iOS 6 preview: Do Not Disturb and Remind Me Later

While Apple improved their alert system with Notification Center in iOS 5, they're finally bringing some sanity and serenity to it with iOS 6. Too much notification turns into interruption, especially if your only options are to answer or hang up, to leave everything on or turn everything off. It makes us the single-points of failure in our memory chain, and let's face it, why bother having these fancy devices if we're the ones who have to remember to call back, or remember to activate and deactivate alerts every morning and night. Which brings us to Remind Me Later and Do Not Disturb.

Here's how Apple describes them:

iOS 6 adds new calling features to your iPhone. Now when you decline an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message or set a callback reminder. And when things are just too hectic, turn on Do Not Disturb and you won’t be bothered by anyone — except can’t-miss contacts like your boss or your better half.

And here's what we've seen of it so far:

  • When a phone call comes in, in addition to the venerable Slide to Answer interface, there's a new Lock screen, gripper-style phone icon to the right of it.

  • Similar to the iOS 5.1 Lock screen camera icon, you can use the phone icon to slide the screen up and reveal new options: Reply with Message and Remind Me Later.

  • If you can't talk now and want to let the caller know, Reply with Message lets you quickly send an iMessage or SMS with boiler-plate responses like "I'll call you later", "I'm on my way", "what's up?", or if the canned replies don't suit you, create a custom one all your own.

  • If you'd rather get back to then, Remind Me Later allows you to rapidly set up a time-based Reminder to call back in 1 hour, or a location-based Reminder either geo-fenced to where you are not, or set up for when you get home, or get to work.

  • Do Not Disturb is more pre-emptive. It allows you to prevent incoming calls and alerts from lighting up the screen or making any sound or vibration while your iPhone is locked (they'll still appear listed, as normal, in Notification Center when you get around to checking).

  • When Do Not Disturb is active, you'll see a special half-moon icon on your status bar to the left of the time.
  • You have granular control over Do Not Disturb settings. You can turn it on and off manually, for example, when going into a meeting. You can also schedule an automatic time range, for example, every night during your regular sleep hours.

  • You can enable exceptions to Do Not Disturb, to allow calls from certain contacts, including everyone on your Favorites list, or a specific contacts Group.
  • You can also enable an exception for repeated calls, in case of emergency. That means if someone thinks it's urgent enough to call you back a second time within 3 minutes, that second call will come through.

Overall, these are terrific additions to iOS' communications and notification handling. It doesn't go as far as true profiles, for example, location-based profiles that automatically change a range of settings including notification, network, security, etc. when you're at home vs. at work, or more rounded bedside mode, but it's a start.

iOS 6 is scheduled for release this fall, perhaps as soon as September 19. For more on iOS 6, check out:

