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Productive Features in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Language/语言:   English   简体中文
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By: Ken Deng   Published on 22 Jul. 2021

Approx. 1800 words, 8 mins

  Download Audio       Audioscript

Hello there! My name is Ken and I am a Chinese senior high A Level student in Guangdong Country Garden School. Welcome to Ken's Study Journey website and blog!

Recently, Apple introduced iOS/iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey that will be released soon. They have some productive features for students to study faster.

As I am a Cambridge International AS and A Level student, I have massive study tasks so my study productivity should be improved. Apple products have many productive features, which is far more than Windows and Android.

Since 2021, I started to use Apple ecosystem for my devices. This boosts my study productivity so that I can save much time on studying.

Today, I am going to talk about some features in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey that can increase my study productivity. Let's jump in!

Thanks Apple iOS 15 macOS Monterey

Spatial Audio and Stereo

Spatial Audio was introduced in June 2021, which is available in Apple Music with new Apple computers, iPad and phones, AirPods and Beats.

Spatial Audio is the audio effects in music and movies that come from many directions supported by Dolby Atmos (definition). By listening to music from any directions, I can focus more on my study tasks and adjust my mood more easily.

In iOS 15, Spatial Stereo was introduced. The sound always comes from the directions of iPhone.

Focus (new Do Not Disturb mode)

In the previous versions of iOS, iPadOS and macOS, there was a Do Not Disturb mode that allows users to mute notifications.

Later on, they will be changed to a new name called: Focus. Not only can we mute notifications and block calls from strangers, but also there are some options to hide some home screen pages on iPhone and iPad to avoid distractions.

I usually put travelling, studying, and social media apps into separate pages on my iPhone. So, I can hide social media apps during studying time.

More importantly, the modes can be synchronised between Apple devices signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID. We do not need to take out and set up other devices.

During the online lessons period last month, I made these signs that hang on the door handlebar.

Notification Summary

We usually receive notifications from apps on iPhone immediately, but sometimes we cannot read and respond to all notifications.

Some people feel that some app notifications can be annoying because they produce sounds and occupy the screen of the phone along with other important notifications.

In iOS 15 with the notification summary, some unimportant and annoying notifications are put together and displayed all at once at a time without interrupting you from studying or working normally.

You can set one or more times on your iPhone based on your routine. The large summary block will appear at the times you have set. You also can set some apps that are used for the notification summary.

According to my routine and schedule, I usually response to email and social media such as Twitter and Instagram after getting up and before sleeping. So, I have set the summary times at the time I get up and 30 minutes before sleeping.

iOS 15 Notification Summary Time Settings

Announce Notifications on AirPods with Siri (including WeChat)

Last year, AirPods and some Beats can only announce incoming calls and messages. In China, however, text messages may be replaced by WeChat so this feature may be useless there.

In the iOS 15 update, app notifications can also be announced with Siri, including WeChat we usually use. We don't need to take out our iPhone to get the notifications. This will make my life more convenient.

I brainstormed and made this suggestion before about announcing WeChat messages, but it appeared before I submit this suggestion to Apple.

Pause Podcasts when Announcing Notifications

It also can pause Podcasts we are listening now when announcing notifications so we never miss every word in the Podcasts audio.

I usually use Apple Podcasts because it belongs to Apple and it has many useful and practical English audios. It also can improve my IELTS listening skills. As we know, all Apple apps are associated so we can use Siri suggestions.

By the way, I recommend some podcasts I usually listen to, such as Not Overthinking by Ali Abdaal and Taimur, and IELTS Energy English Podcast by All Ears English.

AirPods Background Sounds

In iOS 15, you can play some background sounds to reduce distractions, such as rain and ocean. It also helps me to imagine that I am travelling outside to relax.

You can enable it by adding a widget in the control centre first. Go to Settings, Control Centre and add Hearing widget at the bottom. Then, you can enable it by clicking the hearing icon in the control centre.

iOS 15 AirPods Background Sounds

Live Text in Images (not supported on my devices)

From now on, we can extract text from some images and photos, so we will not need to type the words in the images which is very time-consuming.

Unfortunately for me, this feature only supports on Mac computers with an Apple chip and the latest iPhone or iPad with new Apple chips.

I am using Mac computers with an Intel chip because I need to make macOS and Windows apps at the same time as a computer science student. However, I can use my iPhone to do that.

Related Knowledge

Now, I would like to talk about an IGCSE Computer Science (0478) knowledge.

