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Use Shortcuts to Set a Custom Do Not Disturb (and to Hush Walkie-Talkie)

iOS 12 added some great functionality to Do Not Disturb, including the ability to set Do Not Disturb for an hour, until the evening, or until you leave your current location. Since my phone is silent and I get all notifications through taps from my Apple Watch, I can ignore most distractions pretty easily. As a result, I never bothered to activate DND when entering a meeting or starting a phone call on my office phone.

The introduction of the Walkie-Talkie app in watchOS 5 changed all this. Walkie-Talkie messages from a pre-approved contact blurt out from your Watch, unless you’ve either activated DND or changed your availability in the Walkie-Talkie app. I’ve started activating DND for an hour before I make phone calls on my office phone, but what I really need is the ability to set DND for a brief period of time.

Federico Viticci of MacStories must have read my mind, as he shared a Shortcut on Twitter this morning to set Do Not Disturb with a specific expiration time.

Here’s what mine, which sets Do Not Disturb for 5 minutes, looks like:

Custom DND iPhone Shortcut

You can download the Shortcut directly from this link. All credit goes to Federico for creating this – I just changed the duration.

I have this shortcut show up in the Shortcuts wiget, too. Tapping it immediately activates DND.


I’ve also created a trigger phrase in Siri Shortcuts, which works pretty quickly on the iPhone, but is slower to activate from the Watch. I hope this speeds up with the Series 4 Watch, which I should have on Friday.

Reverse Chronological Timeline Returns to the Twitter App →

Nick Statt, writing for The Verge:

Now, when you uncheck the settings box reading “Show the best tweets first,” Twitter will completely revert your timeline to a non-algorithmic, reverse-chronological order, which is how Twitter was originally designed and operated for years until the company introduced a default algorithmic model in early 2016.

The official Twitter app still falls short of Tweetbot, but this is a step in the right direction. Now I’d like to see Twitter get more granular with its mute options. As best I can tell, you can’t set a mute filter to hide someone from your main timeline, while still following the account in a list. In Tweetbot, for example, I have a “Weather” list. Various Weather-related accounts show up only in that list, but are muted in my main timeline. If someone knows of a way to do this in the official app (short of using a list as the main timeline), please let me know.

watchOS 5: The BirchTree Review →

Matt Birchler of Birchtree:

Control Center can be rearranged. This is a minor change, but one that you will probably use once and then never again. At the bottom of Control Center is an “Edit” button that allows you to shift these buttons around however you’d like.

Newly released watchOS 5 is full of little tweaks like this one in Control Center. If you want a comprehensive list of the additions and changes, this review is a must-read. It’s thorough, but also very skimmable if you want to use it as a reference.

The Apple Watch Series 4, Aimed at Your Parents →

John Gruber at Daring Fireball:

Just at the event itself in the post-show hands-on area, I spoke to several people in their 40s or 50s who said the same thing: they were already considering buying Series 4 watches for their parents for this feature alone.

I fall into that “40s or 50s” crowd, and Gruber is right on target. During the Watch portion of the Apple event, I thought of my late grandmother. She was always spry and active, until she suffered a fall while alone. She was never herself again. After thinking of her, I immediately thought of my parents, who are also spry and active. It’s amazing that the technology is there to help with such a real problem. I’m just not sure they’d wear a Watch consistently. It’s a talk we’ll be having.

Apple Watch Series 4 – Bullet Point List of Improvements

I’m trying to come up with a concise list of improvements to the Apple Watch, to evaluate whether it is worth an upgrade. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Granted, much of this comes from press releases, so it isn’t really intended to be an objective evaluation.

  • 30% bigger screen with only slightly bigger footprint
  • Thinner
  • 2X faster
  • FDA-cleared EKG scanner
  • Updated accelerometer and gyroscope
  • Fall detection
  • Better cellular strength due to new underside
  • Haptic feedback in Digital Crown
  • Louder speaker.

Did I miss anything?