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Due to the rise in cases related to short-sightedness or myopia, Apple has introduced a new Screen Distance feature in iOS 17, which prompts users to move the screen away when it’s held close to the eyes to reduce eyestrain. While this feature has worked flawlessly for the majority of users, a handful of users aren’t able to access this feature. In case the iOS 17 Screen Distance feature is not working for you, here are a few ways to fix it!
- Check if your iPhone supports Screen Distance
- Understand how Screen Distance works
- Clean Dynamic Island or notch
- Ensure that Screen Distance is enabled
- Disable Assistive Access on your iPhone
- Remove case and screen protector
- Check for system updates
- Reset Face ID on your iPhone
- Reset all settings on your iPhone
- Factory reset your iPhone
1. Check if your iPhone supports Screen Distance
In case Screen Distance is not working on your iPhone, you might want to check if your specific model supports this feature. You see, Screen Distance is a new feature in iOS 17, which is only available for the following models:
- iPhone 15 series
- iPhone 14 series
- iPhone 13 series
- iPhone 12 series
- iPhone 11 series
- iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR
- iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)
2. Understand how Screen Distance works
Screen Distance utilizes the TrueDepth camera on your device to calculate how near or far away you are holding it in front of your face. If you hold your device closer than 12 inches (30 cm) to your face for extended periods, you will be prompted to hold your iPhone at arm’s length to reduce eyestrain.
If you have already set up Screen Distance on your device, and you still haven’t encountered the Screen Distance prompt on your screen, it would mean that you’re holding your device at a correct distance from your face.
3. Clean Dynamic Island or notch
If Screen Distance is not working on your iPhone, you might want to ensure that the Dynamic Island or notch that holds the TrueDepth camera on your iPhone isn’t obstructed by dust or debris. To do this, you may use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe your iPhone’s screen until it’s reasonably clean.
4. Ensure that Screen Distance is enabled
Screen Distance isn’t enabled by default in iOS 17. You must enable this feature from the settings app before you can use it on your device. Here’s how you can quickly enable the Screen Distance feature on your device:
- Go to Settings → Screen Time → Screen Distance.
- Toggle on Screen Distance.
5. Disable Assistive Access on your iPhone
Assistive Access is a new accessibility feature in iOS 17 that offers large text labels and high-contrast buttons for a more simplified user interface. While it’s useful, Assistive Access causes several features like Screen Distance to stop functioning. You must disable Assistive Access to use these features.
- While you’re in Assistive Access, triple-click the power button.
- Select Exit Assistive Access from the list that appears.
- Enter the Assistive Access passcode to exit the interface.
6. Remove case and screen protector
Many times, an improperly applied screen protector or a fancy case can also cover the TrueDepth camera on your iPhone, causing the Screen Distance feature to stop working.
If you think that’s causing the issue on your iPhone, you should remove the case and screen protector to see if that helps you.
7. Check for system updates
In case the previous solutions weren’t able to help you, there’s a possibility that you’ve run into a bug or glitch that’s preventing Screen Distance from working on your device. In most instances, you should be able to easily fix such issues by installing a software update with the relevant bug fixes.
- Navigate to Settings → General → Software Update.
- Tap Update Now if an update is available.
8. Reset Face ID on your iPhone
If you’re still unable to use Screen Distance on your device, resetting Face ID might help you since both features rely on your device’s TrueDepth camera. Here’s how you can quickly reset Face ID on your iPhone or iPad:
- Navigate to Settings → Face ID & Passcode.
You will need to enter your iPhone’s Passcode.
- Scroll down and tap Reset Face ID.
- Then, tap Set Up Face ID → Get Started.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to set up Face ID again.
9. Reset all settings on your iPhone
Have you recently made any major changes in the Settings app on your device? Many times, any unwanted changes you might have made in the Settings app can also cause some useful features to stop working for you. In such cases, it’s recommended that you reset all settings on your device.
- Go to Settings → General → Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Tap Reset → Reset All Settings.
- Enter your iPhone or iPad’s Passcode.
- Tap Reset All Settings again to complete the process.
10. Factory reset your iPhone
If resetting settings on your device didn’t help restore the Screen Distance feature, it’s recommended to perform a factory reset on your device to see if that does the trick. Do note that performing a factory reset will remove all of your personal data or files and revert all settings to their default values.
- Navigate to Settings → General → Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Choose Erase All Content and Settings.
- Tap Continue → type the iPhone Passcode. Then, you may follow the on-screen instructions once the automatic iCloud backup completes.
If none of the solutions helped you resurrect the Screen Distance feature on your iPhone, the last thing you can do is reach out to Apple Support. They’ll be able to diagnose your iPhone for potential software or hardware issues that could cause Screen Distance to stop working for you Inadvertently.
The Screen Distance feature in iOS 17 offers an easy way to reduce digital eyestrain and ensure that your vision stays healthy by reducing the risk of myopia or short-sightedness. However, if this useful feature is somehow not working on your iPhone, the solution that I’ve listed in this troubleshooting guide should be able to get Screen Distance up and running in no time.
If you found this guide useful and were able to resurrect Screen Distance, do let us know which solution helped you in the comments section below. Also, don’t hesitate to mention any other solution that did the trick for you.
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Ayush is a tech enthusiast turned tech journalist and how-to writer with a knack for explaining complex topics clearly and concisely. When he’s not writing, you can find him studying the latest trends in consumer technology, binge-watching videos from his favorite tech YouTubers, or diving into immersive open-world games.