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iOS feature request: Do Not Disturb Pro

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When it comes to controlling the clamor, Apple’s Do Not Disturb mode gives you feast or famine in terms of handling the avalanche of incoming work-related communications. One thing we’ve learned as we work remotely is that this needs to improve.

Apple, are you listening?

How can we improve Do Not Disturb?

Do Not Disturb fails to provide the kind of granular control you need if you’re trying to separate personal and professional lives.

The need to work remotely during the pandemic has generated problems for some of us. Employers seem to think people who work for them should always be available, while people you work with seem to expect immediate responses to instant messages and emails.

Both attitudes generate stress that gets in the way for people trying to maintain a healthy balance while working at home. That balance is even more important at the moment, given that most people are juggling work with the additional family responsibilities that come from home schooling and lockdown living during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to receive our personal communications, messages and app updates after we stop work, but don’t want our time disturbed by work-related matter.

[Also read: An Apple-centric guide to effective (and productive) remote working]

After all, work/life balance is always important. But it’s super important when you’re stressed out by other problems.

Can Do Not Disturb help?

Apple’s Do Not Disturb lets you silence your calls, alerts and notifications. You enable it by tapping the crescent moon icon in Control Center. It lets you schedule how long you want to be in the mode, and you have some slightly more granular controls – you can permit incoming calls from contacts in ‘Favorites,’ for example.

However, you can’t really dig deep into separating work from personal existence – even if you are using an enterprise-issued device equipped with app profiles and company contacts books.

(That is something you actually can do on Android, thanks to the Work Profile tool).

While there are some workarounds, I don’t think they quite match the needs:

However, both of these methods are a little clunky and time-consuming for this purpose, mainly because they aren’t designed to support it. After all, you might use some apps for both work and personal time, making it difficult to figure out how to define communication preferences.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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