Apple just announced its latest mobile operating system—iOS 15—and one new feature called ‘Focus’ might be particularly useful for cyclists.
The new Focus mode will automatically filter which iPhone (and Apple Watch/iPad/Mac) notifications you see based on your current activity. Similar to the existing ‘Do Not Disturb’ function, you can choose suggested Focus modes for work, personal time, sleep, fitness, gaming, reading, or driving.
Apple users can also set up a custom Focus, which can be set to turn on using different signals like location or time of day.
You can choose to have all (or most) notifications from contacts who message you silenced you while you turn on Focus. Here’s where cyclists will find this new function handy: Similarly to an MSN Messenger ‘away’ status, contacts will be told that your notifications are silenced and your status will appear the moment someone tries to contact you in Messages, so they know not to interrupt you.
Whether you’re cycling for one hour or a full day, this new mode means you won’t have to pull over to message contacts about why you haven’t replied to their bbq invite. You can even turn on a standard auto-reply for your contacts when they message you while you’re riding.
The function will also allow you to choose specific notifications that will still show up on your phone or watch, regardless of whether the Focus mode is turned on or not. If someone needs to urgently contact you they will be able to break through to notify you with an urgent message.
While Apple has released info on this new iOS 15 function, it won’t be available to users until this fall. The examples the company used are all on Apple’s messaging platform, but there is a Status API that developers can use to reflect status in third-party messaging apps, so it’s possible that this feature will extend to other chat platforms as well.