First things first, love the app and truly believe it’s something this world needs… badly!
That being said, sometimes I can’t help but just turn off the screen time access for opal in the settings… so if that could be blocked, it would be awesome! Additionally, sometimes the app doesn’t work right away unless I open up the opal app, at which point I might have already been distracted for a bit.
It would be great if turning off Screen Time Access for Opal in settings required a separate passcode. For example, it could require the Screen Time passcode that can be set up for Apple’s Screen Time restrictions.
Currently, it requires the device passcode which is flawed because it means whoever is using the device with Opal installed can always turn off the restrictions.
Unfortunately this wouldn’t solve the problem, because you’d still need to know the device password to be able to unlock and use the device. So even if the password is long, you’d still have to know it to use the device and therefore you’d still be able to turn off Opal’s ‘Screen Time Access’.
That’s why I think it would be best for the setting to be locked behind a separate password. It would make sense for this to be the Screen Time passcode. Many people use the Screen Time passcode to self impose device restrictions by having a trusted friend/partner set it. They can still unlock and use the device using the device password but cannot bypass the Screen Time restrictions because they are locked behind a passcode only their trusted friend knows.
I see what you are saying, but I don’t think having a separate password on Opal is going to help you and I will explain why. Their are two ways that you can get around the Opal restrictions during a deep focus session. The first way is to turn off screen time and then delete the app. This is probably the easiest way because you only need a 4 digit password. I do agree that having a trusting friend or family member set the pass code for you is a good idea. The second way to get around the Opal app is to disable Apps with Screen time access. If you go to screen time and look for the setting that says apps with screen time access and turn it off, then by default it is going to ask for your iPhone password. Having a separate password for Opal would prompt you for a password if you tried to open the Opal app, but if you went to Apps with screen time access then Apple is going to ask you for your Iphone password. I’m pretty sure their is nothing that Opal could do about this because they have to work within Apple strict guidelines and restrictions. Having a separate password would help you during a normal focus session because now you would need a separate password just to open the Opal App and you wouldn’t be able to edit or cancel your session though the Opal app.
You can have Face ID on to unlock your phone, but have Face ID turned off for the Opal app. You go to Face ID & Password under settings and turn on Phone unlock, then select other apps and you will see an option that says Family Controls Authentication UI, turn Face ID off. This way you can unlock your phone easily with Face ID, but if you try to disable the app by going to screen time access you will be required to put in your long password. If you feel like your going to cave and enter your password to disable Opal you can always enter the wrong password really quick a few times and now you will be locked out of your phone for a min. Try it again and it goes to 5 min. You will then be required to unlock your phone with a really long password.
Right, so what I’m suggesting is that when you go to Settings and try to turn off an app in ‘Apps with Screen Time Access’, it should require a different password to the device password for the reasons explained above. It would make sense to be the Screen Time passcode as Apple already supports this for applying device restrictions that the device owner can’t bypass.
This is indeed part of the way the Screen Time API currently works that is up to Apple. But it is a fundamental flaw that prevents apps like Opal from allowing user’s to self impose device restrictions in that way they can with Apple’s Built In Screen Time Restrictions. So it was worth raising to Opal to make them aware of the issue, so they can hopefully also discuss this with Apple as one of the biggest users of their Screen Time API.
Unfortunately, using Face ID but not knowing your device password would not work as a solution, because the device periodically requests the device password to unlock it (and when you restart the device).
Hi @here this is a really insightful conversation, and thank you for sharing these thoughts. We don’t have a clear solution and your ideas are great.
@Opal_User_28343 you are correct that this is great feedback for Apple, and we will share it with them. We have 74 open tickets with them about the API so we have to be patient but this is spot on.
Another way we are thinking is a point system that rewards / penalizes you on your journey to Focus. When you turn off screen time permissions, you would get a penalty. This will only work of course if there is real value in the rewards that you get. We are thinking about this.
Thanks Kenneth, appreciate all the work you and your team are putting in. Glad to hear you’re working with Apple on improvements! Looking forward to all future developments of Opal.
I think being able to self impose restrictions tailored to an individual’s needs is one of the most important new directions for the digital world. After such a longer period of tech companies having free rein to build addictive and always available products, there is such a need to be able to counter them in ways that don’t require will power.
It seems more dangerous to allow apps that profit on (getting and keeping) my attention to run endlessly on my phone, then it is to let Opal (an app that tries to help me keep my sanity) possibly have access to my information. The difference is, one type of app is trying to take away years of my life and get me so wrapped up in consumerism that I don’t even know who I am or what I want anymore… the other is trying to give me back years of my life and save me money and peace of mind by allowing me to focus on what’s in my present reality.
I think you may have just read the title here rather than the first post. They are saying it is a problem that you can easily turn off Opal’s ‘Apps with Screen Time Access’ in the Settings app, which reverts any blocks you set up.
Thanks for your feedback @here, I think it’s on us to create an incentive for everyone to keep screen time permissions active for Opal. We’re working on it. Any ideas of how we could do that are welcome!
I love the app In every way and I think it’s great the only issue I have is when you go to screen time section you can turn off the ‘apps with screen time access’. Is there anyway I could remove this so I can’t turn the app off, it’s an easy way to get around the app thanks.
I just noticed, unfortunately, that it is possible to disable opal’s blocking by simply going to the screen time app and toggling off Opal’s screen time access. This merely requires FaceID, not the screen time passcode.
Is it possible to prevent this? Including using content and privacy restrictions?
My partner has my screen time passcode so I can’t just turn off features like downtime. So I could do the same with content and privacy restrictions if that helps.
If it isn’t possible, this is yet another incredibly frustrating Apple limitation on screen time that makes it basically impossible to set hard limits on your own app usage at a granular level…
I’ve encountered the same issue/challenge. It sucks because, for me, Opal’s primary value-add is how draconian and un-cancellable it can be. The Deep Focus protection has helped to enormously combat my impulsivity, time-blindness & nonstop scrolling. I hate that I can now easily undo its action mechanism (via Settings, etc.).
Is there any way we can make it far more difficult to turn off Opal?
Thanks for touching base on this @kenneth! As @Raj_Persaud said, “Opal’s primary value-add is how draconian and un-cancellable it can be”.
I personally don’t want to pay an extra fee and don’t care about losing milestones. I just want Opal to be what it is, a protection against myself: this would literally give me back years of my life. The best alternative there is to Opal is switching back to a 3310