Apple overhauls notifications with summaries and focus tools

The company makes the announcement at its annual WWDC event.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
Logo of an Apple store, seen from a music fountain on the
Screenshot by CNET

Apple on Monday overhauled its notifications system for iPhones to help people deal with the flood of alerts on their phones. 

One new feature, called Notification Summary, lets people schedule when notifications are delivered, like in the morning or evening, so they can prioritize which ones are most important. A new feature for Apple's digital assistant Siri will automatically read time-sensitive messages when you don't have your phone with you, like alerts for when your food arrives from delivery apps.

Another tool, called Focus, lets people set their phones to help them concentrate on certain things. For example, if people are at work, they can choose to only be notified by coworkers for apps like mail, calendar or the collaboration app Slack. Other settings for the Focus tool include "Do Not Disturb," "Personal" and "Sleep," which you can schedule to come on when you set your bedtime.

Apple made the announcement at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, held virtually as the US tries to recover from the pandemic, where the company was also unveiled other features for its iOS mobile software for iPhones, its WatchOS platform for Apple Watches, and new tools for sharing health data.

Watch this: WWDC21: iOS 15 and all its best features