iOS 16 Notifications Update Will Bring New Focus Mode Features

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WWDC 2022 will be here in less than two months, bringing the major software features that Apple has prepared for its devices. As in previous years, iOS will be the show’s main attraction. After all, the operating system powers hundreds of millions of iPhones. And we have already seen various rumors about iOS features coming this year. iOS 16 is expected to feature interactive widgets and notification improvements. Even hints of a new type of wearable device may appear in the update.

However, nothing is confirmed at this stage. And Apple is far from revealing the details sooner than expected. But a new discovery seems to prove that iOS 16 notification changes are coming. This teases Apple might improve the Focus Mode feature launched last year.

What is focus mode

Launched with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Focus Mode is a new iPhone and iPad feature that allows users to customize their notification experience and tailor it to their activities. Focus Mode is an easy way to configure and automate notification behavior around your schedule.

You can configure different focus modes suitable for work and sleep and decide which type of apps can send notifications. Likewise, you can choose who can contact you, and they’ll see if you’re in Focus mode when you try to reach out.

Finally, Focus Mode lets you set up automations that trigger at certain times or places. Or when you open an app and seek to avoid most notifications while using it.

Also, when enabled, Focus Mode will work on all your devices, as long as you use the same Apple ID.

Given how far Focus Mode is, it’s likely updates like iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 will affect it. After all, new software releases for iPhone and iPad regularly improve notification features.

In a Bloomberg newsletter a few days ago, Mark Gurman said iOS 16 will bring “a pretty big improvement across the board, including a notification update.” He didn’t reference any specifics and didn’t mention Focus Mode by name.

iOS 16 Notifications

This brings us to 9to5Mac’s recent findings that appear to support Gurman’s iOS 16 notification update claims.

The blog discovered a new channel in the iOS 15.5 beta that includes a message for users. The OS informs them that the chosen Focus mode requires a software update:

Using an allowlist for this Focus will cause these settings to be lost on your other devices with newer software.

A device with newer software has updated this Focus to use a new configuration that this device does not support. To continue changing notifications on this device, update to the latest software or use an allowed list for this Focus.

While it’s unclear what the new Focus features are, it looks like they won’t work on all devices unless they’re all updated to the latest OS versions. This means iOS 16 for iPhone/iPad and macOS 13 for Mac.

9to5Mac also found a string of code in the iOS 15.5 beta that is not related to iOS 16 notifications. But it is important nonetheless, as it indicates that the new iPhone OS will not work on some devices anymore old. Specifically, the code suggests that the News app will get a new feature that requires iOS 16 to run. But Apple will notify users that some devices will not be able to run iOS 16.

Previous rumors said that devices like the iPhone 6s series and several older iPads won’t run iOS 16 this year.


More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

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