Live Text uses OCR technology (Optical Character Recognition), which recognises the text in some images. It is commonly used to recognise the information on ID cards and passports.

Shortcuts (now available on macOS)

Shortcuts is an app that allows us to perform many actions using a few words. It also can be used together with Siri, so we can improve our productivity.

In the past, it was only available on iOS and iPadOS. But later on, it will be available on macOS computers. The shortcuts can also be synchronised between iCloud devices.

For example, I have set a shortcut called Good Morning that displays the weather today, my today's calendar events and reminders, and says the phrase "Have a Nice Day" at the end. I just need to say "Hey, Siri! Good morning!" and it will perform these actions for me.

I usually use Quizlet to remember English words. So, I have set a shortcut called Remember English Words that opens Quizlet website on my computers or Quizlet app on my iPhone. I just need to say "Hey, Siri! Remember English words." to start memorising my flashcards.

Quick Notes

There is a Quick Notes feature on iPadOS and MacOS, so I will never miss important things in every second without opening the Notes app.

The button is located at the bottom-right corner of the screen. We just need to click there using a mouse, trackpad or Apple Pencil to create a note quickly.

We can also add a Notes widget to the control centre on iPhone, so we can take a quick note by clicking the Notes button with iPhone.

New Safari Interface with Tab Groups

Since Windows 10, Microsoft Edge can put tabs into a tab group if we want to close the browser and use them later on.

In the new iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Safari is going to bring new tab groups that can organise tabs with different categories and they can be synchronised between iCloud devices, including iPhone, iPad and Mac.

So, I will be able to continue on any devices with the exactly same tab groups without opening every tab again or use AirDrop to send tabs to another device.

Related Knowledge

Now, I would like to talk about an IGCSE Computer Science (0478) knowledge.

There are some functions in browsers: request IP addresses with DNS servers with domain names, store user's favourite pages and pages visited history, display web pages, interpret HTML and CSS codes, and go backwards and forward.

Streamlined Tab Bar

The new Safari on macOS and iPadOS also has new streamlined tab bar which is more pretty than iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur. This makes me more comfortable when searching for things on the Internet.

The colour of the bar automatically changes according to the main colour of the website you are using now. My website is now optimised for the new Safari so the bar turns purple - the colour I very like.

macOS Monterey New Safari Steamlined Tab Bar
Did you know?

My website was optimised for Dark Mode on Apple devices several months before since I started to use Apple ecosystem. The entire website will turn black if you turn on the dark mode in iOS, iPadOS and macOS.

The address bar on iOS Safari will be put at the bottom of the screen, so I do not need to reach my finger to the top of the screen which is inconvenient.

iOS 15 Safari Address Bar

By the way, I want to tell you that my new website is going to put the menu button at the bottom-right corner to give convenience to visitors.

iCloud Hide my Email

In fact, some people usually receive spam emails, messages or phone calls from strangers and they may be worry that their contacts may be disclosed unexpectedly.

Recently, Apple made a Hide my Email feature that can generate many random email addresses. It can be used to register accounts on some websites and send emails. The emails received in these addresses will be forwarded to your iCloud mail inbox.

You can also add, manage and delete your address generated. This can prevent you from receiving spam emails anymore if an address is no longer used.

My Suggestions and Feature Requests to Apple

Recently, I brainstormed and submitted a stack of suggestions to Apple.

I can imagine that there is an M1 chip in my brain which is pretty fast because I seldom feel tired although I do massive study tasks rapidly and I made a lot of ideas in a short time.

These are my suggestions provided to Apple:

  • Batteries widget on macOS control centre and synchronising battery status between devices.
  • Synchronise notifications from iPhone to macOS.
  • Widget Areas and App Library in LaunchPad on macOS.
  • Health and Weather apps on macOS.
  • Siri Suggestions on Mac.
  • Offline iCloud synchronisation (transferring calendar, reminders and notes without Internet).
  • Lost Mode on AirPods, similar to AirTag.
  • Colours and icons on folders of Notes app like Reminders app.
  • Autofill email verification code on Safari, like text/SMS messages.
  • Apple Authenticator, using 6-digit verification codes and autofill in Safari, like Google Authenticator and managing passwords in Safari.

More details and relevant images I made of the first 5 suggestions were written in this article.

I hope Apple can adopt my ideas and suggestions next year to make its products better for every user.

Alright! This is the end of the article. Thanks for reading.

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Still have questions or cannot understand my articles? Don't be hesitant to contact me and I am here to help you. I speak English and Chinese.

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