iPhones mute emails out of the office to tackle burnout in iOS 15 software update

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Nightly emails or phone calls from your boss may be easier to ignore if you’re an iPhone user, after Apple unveiled a new feature that lets you mute notifications.

The Focus setting, announced last night at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), allows users to set up their devices so that only certain people can reach them.

When set up, you can name the ‘Focus’ and determine which apps and people can reach you while the Focus is activated – that can be for a time or in a place.

One use of this feature could be to create an ‘Out of Office’ that turns on at the end of your work day, blocking calls from work numbers and emails from the boss.

Apple didn’t say when iOS 15 will be publicly available, but confirmed it would be released in the fall via the Settings app, just like with previous releases.

If it follows earlier versions of iOS, it will likely be released on the same day as the new iPhones, which are also expected to be released by the end of the year.

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The Focus app allows users to select predefined settings or create their own based on conditions

For example, the personal setting can limit notifications to friends and family only

The Focus setting, announced last night at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), allows users to set your device so that only certain people can reach you

Notifications will also look a bit different after downloading iOS 15 - they will have photos and larger icons.  This is part of Apple's new Focus feature that allows users to control how notifications appear on their iPhone or iPad

Notifications will also look a bit different after downloading iOS 15 – they will have photos and larger icons. This is part of Apple’s new Focus feature that allows users to control how notifications appear on their iPhone or iPad

FaceTime gets biggest upgrade with Apple’s new iOS 15

Apple’s iOS 15 brings the biggest update to FaceTime.

It contains 3D audio, which is similar to surround sound, but multiplied.

There will be a portrait mode that blurs the background so that the user stands out.

SharePlay allows users to watch movies, listen to music or search the web together via FaceTime.

The update also adds features that allow FaceTime to compete 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 from emailing you, but rather prevents you from receiving a notification for that email and prevents their calls from getting through.

If your boss has an iPhone and uses iMessages, they’ll get a notification when they try to message you that you’ve turned on Focus, asking if they really want to send.

This was just one of a number of new features announced by the Apple team, in addition to more privacy controls and sharing features.

“The iPhone has become indispensable for many customers, and this year we’ve come up with even more ways to improve our everyday lives,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

iOS 15 helps users stay connected while sharing experiences in real time, and gives them new tools to reduce distractions and find focus.

‘[It] uses intelligence to improve the photo experience and, with massive upgrades to Maps, new ways to explore the world.”

Another use of the Focus feature is to turn off all distractions while reading, including from apps, but still allow messages from loved ones to get through.

It’s basically a more advanced and customizable version of the Do Not Disturb feature already available through iOS 14.

“Focus suggestions are based on users’ context, such as during their work hours or while they go to bed, and when Focus is set on one Apple device, it automatically applies to their other Apple devices,” Apple said in a statement. .

“Users can create Home Screen pages with apps and widgets that apply to focus moments to show only relevant apps and reduce temptation.”

When a user’s Focus blocks incoming notifications, their status is automatically shown to others in Messages, indicating that a user is currently unreachable.

You can set the Focus feature to block or allow business emails and calls

The device can be set to ignore your focus settings if a message is marked as 'time sensitive'

When set up, you can name the ‘Focus’ and control which apps and people can reach you while the Focus is activated – this can be for a time or in a place

Apple hasn't said when iOS 15 will be publicly available, but confirmed it would be released in the fall via the Settings app, as with previous releases.

Apple hasn’t said when iOS 15 will be publicly available, but confirmed it would be released in the fall via the Settings app, as with previous releases.

Apple’s new macOS now allows users to 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 allows people to drag and drop files between both devices.

The feature, known as Universal Control, allows users to switch between Macs and iPads with just one mouse and keyboard, sending files back and forth between devices.

It even allows users to draw something on an iPad with Apple Pencil and then place it in a Keynote slide on a Mac.

Users can also send their iPad screens and music to an Apple computer, with another feature known as AirPlay to Mac.

Standard Focus options include a simple Do Not Disturb, a personal setting that lets in messages from friends and family, a sleep mode that turns everything off and dims the screen, as well as a work setting that emphasizes office-friendly apps.

This can be set to mute social media notifications, customize the home screen to focus on apps like email and Zoom, or prioritize calls from the boss.

You can set a specific Focus based on time or location. So you can set an Out of Work focus to run from 5pm to 8am, or start the moment you leave the office.

It could act as an antidote to the modern ‘always on’ trend, which some have complained was getting worse as the lockdown pushed more people to work from home.

Office workers have complained that they had to work longer hours because they had emails from work on their phones, making it harder to switch off.

Some countries are considering right to disconnect laws that could force companies to leave their staff alone once their shift is over.

This is designed to ensure a sensible work-life balance and allow employees to “switch off” after their work day.

Focus can help with this by muting all work-related notifications when you’re out of the office, or after a certain amount of time when you’re working from home.

You can set a Focus for fitness, gaming, or reading, and customize the home screen and notifications to match the activity's requirements

One use of this feature could be to create an 'Out of Office' that turns on at the end of your work day, blocking calls from work numbers and emails from the boss

One use of this feature could be to create an ‘Out of Office’ that turns on at the end of your work day, blocking calls from work numbers and emails from the boss

Some studies have shown that the average workday increased by up to two hours during the pandemic.

This is because staff are more easily able to work into the evening without the risk of missing a bus or train from the office to home.

In addition to a new ‘Focus’ setting, iOS 15 includes FaceTime improvements, including 3D audio, a portrait mode to blur the background, and Zoom-like video conferencing.

Users can also watch and listen to the same movies and music with friends through the new SharePlay feature.

FaceTime is also supported on Windows and Android devices via a browser – the first time it was available on another platform.

There will be a redesign of iMessage that converts 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 unveiled an upgrade to its Apple Wallet app that allows users to use their iPhone as identification at US airports.

As one of the updates to iOS 15, iPhone users can scan their driver’s license or other approved state ID in their Wallet.

The ID is encrypted and stored in the same secure element as airline credit, transit and boarding passes.

As part of an ongoing 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. statement. “The Transportation Security Administration is working to enable airport security checkpoints as the first place for customers to use their digital identity card in Wallet.”

Hotel key cards are also in the works for Apple Wallet, with the tech giant partnering with Hyatt and other major chains to support the feature.

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