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Apple iOS 12 preview: It's all about the polish

A focus on your well-being

Few things about iOS are as uniquely anxiety-inducing as having to wade through a time-sorted feed of notifications. No more. Apple has finally decided that grouping notifications together by app is the right way to go, and even after just a few days, it made the process of sifting through my notifications feed that much less daunting. iOS doesn’t just lump notifications together by app, either; that would be a great way to miss some important messages. iOS 12 is smart enough to give special care to notifications from select apps like Messages and Mail. If you use those apps heavily, you might notice different bundles of notifications for different conversation threads.

Beyond that, it’s much easier now to prioritize specific kinds of notifications. A left swipe on a notification brings up the option to manage how that app’s notifications are handled in the future, including the option to immediately relegate them to the Notification Center when they arrive. In a lot of ways, Apple is playing catch-up with Android and its generally superior approach to notification management. Better late than never, I guess.

Also new to iOS 12 are a handful of improvements to Do Not Disturb. For one, there are additional options available when you 3D Touch the DND icon in Control Center. In addition to choices like muting everything for a hour or until the end of the day, you can tell your phone to keep quiet as long as you remain in the same location. I’ve already used this a couple times in bars and movie theaters, and as far as I’m concerned there’s no going back. Meanwhile, Do Not Disturb during Bedtime does exactly what the name describes: It hides notifications that roll in until the morning. It also features a neat little Good Morning screen (complete with a weather forecast) to help you start your day.

My experience with the updated Do Not Disturb hasn’t been perfect, though. For reasons I haven’t been able to figure out, iOS 12 was set to keep Do Not Disturb on from 9 AM to 6 PM on my iPhone X review unit. While that made for a surprisingly stress-free day, it did also mean that some anxiety kicked in later when I realized I missed a few important emails.

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