Siri’s new predictive suggestions are pure extensions of previous capabilities rolled out in past iOS releases. For instance, Siri has long been able to suggest calendar entries based on appointment data found in your email inbox or Messages text strings.
In iOS 12, Siri will be able to suggest when to enable Do Not Disturb mode based on a variety of factors. So far in our testing of the latest iOS 12 beta, we’ve been able to have Siri predict Do Not Disturb mode twice.
First, we had an appointment for a dinner reservation in our calendar. Just before the appointment was scheduled to start, a Siri Suggestion popped up on our Lock Screen recommending we enable Do Not Disturb until the end of the dinner. Siri automatically picked the start and end times of Do Not Disturb based on our calendar entry, leaving us to enable the feature with a tap.
Our second instance of coaxing Siri to recommend Do Not Disturb was during a trip to the movies. We purchased a movie ticket on our phone and added it to Wallet. Roughly 15 minutes before the film, a Siri Suggestion popped up to enable the feature. This time around, Siri used geolocation data to determine when we left the theater, then automatically deactivated Do Not Disturb.
Interestingly, Siri knows movie run times, so we wondered why the feature uses geofencing rather than a countdown timer. We can best hypothesize that even though Siri knows the length of the movie, she can’t count for the duration of previews that run before each film. Therefore, using the movie duration as a basis for automation could allows notifications to come through prematurely.
By predicting Do Not Disturb suggestions, like during a dinner or a movie, Apple is clearly looking to prevent untimely interruptions and to reduce distractions, while at the same time lowering our reliance on digital devices. This is more evidence of Apple’s work towards improving digital health, something that is noticeable as a whole in iOS 12. Beyond Siri Suggestions, the OS includes new features such as Screen Time, which helps users build healthy habits through information sharing and automated usage restrictions.
There are many other areas of improvement to Siri’s suggestive feature. Looking at Spotlight search, Siri may recommend a specific playlist, or if you are running late to a lunch with a friend, Siri might pre-populate a message letting them know you are running behind.
Siri is getting even more powerful in iOS 12 with Shortcuts. These helpful system and app macros range from simple one-step actions like turning on a connected home appliance to complex multi-step tasks. They can also show Siri Suggestions in Spotlight searches or be tied to Siri with a custom phrase.
For example, users can create a shortcut that sends off a text to your wife, gets directions to your home, starts your driving playlist, adjusts the thermostat at home to 71, turns on the dehumidifier, and gives you a summary with your ETA, all triggered by the command, “Siri, I’m heading home.”