Almost exactly four months ago, I wrote an article (German) about all the messaging services I used, and how none of them was perfect (or even decent). Since then, my messaging habits have changed and I’ve come across some new problems.
As I began to use Messages.app on the Mac more regularly, duplicate notifications on the Mac and the iPhone became a bigger annoyance for me. I don’t need my iPhone to notify me of new iMessages when I’m working on the big screen. I used to keep my phone on silent/vibrate most of the time, but as I became more irritated by the constant vibrating on my desk, I chose to turn off vibrate for the iPhone’s silent mode. So for a couple of weeks, I’ve been switching my phone to this silent silent mode when I sit down in front of my computer.
Naturally, I forget to turn off my custom silent mode all the time when I’m leaving my desk. That is not a huge danger though: I’ve only missed one phone call so far and pretty much every other (useful) phone notification also gets pushed to my Mac.
iOS 6’s new Do Not Disturb feature seems pretty cool and useful but doesn’t solve my notification problem. I want the phone’s screen to light up when there’s a new notification (excluding iMessage alerts), even when I’m working on my computer and it’s sitting right on my desk. It’s fine that I don’t see this kind of subtle visual alert when I’m concentrated on my work, but there’s no harm in taking a quick glance at the phone when I’m browsing the web.
I thought about solutions and came up with this obvious suggestion: if your phone is at home or work (geofence!) and you were active on the respective Mac in e.g. the last two minutes, no notification should be sent to your phone. If you don’t react to the Mac notification(s) in that time span, one notification should be sent to your phone.
The other day, I was talking to Daniel, who also turned vibrate off for his phone’s silent mode and is much happier since then. He mentioned that (some?) Android phones have a sensor that allows them to determine if their screen is facing upwards or downwards when sitting on a table. I’d like to see a similiar sensor in a future iPhone to trigger Do Not Disturb. Turning your phone face-down if you don’t want to see notifications on its screen is a pretty intuitive action. I’d happily upgrade to a new iPhone with that feature.