When iOS 17 was released last month, most users who upgraded focused on features like NameDrop, StandBy, and the new FaceTime updates—which are indeed quite useful. However, there is a highly useful feature that most people are unaware of, buried in iOS settings—Screen Distance.
For those uninitiated, Apple has developed this feature to reduce the stress on one’s eyes while using their smartphones by facilitating one simple thing—alerting users that their face might be too close to their phone.
Once you turn on this feature, the iPhone periodically detects when users are holding their phones less than an arm’s length away and too close to the screen, then alerts users that their ‘iPhone May Be Too Close.’ The warning further says that ‘Keeping your iPhone at arm’s length can protect your eyesight.’
Now, the warning immediately goes away the moment you create at least an arm’s length distance between your iPhone’s screen and your eyes. Once you do, the iPhone says that your device is now at a recommended distance.
Notably, to use this feature, one needs to have an iPhone with the TrueDepth front-facing camera system so that it can detect how far a user is from the screen. In our testing, the Screen Distance feature activated multiple times—especially during late-night browsing when one, without realizing, used their phone quite near to the face—increasing the risk of myopia and other eyesight-related issues in the long run. It serves as a good reminder to practice good screen hygiene.
How To Enable The Screen Distance Feature
- To enable the Screen Distance feature, you first need to have iOS 17 downloaded on your iPhone with a TrueDepth camera system (notch or Dynamic Island models).
- If you already have iOS 17/iPadOS 17 installed, open Settings and head to Screen Time. Next, look for the Screen Distance feature. Tap on it and enable Screen Distance.
Apple notes that this feature reduces eye strain and reduces the risk of myopia in children. In addition, this feature also works with supported iPads with Face ID biometric authentication systems.