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Very innovative Apple, outstanding! I've been doing that on my Android, Droid Razr Maxx ever since the OS was Gingerbred. Apples devices are outstanding, they work extremely well but their OS is falling behind. They are probably spending too much money on those fancy lawyers and not enough on innovating. vicnice out!
  • Go troll somewhere else
  • Troll why? Cause I point out an obvious fact? There is nothing special about this IOS 6 feature. This has been standard in Android since Ginger Bread. I'm not saying that Android is better, this is not about that. This is about expecting more from Apple. However, it's a nice feature and I can understand why Apple would implement it into their IOS. vicnice out!
  • Bill Gates and Ed Colligan showed off Reply with Message on the first Windows Mobile Treo years and years ago. The details are in the implementation. Maybe Apple's isn't any better, or maybe it is, but the "my 1990s giant phone that had to be carrier around in a gym bag could make and hang up on calls" argument is silly.
  • I guess Apple is lucky it is not patented.
  • omg apple has the best innovations around I hope they start suing other companies for this as soon as possible yo breaking bad I only a few hours
  • If you don't like what Apple has to offer go elsewhere. If you like the way Android comes out with things faster without any thought then go with them. Why come here of all places and bitch? Does google come out with some features before Apple does? In some cases yes but they do it in a half assed way just so they can one up Apple. And say hey look at us we put blah blah on our os first. It may run like garbage crash and be half baked but we implemented it first. I'll deal with a company putting a little bit of thought into something and doing it better then the other guys any day.
  • Why are we going over all the iOS 6 features like we didn't know about them already? This week has lacked in stories.
  • I've been feeling that way about comments...
  • Kinda touchy Rene. He's only stating what everyone else is noticing. Apple news is so far and in between that articles like this are pointless. More app and third party accessories reviews would be nice.
  • Wow, way to be a douche!!! Really mature from 1 of the sites top dogs, gimmie a break. Lighten up guy, he was just giving his opinion. Go back to looking like your constipated in all your pictures & leave the comments to us simple folk.
  • Never blame the guy who's hitting someone back.
  • get em rene !!!!
  • yep, youve also had a shitty ass user interface, glitchy OS, poor battery life, crappy ass half baked apps..... for quit sometime now too
  • " I've been doing that on my Android, Droid Razr Maxx ever since the os was gingerbread" Awesome. You doing that on your droid does what for iPhone users?????? Just curious why people say these things. I mean I can say I have been making calls, texting, apps etc etc with my BB in 2005. Or I can be even more of a di*k and say I had a better smartphone in 2007 that did a number of things that other phones didnt do. Before Android was even exsisted on a phone. I can also say I have had a more stable os that doesn't crash, reboot, and lag since iOS 2.0. The same os that was on 80-90 percent of iPhones in existence at the time. I cant say the same for Android 2.0 eclair. Lol Hell I cant even say the same for any android os ever in existence. Whats funny is your probably still on gingerbread. But I won't say any of this. :-/
  • Dont try and make out like your 2007 iphone was anywhere near SMART. It lacked many basic features available on non smart phones. You couldnt even copy/paste text or set an mp3 as a ringtone, so you may want to wind your neck in! The reason he posted about being able to do this for ages on android is to make a strike back at all these apple sheep that are the first to scream that 'everyone is copying apple, apple are the only real innovators' when we all know that IOS has become stagnent. And as you said back in 2007 android wasnt even around, and you mock the OS yet here we are and android has accelerated into an operating system with much more innovation than IOS which has been around for alot longer. Makes you realise how poor apple are, not how poor android is.
  • "Awesome. You doing that on your droid does what for iPhone users?????? Just curious why people say these things". Pointing out to Apple users as yourself that your OS is falling behind. Showing you how Apple is copying some of Androids features sush as this and also notifications. Don't be surprise if they get widgets next. "I mean I can say I have been making calls, texting, apps etc etc with my BB in 2005. Or I can be even more of a di*k and say I had a better smartphone in 2007 that did a number of things that other phones didnt do." My friend, I find it very hard to believe that you can be more of a dick than you are now but anything is possible. And about having a better phone in 2007, I won't argue with that. But last time I checked, we were in 2012 not 2007. "Before Android was even exsisted on a phone. I can also say I have had a more stable os that doesn't crash, reboot, and lag since iOS 2.0. The same os that was on 80-90 percent of iPhones in existence at the time." The first sentence of this sentence should scare you. Apple IOS has been out longer than Androids and but at the moment is falling behind. If you are a big fan of Apple,you should not be too happy about this. About Android being buggy, crashing and rebooting. I've learned long ago that individuals who make this comments are individuals who have actually never owned any Android device. I, on the other hand, own 2 Android devices (Droid Razr Maxx and Asus Infinity Tablet) and have not experience any of the crashing, rebooting or buggyness you claim. However I will say this, the UI in Apple run smoother but people who run Android Jelly Bean say that the UI on that OS runs just as smooth. Who knows, keeping my fingers crossed that, that is true. "The same os that was on 80-90 percent of iPhones in existence at the time. I cant say the same for Android 2.0 eclair. Lol Hell I cant even say the same for any android os ever in existence. Whats funny is your probably still on gingerbread. But I won't say any of this. :-/" That is my biggest gripe with Android, fragmentation. But in the end is not Androids fault, it's the manufacturers. If you own a Google Nexus device (which I don't), you would be running Jelly Bean right now just like if you owned an Apple device, you would be running their latest OS.
