Does nobody at Apple sleep?

Does nobody at Apple sleep?

Three ways Apple can improve the iPhone's bedside manner

If you're on iMore reading this article, you already know the iPhone is a great device for powering through your day. There is no need for me to extol on what the iPhone does well. You know. As an iPhone owner who has also spent a lot of time on the competition, however, there's an area where the iPhone and iOS 7 fall short — when I go to bed every night and try to fall asleep.

I assume a lot of people out there are like me and charge their phone every night. It's a ritual. I go to bed, I plug in my phone. I wake up, I take it off the charger and get out of bed. Depending on the day of the week, the exact time I get under the covers and roll out of bed in the morning may vary. I try to hit to the gym early on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I like to sleep in a bit on Saturday. Add in a few early morning appointments and a few late nights of recreation, and I assume I'm not the only one whose schedule sometimes varies.

I also assume, like me, most people would prefer their phone not make a bunch of noises all night long, unless it's something really important — if there's an emergency the phone needs to ring for incoming calls, or texts. But all those other beeps and alerts I get for things like Twitter and Facebook, well, there's no need for them to wake me up from my dreams. Clearly Apple feels this last point is important too as they did bring Do Not Disturb (DND) to iOS back in 2012.

All that said, even after several iterations of iOS and iPhones, Apple's software and hardware decisions have lead me to the conclusion that Apple employees must never sleep. Otherwise, the following issues and feature gaps would have been addressed already. 

Here's my bedtime wish-list:

1. There should be an option for me to enable, that allows Do Not Disturb to be turned on and off automatically when I plug in the phone to charge at night.

Within Settings > Do Not Disturb, you *can* set the Schedule for DND to turn on and off automatically. However, unless you go to bed and wake up in the morning at the exact same time every single day —weekends included — you're not going to use it. It's far too time consuming to do this every night.

So instead of using this setting, I simply turn on DND and turn it off manually. I swipe up from the bottom of the phone to bring up Control Center, at which point I tap the moon icon and DND turns on. Hopefully, in the morning, once I wake up, I remember to then turn DND off. It's habit now, but for many weeks I would forget to turn DND off and go half the day before realizing it, missing all the beeps, buzzes, and other alerts just when I need them the most.

What should happen is this: On Settings > Do Not Disturb, there needs to be an option that I can enable that allows me to enter Do Not Disturb mode automatically while the phone is charging. As an extra layer of control, this is where the hours schedule would be handy. I could set it from 10:30pm to 8am. In other words, if I plug my phone into a charger between those hours, it's almost 100% likely that I'm in bed. However, if it's 11:30pm and my phone is still not on the charger, that means I'm awake and don't want DND turning on automatically.

BlackBerry screwed up their implementation of Bedside mode when the rolled out BlackBerry 10, but they fixed it in their next OS update. Apple, if you're reading this, PLEASE fix yours as well. iPhone users will thank you.

2. Would it kill Apple to include a longer power cord?

I haven't done a scientific study on this yet, but I'm pretty sure out of all smartphone manufacturers out there, Apple includes the SHORTEST power cable in the box. And it drives me insane. I keep my phone on my nightstand. The nearest outlet is behind the bed (a reasonable distance). The cable that comes with the iPhone is so short it barely reaches around the corner and up onto bedside table. With every other smartphone I've owned the distance is no issue. With the iPhone it is.

I've polled a lot of iPhone owners on this one, and nobody has ever disagreed with me that they would like to see a longer cable. Rene Ritchie informed me that I can go buy a longer cable, but really, I shouldn't have to. An extra 12-inches from Apple in the box would go a long way.

Back when I was in business school (if I remember correctly, it's been a lot of years), my dean's claim to fame was that he was a consultant to an airline and concluded they could save $10 million per year if they cut down the number of olives they put on the salads from two to one. I can't help but think of that story every time I plug in my iPhone. I'm sure Apple saves millions by going short with the cord, but at this point in the game, they have plenty of dollars in the bank. Please Apple, if you're reading this, stick a longer cord in the box. I can't see many iPhone owners out there not being appreciative of this.

Would it kill Apple to include a longer lightning cable in the box?

3. Make your charging dock work with your cases

When I picked up my gold iPhone 5s, I also purchased the brown premium leather case and the iPhone charging dock. Nobody at the Apple Store informed me during my purchase that I wouldn't be able to use my iPhone on Apple's charger when it was in Apple's case. 

