As part of the update to iOS 15, Apple will allow iPhone users to better customize how they want to be notified about incoming calls, texts or updates from apps based on their current status. With the new Focus feature instead of just silencing calls and notifications through Do Not Disturb, you’ll be able to set different types of notification preferences based on your status — like whether you’re driving, working, sleeping or through the use of custom categories of your own choosing.
The system also uses on-board AI to help determine what your status is at a given time. For example, the phone might suggest you turn off notifications when you’re arriving at the gym.
The feature somewhat recalls the smart launchers that had been popular on Android devices many years ago, like Aviate or EverythingMe, among others, which customized your device based on what you were doing, the time of day, and other factors. These apps never took off on iOS because Apple doesn’t allow third-party apps to deeply integrate with its mobile operating system or reconfigure the device’s homescreen and the trend later fizzled out.
Also new is Notification Summary, which bundles and prioritizes incoming notifications, based on things like time of day. Do Not Disturb has also been integrated directly into iMessages, so other users will know when you don’t want to be bothered by incoming notes. The system can also be set up to send you a briefing as a big chunk during a time of day, making the lock screen notification a more interactive experience than in previous iOS versions.