New Options For Apple iPhone and Apple Watch Help People be Present for the Holidays

If you’re like me, it’s hard to break the cycle of checking my iPhone and Apple Watch every few minutes to stay on top of things. During holidays and special occasions, it’s good to check out, but with the world so readily available in our pocket and on our wrist, it’s hard to do. With a few added options to this year’s iPhone and Apple Watch, we can spend less time on our devices and more time being present with our families.

I check my notifications summary throughout the day, which isn’t a good thing when you’re enjoying family moments, such as playing board games, having a discussion, or a meal that someone planned and cooked for hours. This summary or message can be muted for an hour or a day by swiping left on a notification and tapping Options. For highly active threads where a user is not engaging with it, they will receive a suggestion to mute the thread.

  • Here’s how to find it and mute it: Go to Settings > Notifications > Scheduled Summary, then turn on Scheduled Summary. Under Apps in Summary, select the apps that you want to include in your notification summary. Under Schedule, tap the Add button to add a new schedule or the Remove button to remove a schedule. Then adjust the time for each scheduled summary you have set up.

Focusing on what matters most (family) during the holidays is important. With the Focus Setting, it’s easier to do. Here’s how the Focus setting works if you aren’t familiar. If you are working and don’t want to be disturbed, you can set up a Focus for work, in which only work emails and notifications will get sent to you. The same as if you would set up a Family Focus setting, only messages from family would reach you. It’s also nice for when you are working out and include a Working Out Focus. That way, you can have your moment of self-care without interruption.

  • To set your Focus, here’s how: Go to Control Center > Focus > choose from a provided Focus or a custom Focus. To create your own custom Focus: Settings > Focus > tap the + in the upper right corner > choose a Focus to get started.

If you need to spend time on your iPhone during the holidays, but don’t want to overdo it, you can set limits on the apps you use. This is also good to do with your kids. If there are apps you need for work or school, you can continue using them for an unlimited amount of time, but you can put a time limit on how much social media apps or gaming apps are used.

  • To limit screen time, Go to Settings > Screen Time Tap Turn On Screen Time > Tap Continue > Select This is My [device] or This is My Child’s [device].

I’m terrible at keeping sleep goals, but I am good at making sure I listen to my Apple Watch and complete all my fitness tasks for the day. An intriguing aspect of the Apple Watch for me is setting a sleep routine. Something I should jump on. Apple Watch helps you track your sleep, help you wind down, and customize your bedtime routine.

  • To set up a sleep routine, Open the Health app on your iPhone > Tap Get Started under Set Up Sleep, then tap Next > Follow the on-screen prompts to establish: Sleep Goals, Bedtime and Wake Up times, Sleep Screen, Wind Down Shortcuts, and Tracking.

Spending time with the family can be stressful. There are many family dynamics that can cause the time together more exhausting than you’d like. Something I got more into over the pandemic is meditating. It has helped me refocus on what I need to do and what I need to be. Fitness + offers Apple Watch users to practice meditation at their leisure. There are nine meditation themes to choose from: Purpose, Kindness, Gratitude, Awareness, Creativity, Wisdom, Calm, Focus, and Resilience, for an engaging video experience alongside the Fitness+ trainers. Each practice is five, 10, or 20 minutes long. Users can also experience meditation in audio form at their convenience anytime, anywhere, in the Mindfulness app on Apple Watch. For those just getting started, the Meditation for Beginners program can help users understand the fundamentals before diving into the studio sessions.

  • The Fitness app on iPhone is where you can subscribe to Apple Fitness+ and access content (workout content is also available through iPad and Apple TV)
  • Podcasts, such as Drift with Erin Davis, Meditative Story with Rohan Gunatillake, and Get Sleepy with Tom Jones from Slumber Studios can help listeners practice mindfulness and support a good night’s rest. Listeners can follow these shows for free on Apple Podcasts to receive new episodes as soon as they become available and those enjoying these shows can subscribe to Apple Podcasts to unlock exclusive episodes and listen ad-free.

For parents traveling with kids, apps are available that can inform, entertain, and inspire their kids while limiting their screen time using the curated Kids collection on Apple Podcasts. Kids can get overwhelmed too by the amount of family chaos around the holidays and by listening to the podcasts can help them relax after a long day of being overstimulated. Produced in partnership with Common Sense Media, the frequently updated collection features suitable shows for kids of all ages that are poised to become their new favorite co-detectives, study-buddies, and downtime companions.

For fans of Apple products, check out these related stories:

Apple Needs to Make These Products Now
Answering Call in the Ocean with My Apple Watch 
10 Ways Apple Watches Assist Runners
Answering Questions About Running with Apple AirPods
Losing my Apple Watch at the Zoo and The Quest To Find It
My AirPods Brought Back a Love of Music and A Moment of Peace
11 Fitness Apps For Kids
The Best Apps For Parents to Use While Teaching Kids

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