So, if I am using a case throughout the day and I want to use my charging dock at night —which also sits on my bedside table —I can't unless I take the case off. And that Apple case does NOT come off the iPhone 5s easily. For a while I would go through this process every night of peeling the iPhone 5s out of its case so I could put it on the charging dock. Eventually, I just gave up using the dock. 

I don't expect Apple to make its accessories compatible with third party cases, but I do have an expectation that they would try and make their Apple-brand accessories work together. Again, Apple, if you're reading this, I don't think I'm alone here. 

Sweet Dreams

That's it. Those are the three things that would make me sleep a lot better with an iPhone at night. I can't be alone here with all of these pain points. If you're with me, let me know in the comments!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Kevin Michaluk

Kevin Michaluk is Chief Media Officer of Mobile Nations and soon-to-be owner of a gold Apple Edition watch!

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Reader comments

Does nobody at Apple sleep?


On my end, what I missed the most from my BlackBerry days is the profile function. For me that's my real DND (Do Not Disturb) at night, wish I could have it on the iPhone

Yeah, agreed that profiles are awesome. I wanted to offer suggestions that stuck more with iOS' "simplicity". Profiles are ultimate solution, but more of a power user thing. Love having full control though!

I can hardly believe Rene even let you post this article. It goes completely against the iMore dogma that Apple Design is Genius and superior to all the competition in every way. And when the competition has a feature that Apple does not, the Apple product is better because it provides a simpler, easier to use experience for the user, eschewing superfluous gimmicks.

Hmm... FYI Kevin IS Rene's I really doubt he needed to "ask for permission". I might be wrong though (about the permission, not the boss part).

I also agree with the lack of profile set up, that seems like a very interesting suggestion for iOS.

"Kevin IS Rene's boss"

Ah, that would explain it! Kevin, glad to see you taking some time away from Crackberry to be here!

Actually, that doesn't make a difference in this context. If I didn't want it, he'd just post it on CrackBerry.

Him being the boss means he has to put us first. Bwahahahaha! :)

Apple fans are Apple fans because the company focuses on end user experience more than others, who tend to focus on specs and feature checklists. So, you can refer to it derogatorily if you like, but in the end, that helps nobody. The reality is that Apple fans want a feature done "right" before it is included in an Apple product. So it's perfectly valid to eschew features that the competition have if they are implemented poorly.

Um, I've posted a ton of articles complaining about just this kind of thing. I do it so often, it has its own content type.

If you're going to be a jerk in the comments, at least be right about it :p

Boy, this thread is FILLED with first world problems. The cord length has been standard for years. It's fine with the iPhone but I would appreciate a longer one with iPads. The charger stand not fitting the phone was pretty obvious at release and a lot of people were talking about it. There's tons of third party stands that work with cases of all sizes and do a better job of doing it.

First world problems that apply to a LOT of people, and are addressed either partially or fully by other platforms.

Just trying to help out other iPhone owners here.... I know I'm not alone.

Real moronic comment to post on a site like this. If you have a smartphone, your problems are ALL first world problems. So take your shit somewhere else captain obvious!

The whining about features is dumb. There's nothing wrong with DND. This guy is speaking on stuff he should be aware of like the case not fitting the dock. Come on people use common sense here. The Smartass asking about other docks clearly doesn't know anything about anything. Google it genius.

I'm sure your life is full of positivity and your outlook doesn't bleed over into anyone else's, bringing unnecessary judgement, false logic, and unprovoked rudeness into an otherwise tranquil moment.

I don't have a problem with the cable length, even if my situation is nearly the same: the charger resides down under my bed, and I used a USB extension cord to put the iPhone cable onto my nightstand. Or is this also gone with new iPhones? Mine is a 4S, the charger might still come from my first iPhone, the classic one.....

I have the same problem as Kevin. I fixed it by getting the old, first gen, iPad extended AC adapter. I also got the 2m Lightning cable from Apple.

I would love to have separate vol and vibrate controls for my alarm and silence mode. I don't want the alarm to vibrate but I do want my ringer to if the phone is silenced as an example. Also would a very simple dimmed clock be hard to include for times I'm in a hotel or need a clock. The long cord would be great too.

I like that Do Not Disturb feature, but it's sorely lacking since it doesn't have days of the week option. I turn on DND for my kids during school hours (i.e. 8AM-3PM) and only allow Favorites to go through, which also helps for those annoying Push Notifications from those kids games to come back to play more. But, on the weekends, it should have a separate DND timeframe. Also, I'd like to have a second DND for after their bedtime. Maybe by location would be great - when at home, have separate DND settings. All in all, it's a great start, but woefully rudimentary.

