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Your iPhone Has a Hidden Feature That Can Protect Your Eyes From Blue Light Damage

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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People stare at screens quite a bit these days, especially when those screens are their mobile phones.

iPhone users may love their exceedingly capable handheld mobile life organizers and entertainment hubs, but what they don’t like is the headaches and eye fatigue that come from staring at the brightly lit screens.

To their credit, Apple has not been ignorant of this fact. Over the years, iPhones have been equipped with tools like Dark Mode, Night Shift, True Tone, and other useful features that reduce brightness and blue light, offering more protection for users’ eyes.

However, these features do not offer the ability to track how long you’ve been staring at their screen. With iOS 17, Apple aimed to change that with the newly added feature “Screen Distance.”

So, what is this “Screen Distance” feature, and how does it help reduce eye strain? Let’s dig into it.

What Is “Eye Strain” Exactly?

Staring at bright screens for excessive periods of time causes a variety of eye and vision-related issues.

Whether from a PC, tablet, bright TV, or phone, prolonged blue light exposure can result in eye fatigue, itchiness, discomfort, and even problems with vision.

Sometimes known as “computer vision syndrome,” this condition is more commonly referred to as “eye strain.” 

A feature like Screen Distance aims to mitigate eye strain, but it takes a different approach than most others.

Instead of dimming the screen or changing to night mode, it focuses on maintaining a safe distance between your eyes and your iPhone by sending notification reminders.

How Does Screen Distance Work

The closer you keep your eyes to the screen, the more potential eye strain you will endure in a shorter period of time.

Screen Distance actually measures the distance between your eyes and the screen. If your eyes are too close, a notification will inform them about the screen’s distance. 

While Screen Distance collects certain data, it is retained only on the device and is never shared with Apple.

It does not collect any of your images or videos, either. It simply uses a True Depth camera to measure the distance between your eyes and the screen.

This is the same camera that powers the Face ID feature of logging into the phone. 

When you hold the device closer than a foot from your face for an extended period of time, the Screen Distance feature will prompt you with an “iPhone May Be Too Close” warning.

This reminds you to distance your eyes from the screen further, as shown below.

iPhone may be too close Safe Distance warning

Once you move the iPhone further away, a checkmark with a Continue button appears, allowing you to click it and keep using your iPhone at a recommended screen distance.  

Recommended Screen Distance to reduce eye strain on iPhone

How to Activate the Screen Distance Feature On iPhone

Activating Screen Distance is quite simple. With the Face ID on an iOS 17 device running, use the following steps to turn it on:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Select the Screen Time tab from the list.

Screen Time iOS setting

3. In the Limit Usage section, select Screen Distance.

Screen Distance iOS setting

4. The Screen Distance feature will bring up a screen that will inform you about the feature and offer a Continue button to turn the feature on.

how Screen Distance feature works on iPhone

5. Tap Continue on the next screen again.

Enable Screen Distance on iPhone

6. Then, turn on the Screen Distance feature.

turn on Screen Distance on iPhone

It is as simple as that. From that point forward, if you have the device too close, a message will appear on the screen with a message that reads: “iPhone is Too Close.”

Once the phone is moved a safe distance away, a blue checkmark and the text “Screen Distance: Your iPhone is now at a safe screen distance.” will appear.

Underneath will be a highlight Continue button that you can press to return to what they were doing.  

Wrap Up

Screen Distance is a great feature that might be underutilized but should get more love.

Not only does it help to reduce eye strain and the various discomforts that come along with experiencing it, but it is also particularly helpful with kids who engage in a lot of screen time in helping them avoid nearsightedness (myopia).

To use Screen Distance, you’ll need an iPhone or iPad with Face ID (like iPhone X or later) and must be updated to iOS 17 or iPadOS 17.

If you have any questions, please use the comment section below.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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