Being woken in the early hours by your iPhone bleeping for some trivial reason is one of life’s more irritating experiences, so I’m a great fan of the Do Not Disturb feature. Set the hours you usually sleep, turn off the phone and you can relax in the knowledge that you won’t be woken by any calls, messages or other assorted audio alerts until a civilised hour.

But the scheduling of the Do Not Disturb hours isn’t exactly sophisticated: you simply get to specify the start and end times, and those same times apply 365 days a year unless you change them manually.

There’s one improvement I suspect we’d all like to see, with more sophisticated options likely to also appeal to many …

Most of us are fortunate enough that we can have a lie-in on the weekend – at least, those of us without small, noisy, biological alarm-clocks in the house. So an obvious missing feature is to allow us to create different Do Not Disturb times for weekdays and weekends.

But ideally, that’s just the begining – I’d like to see greater flexibility than this. People who do shift work, for example, would benefit from date-based Do Not Disturb patterns. For example, being able to set alternating weekly time-blocks to match shift patterns.

Similarly, for those who travel frequently. Back in the days when I did a lot of business travel, I was usually really good at remembering to set DND manually when I went to bed, but it’s easy to forget when you’re jet-lagged. One time I forgot I was woken by a phone call from a British colleague at 9am local – which was 3am where I was at the time. Being able to lock in a DND schedule for travel dates ahead of time would allow us to set-and-forget just as we do at home.

I get that Apple wants to keep its user interfaces simple, but I’d cite a quote widely attributed to Einstein: everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. The small extra complexity of having at least weekday versus weekend scheduling would, in the end, make life simpler for users. And I suspect many would gladly trade a slightly more complex UI for the flexibility to adapt Do Not Disturb to their work or travel schedules.

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Thanks, Mike

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