I understand the frustration with the short power cord. However, I think one of the reasons they do this is because they are pushing a pretty beefy current through the cable (up to 2 A for the iPad and I believe 1.2 A for the iPhone). Every further inch of cable leads to i^2R losses and decreases the efficiency of the charging. In short: longer cables put a higher load on the charger and result in wasted energy.

These losses may be small, but multiply them by 100 million iPhones and it starts to add up fast (similar to your dean's Olive story).

I remember back when I had the iPhone 4 / iPad 3, I purchased a 10 ft cable to charge my iPhone 4. It worked with the iPhone 4 but gave the "Not Charging" message when I tried to charge my iPad. This tells me there is some significant energy loss in longer cables.

I wish apple would make a freakin' "Night" mode, where all the white backgrounds for everything would turn dark... When I do get woken up by a phone call or text or something it would be nice to see the screen without blinding me with all the whiteness everything (even with the brightness to the min it's too bright for me.)

Sent from the iMore App

I have Triple Click settings to invert colors, that helps sometimes. Accessibility under Settings.

Sent from the iMore App

... or just made the brightness at the far left end of the slider lower than it is now.

If they did add a "night brightness" option to DND, I hope they could be not just reduce the brightness but also change the colour temp like f.lux does.

Am I the only one who's still bothered by the fact that I can't disable vibration on the Alarm clock?

I think your "concerns" about the DND & how BB profiles were better are valid and it would be nice to see Apple implement some of these improvements. Your other two? Just generic gripes as far as I'm concerned. Cable too short? Come on. No matter how long or short the cable is, it will always be too short or too long for somebody. I'm certain that, like your olive example, it's a cost of materials issue. We need to move on. Phone in case vs. Dock issue is a long standing problem since the dawn of time...not exclusive to Apple. Not trying to be an Apple apologist here, but you muddled your legitimate concerns (and editorial content) about DND & Profiles with typical "Apple should spend some of their zillions on this" nonsense....

How about a configurable snooze for the alarm clock? Nine minutes is just too long for me. And who decided nine minutes is the universal snooze length?

How about a "sleep" function for specific group messages! I'm in a big family and when someone sends a message to all of us at once my phone will blow up for 45 minutes. I'd love to mute or sleep the group for 2 hours and still get other notifications.

That is a good idea. A type of blackberry sleep mode. When you dock the phone it will display a clock and silent the phone

Sent from the iMore App

You touched two of my biggest gripes: Short recharging cord and charging/attaching parafernalia with a case. Sweet dreams indeed, Kevin.

Please, Apple, make the X and Clear buttons bigger on the notifications window. They're almost microscopically tiny. While we're at it, Apple, why oh why do I need to tap TWO different buttons to clear a notification?? Give me one big honking X to clear a notification, please.

I have to agree on the cable part. Of all the devices sitting on my desk at work the iPhone one is the one that causes me the most trouble as guess what it is the shortest one of them so it is hard to do some some testing sitting at my desk as it can not move as far from the computer.

I have a Soundfreaq Bluetooth speaker on my nightstand, which has a USB port that the iPhone cable can plug into for charging.

"An extra 12-inches from Apple in the box would go a long way." That's what she said! lol

1: It isn't hard to notice the moon icon up top. I'm sure you look there to see your battery status. And the quick access to control center to On/Off DnD is easy enough.

2: Once you shell out the extra cash for the longer cord, life really isn't that bad. We should all have extra cords. I use the longer one for charging and the standard shorter one for the computer.

3: I can kinda agree with you there. Although I'm one of those few who actually prefer "naked" iPhones so this issue doesn't affect me.

To each his own!

Sent from the iMore App

I would prefer that they add txt messages from favorites like calls in-case of emergency because sometimes getting a text out is quicker than getting a call out.

THIS exactly. I was planning on posting this very thing. I manage a water treatment plant and there are times when the plant is not in operation and I have alarms set to notify me in case a tank level drops below a set point or if a system pressure drops too low. That way I'll get a text notification and know I need to log in remotely to check the problem. Since I can't receive texts with DND turned on I have to leave it turned off at night. I'd love to be able to use DND. Currently I have my email set to no sound so that it won't constantly wake me up. All other notifications have to be set to silent as well except for phone and text. Just adding this tiny feature to DND would make me a very happy camper.

