"Hey HomePod"

On Apple's insistence of sticking with "Hey Siri"

It’s strange that as of iOS 14.3 it isn't possible to activate Siri with device-specific names.

It’s "Hey Siri" or nothing.

This leads to some pretty frustrating experiences when you have more than one device that supports the setting “Listen for 'Hey Siri’.”

A quick example of one that happened to me earlier today: I'm sitting on my couch using my iPhone and decide to start playing some music in the background. I say, "Hey Siri, play playlist, piano chill."

Rather than playing from my HomePod as intended, it starts playing from my AirPods Max that happened to be resting atop my head (not over my ears).

While I know Apple tries to figure out what device you're most likely to be speaking to, in tricky situations like these (when you happen to be using one of your supported devices that you don't want to activate) — it fails almost every time.

We all agree that given available tech it’s too much to expect Apple to identify the intended device 100% of the time. Instead, they should add an option to select a unique wake word for supported devices. Simply being able to say, "Hey HomePod," or "Hey iPhone" would be a huge win.

Until then, I've resorted to disabling the "Listen for 'Hey Siri'" setting on all devices except for my HomePods. And, assuming I remember, temporarily enabling it on my iPhone for situations when it’s especially useful (like during long bike rides 🚴‍♂️)

And for adults!

Tim Cook on Screen Time

Very happy to hear that not only is Apple still focused on making Screen Time better, they believe it’s a tool for children and adults alike. Here’s the exact quote from Cook:

I think that we've learned that some of our users are not happy with the amount of time that they invest in their device. So our response was let's figure out a way to help them. Let's put all of our energy into figuring out how to help them. And out of that pops parental controls because some people are more anxious about their kids. The truth is they should also be anxious about themselves. So we gave them Screen Time as well. And Screen Time is for kids and for adults. And there's no doubt that we will do more. There's no doubt we'll push forward for more. 

Via Outside Online.

Screen Time

Improving one of my favorite OS features.

I think Screen Time on iOS and macOS is one of the best tools available to fight procrastination and hyperbolic discounting. Here are a few ways I think it could get even better.

#1 Add an option to disable “One More Minute”

The first time each day Screen Time is enforced for any application or website, Apple gives users the option to extend its usage by 1 minute. I assume this was added for emergency situations, which makes sense, but it allows for a number of loopholes. Users should have the option to disable it for every “App Limit” they create. An affordance similar to what exists now for “Block at end of limit” would do the trick.

#2 Allow “Daily time limit” to be set to 0 minutes

Apple doesn’t allow users to set a “Daily time limit” that’s less than 1 minute. This, when considered alongside #1, make it impossible to disallow certain apps to be used on select days of the week. For example, in the screenshot below, I’m unable to set it so I’m only allowed to listen to Castro on weekends.

#3 Include background audio playback in time limit quotas on iOS

Right now limitations are only counted when the app is open. Apple should count audio playback as time using the app regardless of whether it’s open or running in the background. With the current implementation, users can do things like open a podcast app, start playing a queue of podcasts, close the podcast app, and listen to podcasts for as long as they want. This seems to go against the spirit of App Limits as it allows for hours of listening beyond whatever limitation may have been set. This loophole is especially bad when taking into account #2.

#4 Disable Picture in Picture playback when a limit is reached

As of now, videos can play for an unlimited amount of time so long as you initiate PiP before Screen Time is activated. This loophole is especially bad when considered alongside point #1.


(Everything listed above is unresolved as of iOS 14.2 and macOS 11.0.1 unless otherwise stated.)

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