New Do Not Disturb in iOS 12 put mindfulness at the fore

Amid the slew of new features coming to iOS 12 announced at WWDC 2018, including Memoji and 32-person FaceTime calls, Apple’s Craig Federighi showcased a revamped Do Not Disturb experience that places a greater emphasis on mindfulness.

Taking a leaf out of Android P’s book, it looks as though Apple is hoping to reduce the chance of iOS notifications proving to be more of a distraction than an asset.

Do Not Disturb during Bedtime

Whilst the current incarnation of Do Not Disturb is great at keeping your iPhone quiet until you choose to take a peek, firing the phone up still presents you with a bright screen crammed full of notifications, day or night. Now, with Do Not Disturb during Bedtime, between set hours Do Not Disturb will show a new lock screen layout centred around a black theme that hides notifications until prompted when you wake up.

Notification tuning and grouped notifications

By pushing in on a notification within iOS 12 users will be able to alter notification behaviour on an app-by-app basis. Notifications from seldom-used apps can still push to your iPhone or iPad but won’t display an on-screen card, play a sound or appear on the lock screen. Instead, notifications from apps with this ‘quiet notification’ modifier will jump straight to Notification Centre whilst their relevant app icon will adopt a notification badge as normal. You’ll also have the option to disable notifications from specific apps entirely this way.

Apple is also integrating grouped (by app) notifications into iOS 12, with the ability to dismiss them en masse.

Screen Time app

Apple is adding in a new Screen Time app which presents users with a weekly activity summary. The report collates information on how, where and when you’re using your device, how often you pick it up and how many app notifications you receive. In doing so, Apple’s hoping users will take it upon themselves to alter unhealthy app usage and phone behaviour.

App Limits

Of course, if you’re in need of more heavy-handed guidance, the Screen Time app also facilitates a feature called App Limits, which actively monitors how long you’re using a specified app for and bars its use once you’ve exceeded a specified time limit. You can choose to ignore the limit, but doing so is a conscious decision that requires active user input to circumvent.

Downtime

An extension of these features is Downtime, which (through Family Sharing) lets parents manage app usage on their kids’ devices during a specific time range. Managing users can keep track of specific apps with automated Activity Reports and even impose app limits for certain applications like games, whilst letting others, such as educational apps or the Phone app, remain wholly accessible at all times.