Apple iOS 12's Grouped Notifications Feature Is Going To Change Your Relationship With Your Phone

Apple has finally opened up about what you can expect to see in the newest iPhone update, iOS 12, and the features seem to be well worth the wait. The company made the announcement about the update at their annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Mon. Jun. 4, and it certainly didn't disappoint. While they discussed many exciting changes, one of the coolest new features on Apple's iOS 12 has is grouped notifications, which are going to streamline your notification experience and declutter your home screen.

Anyone who has an iPhone knows that notifications from Messages, apps, calendars, and alarms can be both a blessing and a curse. Receiving notifications for some apps can be essential — you want to know who's sending you a text message, or if someone just emailed you something very important. For other apps, it can just be a helpful tool. Sometimes, though, you get a whole bunch of notifications at once — for instance, if you're in a group thread on Messages — and it just becomes annoying. They stack up, one after the other, on your home screen, and it becomes difficult to get through them all. And on top of that, hearing the "ping" of a notification over and over again gets frustrating quickly.

Now, with their new iOS 12 update announced on Jun 4., Apple has a solution for uncontrollable notifications: Grouped Notifications.

Apple Newsroom

This feature does exactly what it sounds like: it groups together similar notifications into one. For example, if you get multiple messages from one person or one group text message thread, you'll get one notification for all of them instead of one notification for each single message — and if you want to look at every notification, you can simply just click "See More" to scroll through them all. This will work for any of the apps on the iPhone with iOS 12, not just Messages.

This new group notification feature is part of a larger overhaul of the Do Not Disturb mode, another update unveiled at WWDC. As part of that update, you'll have even more control over the notifications you see. Notifications can now be turned off completely, or sent directly to the Notification Center.

Apple Newsroom

The new Bedtime mode will help people get a better night's sleep by dimming the display and hiding all notifications on the lock screen until prompted in the morning. This was previously not an option: if you put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode, notifications were silenced, but still popped up on the lock screen, making it difficult to ignore them completely. If you choose not to have notifications on the lock screen, they'll live in the notification center until you're ready to look at them on your time.

Apple Newsroom

Apple also introduced Screen Time, which gives users reports on how much time they spend on apps. The weekly Activity Reports shows shows how often users go on apps and how often they pick up their device. The Screen Time App will allow people to set a limit on how much time they want to spend on a specific app if they feel they are over-using them. Parents will be able to set controls for their kids.

These are all Apple's way of fighting mobile device addiction. It seems that the company is following in Google's footsteps - some of the new controls in iOS 12 are pretty similar to controls Google announced last month (like the Android "shush" mode when you place a phone face down on a table). Whatever the reason, it's nice to finally have more control over notification settings.