  • You couldn't be more wrong I have owned plenty of android devices eight to be exact The HTC Dream being my first and the nexus 7 being my last. So don't tell me what to think about android. Just as I am posting this comment on my nexus 7 it froze and went to the google start up screen. But if you can live with things like that thats your business. And Jelly Bean is not smooth as you say it is. It is just as buggy as ICS on my galaxy tab 7. Project butter is more like project peanut butter. And were not going to get into the build quality of the nexus 7 or the HTC evo I had two years ago. Believe me I am super geek when it comes to phones, tablets and computers have been for 24 years. And I have tried and tried to like android thinking it would improve over time. But it just gets more and more frustrating.
  • android is just too fragmented and too many people dont realize this. their is gazillions of makes and models of phones out there that have android os, a gazillion diff versions of the android os for the gazillion phones. i tried the nexus its too buggy for me. had the galaxy tab, too buggy for me too, i took it back 4 days after i got it. apple has made things smooth, i agree with you 100%
  • Hahahaha this clown wrote his own article bc he has a small penis. :)
  • Terrific additions? Hehe...very funny Rene.
  • Apple really gets applause for adding things other OS's have had for quite some time, huh?
  • Yup. Next on the list - a 16:9 screen.
    "Watching video on this new screen, is just blow-away."
  • It really is amazing, isn't it? I love my Apple products and am deep enough into the infrastructure that there's no going back, but friends of mind with other smartphones have had the ability to do these simple tasks for a few years now.
  • Please see my comment above.
  • Please see my comment above.
  • Hopefully, iOS 6 will stop those damn text message alerts from going off while I'm on a call...that's so damn annoying!!!
  • Yes please(: At least the tones don't ring through the speaker anymore.
  • Can't wait to get my hands on iOS 6. Thought about paying the $99 to get in on the betas, as I did on iOS 5, but decided to wait it out this year. With iOS 5 I think the update was large enough it was worth the money...and don't get me wrong, the additions are terrific. But doesn't feel much more than a point update.
  • i have it, got all updates for it pushed to my ipad and iphone, i got it when it dropped beta 1. downloaded the file, forced update on both devices, now for some reason i got all updates also. and im not a dev. none of them expired either
  • I am looking forward to the "Do Not Disturb" and "Remind Me Later" feature additions. :)
  • Custom: Stop calling me!
  • Hopefully iOS6 has the ability to stop boring, incessant trolls from posting lame-ass comments on this site. Get a life, clowns!
  • Well what do you expect? Apple seems hellbent on suing competition into the ground over copying, yet other OS's and manufactures have surpassed iOS, leaving it playing catchup on basic features, well at least basic for phones other than iPhones. In the process they have pissed off techies, many of them iOS users such as myself. To call them trolls is very dismissive, especially when one has been known to make very trollish comments themselves. It's not trolling, it's just the irony of it all is so apparent it begs for comments. True tech fans can appreciate and understand the frustration. No need to be upset at them, be upset with Apple for being so far behind in functionality.
  • I also ask you sir, why dismiss us as trolls? Because we point an obvious fact and rain on your parade? I love Apple just like everyone else, but there's nothing special about this feature on IOS 6. This should have been standard long ago and to rave and celebrate this, well is just silly. Vicnice out! PS. Why is anyone who speaks or writes anything against Apple considered a troll?
  • Why is anyone who calls out obvious flaws in other operating systems always referred to as a fanboy or said to be drinking the Apple koolaid? It's all pretty much the same it seems... Just a thought.
  • This should've been a STANDARD on a phone? Lol ok
  • @vicnice.......Very clever to say "out" at the end of your genius takes.....just like Ryan Seacrest. Very talented the both of you are. First off, calling me sir is a tad off as I am a female. Don't know too many dudes named Jenna. Anyway, back to point. Most consumers, not dorks like you that read tech blogs, are completely unfamiliar with the features of iOS6. To say that everyone out there is as "informed" as you is a stretch. So to many, this is news and interesting reading. Bottom line is, you seem very irritated when someone calls you a troll. Problems at home? Not getting laid? Can't help you there. I suggest the easiest solution to your problems.......don't come to this site anymore. Then you won't get so annoyed at what Rene and staff write. And lastly, take that $40 you earn each week and get yourself won't be as angry.
  • Very true. A couple close friends of mine have android phones and don't have a clue what they can do with them. Besides phones calls, texting, web surfing and play games. But like you said there are millions of users both android and iOS that can give two sh*ts about the technical aspects of the phone.
  • can't we all just get along? I just want a real picture of the new iPhone. :)
  • This is a fucking Apple/tech blog!!! You're a total dumbass if you come on here looking for someone to blog about a perspective other than that. Doesn't mean that we're not all techies and don't appreciate all tech, it just means that we're partial to Apple. Fuck you if you're trying to tell Rene that he needs to be more "objective" about other platforms. That's what Android Central and the plethora of other sites that are part of this network are for.
  • I sense much anger in you. Anger leads to the dark side...Or something like that. Sent from my iPhone.
  • Rene, head back to bed. Judging from the tone of these comments, it's going to be one of those days.