Apple’s iOS 15 preview earlier this week gave us a look at a key new feature coming in iPhone notifications: Help. A few new tools might serve as lifesavers for those of us right up to our eyes in a sea of daily notifications. Control which apps and people are allowed to eavesdrop on us and when. but vice versa App developers get additional tools to get your attention too. and can start sending you too over Notifications — even if they’re less disturbing.
First of all, good news: the new Notifications feature in iOS 15 looks really nice and useful. There̵7;s a new feature called Focus that lets you choose which people and apps notifications you want to see at a specific time. It’s like Do Not Disturb. But there’s more to tweaks than just turning off all possible interruptions. You can set modes for work, sleep, personal time, and other situations such as exercise.
With the new Focus Mode set, Siri can scan your messages and calls and automatically suggest allowing notifications from the people you talk to the most. There’s a good tip, too: Communications from people you approve can come from other apps like Facebook Messenger, not just from iMessage or Messages. When you receive a Facebook Messenger message in iOS 15, you may also see a prompt to associate the person in the app with the corresponding person in your contact list. when you’re done Communications from that person in third-party apps will be allowed to interrupt your focus mode. If you allow it
You also have the option to set an away message when you use focus mode. This lets people know that you’re temporarily busy when they send you iMessages. When your friend hasn’t received a response from you for hours. They won’t have to guess that you hate them or that you’re just really busy with work. And it’s good for everyone. iOS 15 also adds a summary of notifications. This will group lower-priority notifications into digests that you’ll receive at certain times of the day.
All of this gives you more control over distractions. which is great! But what about app developers that want you to ~engage~ with their platform? They have new options too. They can now use one of four interrupt notification types. Two of which are new in iOS 15. The first is passive interrupts. It’s a new, non-distracting notification type for developers that don’t wake your screen or make your phone vibrate — they go straight to your Notification Center. Earlier versions of iOS allowed users to customize notifications. Alerts from some apps to send silently. But this new framework gives app developers the option to send notifications this way.
This is the type of notification that will likely end up being grossed out if you’ve enabled that feature. These don’t just appear in chronological order in digest digests — machine learning helps them sort them in order of importance. Images and other images are likely to be included, as Apple encourages developers to include media as part of their notifications to increase their chances of showing at the top of the summary list. And because the risk of annoying you is less. Developers are therefore incentivized to send notifications more often and be more engaged. They will be less disruptive. But these are the types of notifications we’re likely to see more in iOS 15.
Another new interrupt type is “time-sensitive”, which is the Plus notification type. It works like a standard notification. Make the screen brighter and play sound or vibrate. But there’s an important difference: it allows hacking through your focus mode settings and letting you know, even if it’s not from an “approved” app. Users can toggle the option to view notifications on and off. that is time sensitive So if you really don’t want to see those notifications. Well, you don’t even have to. In theory, it should only be used for truly time-sensitive events like a package delivered or your credit card company. To make sure it was you who bought 2 round trip tickets to Maui.
In theory, Apple helps developers decide which notifications deserve a given time. So it’s more or less on the honor system. The company urges them to maintain their trust and remember that users can turn off notifications for their apps if they feel unnecessarily disturbed. And lest we forget that Apple has previously violated the rules in regards to being too intrusive for notifications. Can developers end up with too much time sensitive notifications? It’s possible, but it’s likely that there won’t be much benefit from doing so. This is because users can opt out and may decide to mute the app entirely.
There are other things to know about notifications in iOS 15:
- With compatible audio devices like AirPods, Siri can read incoming notifications to you. Previously, this functionality was limited to incoming messages only. By default, Siri reads the content of time-sensitive messages and notifications.
- in general Alerts with the “important” distraction type don’t change: these, like Amber Alerts, will bypass your ringtone setting to ring and get your attention. App developers still require special permissions for these notifications. So we shouldn’t immediately start seeing more of these notifications in iOS 15.
- Notifications will look slightly different. It has a large app icon and a contact’s image included in the message. Actions you can take on notifications (such as images, for example) are also given graphic icons.