Michael McConnell, September 19, 2012
Notification Center beats plain push notifications in iOS, but do we really need every move in Words with Friends to bother us during work? Okay, bad example, because who isn’t going to slack off at work and play Words with Friends? However, you may be out to dinner and don’t need to be bothered with work emails or telemarketing calls. That’s where the new Do Not Disturb feature is supposed to help. This feature mutes calls and notifications, either on demand or on a set schedule. There are various ways to set exceptions for emergencies or wanted calls. It isn’t perfect, but this may be a welcome feature for corporate users.
Enabling Do Not Disturb in its default state is as easy as flipping a toggle in the main page of the Settings app. This only allows calls from people in your Favorites list, and allows repeated calls to break the Do Not Disturb settings. This is a handy setting that works like this: if someone calls you twice in a row with three minutes, the second call will be allowed through. In addition to simply turning on and off the Do Not Disturb setting, you can schedule the feature to turn on and off at a set time everyday. Good for avoiding being woken up at 2:00 AM because your drunken Facebook friend is sending you messages. The Repeated Calls function can be turned on and off. And you can toggle the list of allowed calls to include any groups or all of your contacts.
This feature is limited to calls and messages. WIth Apple pushing companies to develop internal apps, as well as many enterprise monitoring tools being developed for the iPhone and iPad, you would think that you could do more to granularly control Notifications with this feature. It’s a pesky annoyance that seems to dog a lot of these pro to desktop controls for iOS; they seem to lack teeth and complexity. At this point, it’s likely that this is more performance and battery life concerns trumping greater access and control for power users. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t annoying to see them get something just short of truly useful.
Do Not Disturb is going to let a lot of people make sure that their morning meeting or dinner date isn’t interrupted, but the lack of better granular controls means that this isn’t going to be a big help for most corporate users that need to have control over more than just their phone calls and messages. If this is a popular feature, you may see improvements for power users. At this time this is little more than Airplane mode with exceptions.Follow @macgasm