Tim Cook: Steve Jobs put big emphasis on privacy at Apple

In an exclusive broadcast interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook tells CNNMoney's Laurie Segall what Steve Jobs would think of the problems tech faces today, and why Cook won't run for office.

Posted: Jun 5, 2018 11:31 AM
Updated: Jun 5, 2018 11:31 AM

Even the CEO of Apple is surprised by how much time he spends on his devices.

Tim Cook told CNN's Laurie Segall, in an exclusive TV interview, that he had a wake-up call about his own tech habits after seeing data from a newly unveiled Apple tool that will provide detailed reports of how much time users spend on the iPhone and iPad.

"I've been using it and I have to tell you: I thought I was fairly disciplined about this. And I was wrong," Cook told Segall after Apple's annual developer conference Monday.

The feature, called Screen Time, shows users their daily and weekly time spent in each app and also lets them set time limits for specific apps. Users will also be able to see how many notifications they received and how often they picked up the device.

"When I began to get the data, I found I was spending a lot more time than I should," Cook told Segall, while declining to list which apps occupy the most of his time. "And the number of times I picked up the phone were too many."

Screen Time was the centerpiece of what proved to be a key focus for Apple at the event Monday: Helping users build healthier relationships with their devices by limiting the constant digital distractions and better managing their time.

Apple also expanded its Do Not Disturb feature to hide all notifications on the main screen at night when you're trying to sleep. Users can also set the Do Not Disturb option to automatically end when they leave a location or an event wraps up.

Welcome to 2018, when tech companies hold major press events to introduce innovative ways to use their products less.

The moves come amid broader scrutiny of the impact that tech is having on society, not just with fake news and election meddling, but also on users' personal well-being.

Related: Tim Cook: I don't see politics in my future

Apple investors pressured the company in January to do more to prevent excessive smartphone use among children and teenagers in particular. Current and former Apple executives have also raised concerns about overusing the iPhone.

"The device is not addictive in and of itself. It's what you do on it," Cook told CNN. "Whether the word is 'addiction' or not, I don't know."

"Each person has to make the decision when they get their numbers as to what they would like to do," Cook added.

Apple isn't alone in this effort. Last month, Google introduced a similar feature to show users how they spend their time on their phones. Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company took steps to show fewer viral videos in News Feed "to make sure people's time is well spent."

For Apple, however, there's less concern in encouraging users to take breaks. Facebook and Google make the vast majority of their money by selling ads. The more time a user spends on their services, the more ads he or she might see.

Apple, on the other hand, makes most of its money by selling devices, not ads.

"We've never been focused on usage as a key parameter. We want people to be incredibly satisfied and empowered by the devices that we ship," Cook told CNN. But, he claimed, Apple "never wanted people to spend a lot of time" on these devices.

Related: Tim Cook isn't too worried about a trade war

The fact that Apple's business is not primarily dependent on advertising has also made it easier for Cook and the company to take a strong stance on privacy at a time when consumers and regulators are scrutinizing Facebook for the data it collects and shares.

At the developer conference Monday, Apple unveiled a new option in its Safari browser to stop social media sites from tracking users without their permission. The company used Facebook as the example in its presentation.

In the CNN interview, Cook stopped short of calling out Facebook directly. "We're not focused on any singular company," he said.

"The privacy thing has gotten totally out of control," Cook said. "I think most people are not aware of who is tracking them, how much they're being tracked and sort of the large amounts of detailed data that are out there about them."

At Apple, Cook told CNN, "We think privacy is a fundamental human right."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 609387

Reported Deaths: 7743
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1262491796
Ramsey52997910
Dakota47216475
Anoka43200465
Washington27664296
Stearns22659227
St. Louis18245319
Scott17686139
Wright16518153
Olmsted13503103
Sherburne1212396
Carver1073749
Clay829692
Rice8249111
Blue Earth769944
Crow Wing687999
Kandiyohi669885
Chisago626954
Otter Tail590087
Benton585198
Goodhue485574
Douglas477781
Mower477533
Winona463552
Itasca462768
Isanti445566
McLeod434261
Morrison427762
Beltrami410163
Nobles409850
Steele400719
Polk390772
Becker389157
Lyon365054
Carlton356958
Freeborn350734
Pine337323
Nicollet334045
Mille Lacs314856
Brown308640
Le Sueur299527
Cass288133
Todd288133
Meeker265444
Waseca240723
Martin236933
Roseau212221
Wabasha20833
Hubbard197741
Dodge18943
Renville183146
Redwood178141
Houston175416
Cottonwood168124
Wadena165023
Fillmore158910
Faribault156920
Chippewa154038
Pennington153820
Kanabec147828
Sibley147310
Aitkin139237
Watonwan13619
Rock129019
Jackson123112
Pipestone117126
Yellow Medicine115320
Pope11396
Murray107310
Swift107318
Koochiching96819
Stevens92611
Clearwater89217
Marshall88817
Lake84320
Wilkin83813
Lac qui Parle76122
Big Stone6094
Grant5958
Lincoln5863
Mahnomen5669
Norman5509
Kittson49122
Unassigned48193
Red Lake4037
Traverse3815
Lake of the Woods3474
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 374664

Reported Deaths: 6109
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58891646
Linn21448342
Scott20426250
Black Hawk16680319
Woodbury15319230
Johnson1473686
Dubuque13595213
Dallas1144099
Pottawattamie11307177
Story1082848
Warren592092
Clinton564393
Cerro Gordo562297
Webster538996
Sioux519174
Muscatine4920106
Marshall491479
Des Moines478275
Jasper452073
Wapello4366123
Buena Vista431040
Plymouth404982
Lee392658
Marion369177
Jones301257
Henry301037
Bremer292763
Carroll286252
Boone271234
Crawford270841
Benton262755
Washington259851
Dickinson250745
Mahaska232551
Jackson225842
Kossuth219166
Clay217327
Tama213372
Delaware211743
Winneshiek200636
Buchanan196734
Page195422
Cedar192923
Hardin191144
Wright189140
Fayette188243
Hamilton186851
Harrison181973
Clayton173057
Butler167835
Madison167719
Floyd164642
Mills163824
Cherokee161538
Lyon160941
Poweshiek159036
Allamakee155552
Hancock153134
Iowa148324
Winnebago145731
Calhoun143113
Cass140855
Grundy139333
Emmet136741
Jefferson134535
Sac132620
Shelby131838
Louisa130249
Union129535
Appanoose128049
Franklin127823
Mitchell127243
Chickasaw125717
Guthrie124532
Humboldt124526
Palo Alto114924
Montgomery106738
Howard105322
Clarke102424
Monroe100633
Keokuk99932
Ida92735
Adair89632
Davis86825
Pocahontas86822
Monona85931
Greene79111
Osceola79017
Lucas77423
Worth7568
Taylor67112
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Van Buren56718
Wayne56323
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