My iPhone 5 won't arrive for awhile yet as it took me some time last Friday to learn that you don't try to order through your cellular provider's website. All the same, I downloaded the new iOs 6 to my iPhone 4 yesterday afternoon. One feature has me thrilled beyond measure. I've been waiting for it since I married a firefighter, way before I ever had an iPhone. Do Not Disturb is already making a huge difference in my life, our shared family life.
Sleeping by planetchopstick via Flickr
This past New Year's Day morning, I got into a rather pointless twitter argument. Someone had texted me at an hour I deemed inappropriate for a special day, so naturally, I vented on twitter. Someone told me that she never has her cell phone on or in her bedroom at night and that was obviously what I was doing wrong.
Never mind the fact that we, meaning either myself or my husband, simply cannot leave our cell phones off or in a place where we wouldn't hear them in the middle of the night. My husband is a professional firefighter. A large number of the fires that happen when he's not on a 24 hour shift seem to occur in the middle of the night. If that happens, the Fire Department or Police Department call his cell phone (of note, an iPhone). If he doesn't answer (because he's a heavy sleeper), they call my cell phone (of note, an iPhone).
More over, when he's at work, I always have my phone on and by my bed. God forbid something should happen, but I always want my phone to be by my bedside so I could respond if need be.
And so, leaving our phones off or even on silent hasn't been an option. Certain apps have evolved to have programmable silent times, like my favorite twitter app, Echofon. I turn off any push notifications at 10pm so that my sleep isn't interrupted by someone retweeting me at 3am when they're up with the baby. The problem has been text messages in the middle of the night or in that hour right before I wake up, sometimes not even from friends or family who forgot to look at the clock (though that happens and I send them grumpy texts the next day to remind them that I'm old and go to bed early). Some middle of the night texts are from businesses I allow to text me with offers or coupons, like the women's clothing store that texted me at 5am on Black Friday to tell me about their sale, never mind the fact that I don't "do" Black Friday. (Yes, I let them know I wasn't happy, and yes, they responded that they'd be doing it differently next year.) Others are from spam texters informing me that I could win a computer if I don't report them first! Nothing makes me angrier than 3am spam.
Enter Do Not Disturb on iOs 6.
I almost jumped up and down when I realized what this feature brings to our family. In short, it silences your phone after whatever time you program it (for me, 10pm) until whatever time you want it to wake up (7am for me). But that doesn't really solve the fact that we need to be reached in case of a fire emergency, does it?
But oh! It does! The Do Not Disturb feature allows your programmed Favorites to ring through, no matter what time it is. Now my Favorites list includes my husband's phone number, the Fire Department, and Police Department. Sorry, Mom! To be fair, I also added in the feature that if someone calls once, which is silenced, and calls back within three minutes, it will ring through. All problems solved. Hallelujah!
I'm thrilled beyond measure. I would like to see some improvements in the future: the ability to have different weekend hours (8am versus 7am, later time to turn off alerts) or even programmable for every day of the week, and the ability to allow certain text messages through (as the Fire Department will also text sometimes). For now, I will sleep the good sleep of a fire wife who isn't having her sleep interrupted by non-emergencies.
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