 13 / 13 mini / 13 Pro / 13 Pro Max (2021)
  • Apple iPhone 14 / 14 Plus / 14 Pro / 14 Pro Max (2022)
  • Apple iPhone 15 / 15 Plus / 15 Pro / 15 Pro Max (2023)

These iPad models are compatible with screen removal

While the iPad from the 6th generation, the iPad mini from the 5th generation, the iPad Air from the 3rd generation and the iPad Pro from the 2nd generation Compatible with iPadOS 17 Not all of these devices can be used with the screen removal function. It must also be possible to use Face ID as an unlocking mechanism here, because the technology used for this forms the basis for the new eye protection. Accordingly, only these devices can be used (as of September 20, 2023):

  • iPad Pro with 12,9-inch display from the 3rd Gen (2018)
  • iPad Pro with 11-inch display from the 2rd Gen (2020)

Tips for better eye health: Pomodoro technique and 20-20-20 rule

If you use the iPhone, iPad or Mac for a long time, you should take breaks every now and then. You should also offer your eyes a change, e.g. B. by looking a little further away and focusing on an object that is further away. You can use a mixture of the Pomodoro technique and the 20-20-20 rule.

The Pomodoro technique is a way of working that involves taking a break after certain periods of work (more information here). And the 20-20-20 rule says that after 20 minutes of screen use, you should look at and focus on an object 20 meters away for 20 seconds. Of course, it's even better to look around the area with focal points at different distances. With this mix you ensure that your eyes don't get too used to close objects.

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.

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