Late night emails or calls from your boss could be easier to ignore if you are an iPhone user, after Apple revealed a new feature that lets you mute notifications.
The Focus setting, announced at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) last night, lets users setup their device to only allow certain people to reach them.
When setting it up, you can name the ‘Focus’ and determine which apps and people can reach you while the Focus is activated – which can be for a time or at a place.
One use of this feature could be to create an ‘Out of Office’ that is enabled at the end of your work day, blocking calls from work numbers and emails from the boss.
Apple hasn’t said when iOS 15 will be publicly available, but confirmed it would be released in the autumn through the settings app, as with previous releases.
If it follows earlier versions of iOS it will likely be released on the same day as the new iPhones, also expected to be released towards the end of the year.
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The Focus setting, announced at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) last night lets users setup your device to only allow certain people to reach you
Notifications will also look a little different following the download of iOS 15 – they will have photos and larger icons. This is part of Apple’s new Focus feature that lets users decide how notifications appear on their iPhone or iPad
FaceTime gets largest upgrade with Apple’s new iOS 15
Apple’s iOS 15 brings the largest update to FaceTime.
It includes 3D audio, which is like surround sound but multiplied.
Portrait mode is coming that blurs the background so the user stands out.
SharePlay will let users watch movies, listen to music or search the web together via FaceTime.
The update also adds features that pits FaceTime against Zoom.
Users can now send video conference links with a schedule and access number.
Chat boxes are also organized as grids for better viewing.
Focus doesn’t technically stop your boss emailing you, but stops you getting a notification for that email and will prevent their calls from coming through.
If your boss has an iPhone and uses iMessages, they will get a notification when they try to message you that you have Focus enabled, asking if they really want to send.
This was just one of a number of new features announced by the Apple team, coming alongside more privacy controls and sharing functionality.
‘For many customers, iPhone has become indispensable, and this year we’ve created even more ways it can enhance our daily lives,’ said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
‘iOS 15 helps users stay connected while sharing experiences in real time, gives them new tools to help reduce distraction and find focus.
‘[It] uses intelligence to enhance the photos experience, and, with huge upgrades to Maps, brings new ways to explore the world.’
Another use of the Focus feature is to turn all distractions off while reading, including from apps, but still allowing messages from loved ones to come through.
It is effectively a more advanced and customisable version of the Do Not Disturb feature that is already available through iOS 14.
‘Focus suggestions are based on users’ context, like during their work hours or while they’re winding down for bed, and when Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to their other Apple devices,’ said Apple in a statement.
‘Users can create Home Screen pages with apps and widgets that apply to moments of focus to only display relevant apps and reduce temptation.’
When a user’s Focus is blocking incoming notifications, their status is automatically displayed to others in Messages, reflecting that a user is not currently reachable.
When setting it up you can name the ‘Focus’ and determine which apps and people can reach you while the Focus is activated – which can be for a time or at a place
Apple hasn’t said when iOS 15 will be publicly available, but confirmed it would be released in the autumn through the settings app, as with previous releases
Apple’s new macOS will now let users drag and drop files between their Macs and iPads
Continuing to blur the lines between Macs and iPads, Apple announced that its new Mac operating system, macOS Monterey, will have a feature that lets people drag and drop files between both devices.
The feature, known as Universal Control, will let users move between Macs and iPads with just a single mouse and keyboard, bringing files back and forth between devices.
It even lets users draw something on an iPad with Apple Pencil and then put it into a Keynote slide on a Mac.
Users will also be able to send their iPad screens and music to an Apple computer, with another feature, known as AirPlay to Mac.
Default Focus options include a simple Do Not Disturb, a Personal setting that lets in messages from friends and family, a Sleep setting that turns everything off and dims the screen, as well as a Work setting that puts focus on office-friendly apps.
This could be setup to mute social media notifications, adapt the home screen to focus on apps like email and Zoom, or prioritise calls from the boss.
You can set a specific Focus based on time, or location. So you could set an Out of Work focus to run from 5pm to 8am, or start the minute you step out of the office.
It could act as an antidote the modern ‘always on’ trend, that some have complained became worse as a result of lockdown moving more people to work from home.
Office workers have complained of having to work longer hours as a result of having work emails on their phones, making it harder to switch off.
Some countries are considering ‘right to disconnect’ laws that could force firms to leave staff alone once their shift is over.
This is designed to ensure a sensible work life balance, and allowing employees to ‘switch off’ after their work day is done.
Focus could help with this by muting any notifications related to work when either away from the physical office, or after a certain time if working from home.
One use of this feature could be to create an ‘Out of Office’ that is enabled at the end of your work day, blocking calls from work numbers and emails from the boss
Some research has revealed that the average work day increased by up to two hours during the pandemic.
This is due to staff more easily able to continue working into the evening without risking missing a bus or train home from the office.
As well as a new ‘Focus’ setting, iOS 15 includes FaceTime improvements including 3D audio, a portrait mode to blur the background and Zoom like video conferences.
Users can also watch and listen to the same movies and music with friends through the new SharePlay feature.
FaceTime will also be supported on Windows and Android devices through a browser – the first time it has been available on another platform.
There will be an iMessage redesign that transforms message photos into galleries and a change to notifications, including photos of contacts and larger icons.
Apple’s Wallet app will soon allow you to store your driver’s license on your iPhone
At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), the tech giant revealed an upgrade for its Apple Wallet app that will allow users to use their iPhone as identification at US airports.
As one of the updates to iOS 15, iPhone users will be able scan their driver’s license or other approved state ID into their Wallet.
The ID will be encrypted and stored in the same secure element as users’ credit cards, transit passes and airline boarding passes.
As part of a pending partnership with the TSA, users will be able to use their iPhone as identification at participating states’ airport security checkpoints.
‘Later this year, customers in participating states in the US will be able to add their driver’s license or state IDs to Wallet,’ Apple said in a statement. ‘The Transportation Security Administration is working to enable airport security checkpoints as the first place customers can use their digital Identity Card in Wallet.’
Hotel key cards are also in the works for Apple Wallet, with the tech giant working with Hyatt and other major chains to support the feature.
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