Kevin, GTFO iMore :P

Just kidding, I love seeing folks from the other Mobile Nations sites write cross-platform articles.

And FWIW, I do agree with one of your points, I'd love a toggle with the option to mute the device when it's plugged in or docked.

Lol. Have to write an editorial for Phil now for Android Central. Then back to CB. Gotta figure out a Windows Phone post, too.

There is a simple work-around for your do not disturb woes:

1. Set automatic DND from some time when you will definitely be asleep, (e.g. 2am) until when you will be awake (e.g. 8am).

2. When you actually go to sleep (e.g. 11pm), manually turn on Do Not Disturb.

3. Do Not Disturb will autmatically turn off at 8am as configured.

Not perfect, but at least you don't have to remember to turn it off in the morning.

Works for me. I set mine for midnight and would switch it off then on again later if I'm up past midnight and want to be disturbed (rarely). If I sleep earlier, I switch it on manually. I have a 4 year old who doesn't quite understand DND, so mornings are covered. More control would, of course, be nice to have.

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Hey, Thanks! That is a good call. #SMART.

Will set it from 2am to 5:45am. That does help a lot. Now I'm REALLY glad I wrote this post! :)

BB Profiles would be the BEST and only feature I'd bring over from my old Blackberry days.....Ahhhh to have my phone turn on five minutes before the alarm is set all by itself.....LOL

Fair point on all three things you mentioned.
For now, the thing that I'd like to see most on Apple devices is a Night-mode option (And please, the Invert Colors under Accessibility does not count). My eyes are strained-red enough as it is from using the device the whole day, and then come night and watch as blood will just come dripping right down my eyes caused by all the whiteness of iOS7.
That's it for me. I'm gonna sleep now.

Here's what I do:

  1. Turn all sound/vibration based notifications off all the time, except for SMS which I make sure only my friends, family, and co-workers have for emergencies.

  2. When I look at my phone, I see the visual notifications. Thats on my schedule, when and if I want.

  3. Enjoy my life :)

I am curious by your comment " if there's an emergency the phone needs to ring for incoming calls, or texts". I am only aware of incoming calls being allowed is there a way to let text messages through? I am on-call some nights and they sent text messages but I can't put the DND on because of this. So I have to turn off the email sounds because they come at all hours also but I always for get to turn that back on. I also don't have any notifications turned on because I don't want to hear them at night. Any help with the Text messages?

I agree with the power cords even though I haven't had touble at my house, but that only because I have a extension cord running from the wall outlet to my dresser, which is next to my bed.

When I have been in hotels though, I have used my cable that came with my iPad.

Morphie should do this too. I had to purchase its biggest cord and even that barely works. I have to keep my phone near the edge of the dresser. My extension cord is right at the bottom of the dresser too. If your cord can't make it to the floor from the top of a typical dresser then you need to make it longer.

It would be nice but my bed never blocks a power outlet. It's always right next to one. You must live in a city with some awful house designs.

Kevin and Rene`, I've read that using your phone while being charged can potentially damage the phone itself, and that's why the power cords are short. I'm assuming this is battery damage, and little to nothing to do with component damage. Any truth to this?

I'd really just like DND to allow me to configure different times for different days. Really, I need a setting for the week and a setting for the weekend. On weekends I always end up forgetting about it and if I am out late at night I always find I'm wondering my iPhone has stopped making sounds.

As for the cords, yeah it's crazy short. Amazon sells certified ones that are 6 feet long for a reasonable price, you need more than 1 cord anyway. Or invest in a micro-USB to lightning adapter then you can carry 1 cord around with the adapter and it will work with any device.

There are a few ways that the DND can be implemented with a standard tweak. I know this requires jailbreaking but imore is no stranger to this and ever goes as far as recommending the evasion plug and play method. Anyway.. All you need to do is have activator installed and then go into the settings and make DND turn on and off when the phone is charging or not. As for the time of day if your really charging it when your not sleeping just hit the moon button in control center. It's not that hard to remember for those quick charge ups during the day. I for one agree on the power cord length tho. About the only thing I use the one out of the box for is to sync with my MacBook Pro.

The problem with your post - you "Assume" Apple would have done better but all you really did was make a A$$ out of U and ME! LOL

But actually, Apple could do a lot of custom configs with the DND. By tracking the phones location, time of day/day of the week, charging/not charging and calendar appointments.

