England's poshest school Eton bans iPhones but provides iPads

in iPhone edited July 10

Eton College is responsible for some of Britain's most famous politicians, and now it wants to make sure future UK technology leaders are denied iPhones.

Historic brick and stone buildings with tall towers and spires, surrounded by green lawns and trees, under a partly cloudy sky.
Eton College (Source: Kazimierz Mendlik, Wiki Commons)

During its 14 years in power, the UK's Conservative Party had such a strong grip on technology that it demanded Apple add security features it already had. When he was Prime Minister, Boris Johnson claimed that no country in the world had got Apple and Google's COVID app to work, while the rest of Europe carried on with their successful ones.

Johnson was educated at Eton, as were 19 other former UK prime ministers. It's a boarding school for boys -- never girls -- aged 13 and up, and currently costs around $21,330 per term, or $63,990 per year to attend.

Fortunately, while it might dent just how entitled an Eton graduate tends to become, their families can now save a little money. According to CBS News, first-year pupils are no longer allowed iPhones.

Strictly speaking, they aren't allowed any smartphones. But these kids are not making informed choices about whether iPhone or Android appeals to them most, they're used to just getting the most expensive available.

And now that doesn't matter, because when they arrive at Eton, the SIM cards in their iPhones will be transferred to basic Nokia phones provided by the school. UK iPhones have not yet switched to eSIMs as US ones have.

"Eton routinely reviews our mobile phone and devices policy to balance the benefits and challenges that technology brings to schools," a spokesperson said. "[Pupils] will receive a 'brick' phone for use outside the school day, as well as a school-issued iPad to support academic study."

If Eton is the stereotypical image of posh England, this policy is as British as it gets. You can't have an iPhone, it says, but we'll give you an iPad.

Hopefully those iPads are in some way locked down, but on past record, Eton could just be hoping that its students are technologically inept. Boris Johnson, for instance, famously told an inquiry he couldn't hand over crucial messages because he'd forgotten his phone's passcode.

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  • Reply 1 of 9
    This is an idiotic nothing story. Clickbait to make it sound like the UK is targeting Apple, when it's simply a story about limiting access to a distracting technology for first year students.

    That's certainly a topic parents might debate....I, for example, love the idea...but it has nothing to do with the clickbait lede. 

    I'm getting increasingly frustrated by this writer's stories, tone and take on things. Be better.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 277member

    When he was Prime Minister, Boris Johnston claimed that no country in the world had got Apple and Google's COVID app to work, while the rest of Europe carried on with their successful ones.

    Emphasis mine. Surely a BBC alum should have caught that one.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    clexmanclexman Posts: 213member
    This has to be one of the dumbest things ever written on AI.

    Trying to make a negative out of the number of leaders that went to school there is a joke. Might as well say Harvard Medical School sucks because it produces so many great doctors.

    A school wants less distractions for kids in class, but still recognizes that being able to stay in touch with friends and family is important. That's the story.

  • Reply 4 of 9
    NYC362NYC362 Posts: 91member
    I often leave comments on this site using my past experience as an Expert at an Apple Store for about 4½ years.   Here I can use my pre-Apple experience- 32 years as a public high school teacher.

    What Eton is doing is a good thing.  Students are WAY too connected to their phones.  Some years back, I had to take one from a student who just refused to put it away.  A few minutes later, another student tells me that first kid was now cutting herself.  Yes, she was using some relatively sharp to make straight line bruises on an arm.  If the object was any sharper, she would have been bleeding all over the place.

    That might be an extreme example, but you get the idea. 

    The constant connection to the internet and to each other takes away from learning. Simple as that.  If they are paying attention to their phone, they are not paying attention to the lesson at hand.  

    A number of years ago, an MIT professor tried a small experiment in his lecture.  He had half the class operate as normal, meaning they had phones, tablets, and laptops out.  They were all multitasking- listening to him and watching whatever online.  The other half just had pen and paper, or maybe a computer, but agreed to not use the internet.  The professor gives a lecture, a rather basic one, and then gives everyone a short quiz on it.  As you might expect, the students that were not multitasking did quite a bit better than those who were. 

    Finally, if I am a parent and I'm paying tens of thousands of pounds for my son to go to Eton, he damn well better be paying attention to the instructors and not his phone.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    Because "bans all smartphones" isn't as effective at raising the ire of Apple fans...
  • Reply 6 of 9
    Gerry-AGerry-A Posts: 11member
    How has he written this piece of rubbish. As a Londoner I can confirm iPhone's sold in the UK have  had e-sim capability for ages.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    Gerry-A said:
    How has he written this piece of rubbish. As a Londoner I can confirm iPhone's sold in the UK have  had e-sim capability for ages.
    Yup, I dropped into the comments to point out that I am using an esim service on a UK iPhone.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,553member
    Re: "Eton College is responsible for some of Britain's most famous politicians"

    At least we now know who to blame. 
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Because that iPad can do so much less than an iPhone.  Sure, Jan. 
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