After doing some research today it seems there is no way to block the Files app using Apple’s Screen Time settings. Even when the entire device is locked at Downtime, there is no way to block the Files app. Chlidren can therefore use the Files app at any time of the day or night to:
I suspect this also means that time in the Files app isn’t tracked as part of the Screen Time time limits.
Some restrictions still apply despite this fairly large loophole:
This seems like a pretty big gap in Screen Time to me. If you care about this and happen to know anyone at Apple you can prod, I’ve filed Feedback 11953747.
Today I had an implementation question for one of our campus principals and she gifted me with the reasoning behind her answer, in addition to answering the question. I call it a gift because it helps me understand her priorities and empowers me to make small related decisions that I might have otherwise had to keep going back to ask her about.
It actually reminded me of something I learned a long time ago in the ADF called “Commander’s Intent”. When issuing orders down the chain of command, each commander should explain the intent or strategy behind their orders to their subordinates. If, or more accurately- when, the plan goes out the window, junior officers, NCOs and even individual soldiers should know enough of the context to adjust their own actions to keep working towards the overall strategy.
For example, instead of just ordering a detachment to deploy a radio transmitter on top of a certain feature (hill) by 0400 hours, the commander should first explain that at 0500 hours a parachute squadron will be deploying into a remote area and needs a backup radio link in case their satelite communications fail.
Now let’s say the radio detachment:
a. has a vehicle failure, b. finds the road marked on the map doesn’t exist, c. encounters an enemy patrol on their planned route, or d. is faced with some other unforseen event
The commander on the ground can evaluate options and come up with a new plan instead of having to radio back and forth with HQ trying to explain the situation to someone who isn’t there and then wait for new orders. Based on their first hand experience of the situation and their knowledge of the overall goal, the detachment commander can evaluate various options and then confirm the new plan with HQ. Options considered might include:
a. waiting for logisitics support to fix the vehicles or continuing on foot with the required equipment, b. choosing an alternate deployment location, c. engaging with the enemy patrol or being very careful to avoid them so as not to give away the larger mission, d. working with another detachment or partner force to provide the back up communications channel
It was a good reminder for me as a manager that I need to share the “why” with my team, not just the “what”. I need to give them the gift of context and intent so they know which tasks are important, when to postpone a task that can wait (or abandon one that no longer contributes to the overall goal) and when to change course without having to ask.
That sounds fantastic but it doesn’t seem like Netflix have actually thought about the intended audience for this as the user experience to identify these documentaries is awful.
If you’re a teacher, here are the steps to find out which documentaries are available:
On a brand new laptop with no distractions and an uncontested 100Mbps Internet connection (three things I wouldn’t count on teachers in most schools having) I was able to check three documentaries in just under a minute, not including the time to save the URL if it was one of the small percentage that are permitted for educational use (nor the time to navigate to the next page when you finish one).
All up that’s going to be 40+ painful minutes of clicking and navigating for a list of about 25 education permitted documentaries (extrapolating from a fairly small sample).
A far better experience would be if the list view contained a little icon of some sort (a mortaboard hat icon perhaps) indicating which documentaries permit education screenings.
Standard HTML links (that allow opening links in a new tab and seeing which links have already been visited) would also be a huge improvement.
I contacted Netflix PR (the part of the organisation that hosts the “Only on Netflix” portion of the site) over a week ago and asked them for more information about the titles available under this service and whether they were aware of the usability and accessibility issues but I didn’t receive even an automated reply. I will update this post if they get back to me.