I must be very odd in that I charge my phone with the iPad charger so it only takes a fraction of the time and when I go to bed I turn my phone off :)

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I also turn my phone off when I go to bed. Like a computer I find that it needs to be rebooted every now and then. I use my iPod as my alarm and I charge it during my lunch hour. So at night I don't need to leave it on for any reason.

+1 for the iPad charger. It really makes a huge difference to the charging time. I bought a second one and a couple of 2 metre cables. I keep one charger and cable plugged-in next to my bed, and one in my bag.

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Love, love, love this little gripefest, Kevin. I couldn't agree more.
Apple's charging cables [all of their cables in the history of Apple, really] have ALWAYS been too short.
I have NEVER been able to use a charging dock for any of my iPhones because I always use a protective case with them so I just gave up on this one.
More importantly, a deeper level of customization and control for DND and several other iOS features would be very, very welcomed by myself. I've had issues with the "predetermined" timing on DND as well and I love the idea of having a setting that detects when the iPhone [iOS device] is plugged in & charging between a set time span to auto-activate DND.
Somebody give that man a hug! ...Or a new yoga block or something! xD

Good points in Kevin' post. The only point of the three that has a solution that I'm aware of is the after market charge cable. They're available in 4' and 6 ' lengths but Griffin has a 3 meter/10' cable also.
But I still feel Apple needs a longer one in the box. And to take that point one step further, I wish Apple would get on board with most other manufacturers and make all the cords USB. Then we'd wouldn't need new proprietary cords and chargers in every new gadget box.

I think I've left feedback about 5 times asking Apple to include a scheduling update on the DnD. Like the Alarm people don't always need DnD on and off at the same time every day. It's so simple but for some reason they don't think users need it. I'm not really sure why that is however.

Not bothered about DND but cable length and accessory fitting is a real pain.

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I agree fully Kevin, but you need to aim this post at the Jailbreak community because Apple only implement (borrow) great and useful ideas from the Jailbreak community when it comes to adding features. This DND feature you speak of is probably already a Jailbreak tweak on Cydia so it's only a matter of time before it's adopted on iOS.

I can't really agree that Rene never slags off Apple. I think he is very balanced and no matter how much he loves the products they make Rene's posts are always digging further to make the experience better by pointing out the flaws along with the good.

Thanks for the post Kevin, I've always found your vibe quite balanced also and think it's such a shame Blackberry have derailed so hard leaving yet another quality competitor by the wayside.

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I agree with everything, mainly he DND function. Personally, I love Sleep Cycle to accommodate my sleeping routine (although even it needs some more core functionality) and would love to see Apple partner with the team that created it. I love your ideas on future DND functionality and seeing as it isn't too outrageous, we can HOPEFULLY see some implementation in the future. iOS 8, anyone? :-)

I hate it there's no option to turn off the sound/vibration when I plug the phone into the charger. I usually go to bed later than my wife, and that noise is enough to wake her up. Only workaround is to plug a headset in before, and pull it out afterwards. I wave one lying near my bed just for that.

I certainly think a 'one quick button to silent' would be welcomed. If they could even make the ringer/vibrate button have three modes, one including silent, that would be brilliant...

What do you think?

Addressing #3 - When I had a BlackBerry 9900 and an BlackBerry made case, it would not work with the BlackBerry made charging pod. I think its pretty standard that phones with a case will not go on a OEM charging pod.

PS - why would you hide your Gold 5s after dishing out all that money??

On the same chain of thought(sleep) I wish they
would fix the alarm clock!
- have a separate alarm volume so I don't have to set it every night!
-Have an option to turn vibration off on alarm

Hi Kevin,
Good to see you here, wire problem issue is trivial but important one, but a better solution would be adjustable wire length, or wireless charging.
But I thought you would be using, your Z10, lately I m sensing your moving towards iPhone ;) (now, there is a blackberry keyboard case too). But you should not overcharge your battery, thats not good, but if you do so then do battery drain exercise once in a month.
Hope to see you more here :)

For number two:
I just bought the Lightning-to-MircoUSB adapter. Then bought a six-foot Micro USB cable for $1.50. Works great.

This is when jail breaking becomes helpful. Install activator and you have exactly what you're asking for. Would be great if it were there out of the box though.

For #1. I set DND to On from 2300-0600. I always leave it On. During the workweek, at movies or in other situations that require quiet time; I just use the hardware switch.

Agree with others above that a variable DND schedule would be a nice feature enhancement.