Each fascinating iOS 15 feature has allowed me to gain control over my ADHD symptoms. Specifically, my lack of focus, procrastination, and productivity presented the most problems when moving this past August. I struggled to find the motivation necessary to get back into a stable routine. This update came at just the right time for me, and I believe it’s helped me create the structure I desperately needed. So, let’s talk about the top eight features from this recent update and why I feel they’re so beneficial for ADHD brains.
iOS 15 Feature #8: Per-App Setting
As a 37-year-old woman, I’m not ashamed to admit that I need accommodations for my daily adult life. I find it a waste of time to deny that I’m not good at processing information the way others would like me to. So, when UX developers in the tech space create apps, I know they’re not doing so with the neurodivergent person in mind. And that leaves me at a disadvantage. Consequently, I’m stuck trying to make sense of how to use and navigate the apps on my phone, which is a nightmare.
Hence why the per-app iOS 15 feature is handy. It allows you to adjust the settings for individual apps according to your preferences. So, if attention to detail isn’t your strong suit and you find apps that use tiny text, pictures, or bright colors interfere with your ability to view and engage the content, you can change those features.
For example, I find white backgrounds too harsh on my eyes, especially when combined with tiny text. As a result, I can’t read or comprehend anything. However, switching to a dark background with bold text decreases strain on my eyes, making it easier for me to read and interact with content. So, this iOS 15 feature allows me to change the settings for that specific app to smart invert transforming it to a semi-dark mode friendly app. Additionally, it doesn’t impact the way photos look and works for most apps.
And I can also change the text to bold and adjust the size to my preference as well. So there are various tweaks you can make to increase the app’s usability for your specific needs.
iOS 15 Feature #7: Live Text
I dislike paper clutter. And, while I’ve signed up for every paperless option known to man, there are instances when paper documents are needed to extract information—for example, phone numbers and addresses from essential documents or written meeting notes from a co-worker.
However, the live text iOS 15 feature uses your camera to recognize text in a document and capture it so you can engage with it. To access it, you just open your camera and hover your phone over the paper. Then two yellow brackets will encapsulate the beginning and end of the text you’re selecting. Next, tap within the chosen text for a selection bar to appear and choose which action you want to execute. It’s beneficial because it makes functions such as copying notes from a co-worker, calling a phone number, or saving information you want to come back to easier.
iOS 15 Feature #6: Mindfulness
I’ve found that anxiety increases my ADHD symptoms, mainly motivation, procrastination, working memory, executive function, attentiveness, and impulsivity. But, when I’m able to decrease stress and anxiety, I can overcome these symptoms and function better.
So, the updates made to the mindfulness app on the iWatch are appreciated. While the Breathe app has been a standard companion, it’s gotten a new look with different visual effects that help guide you through each inhale and exhale. In addition to promoting calm with the breath, there’s a new prompt offered to invite you to reflect. At the beginning of each reflection session, you’re given a thought prompt to ponder as you view the psychedelic visualizations that move across the watch face. These sessions are designed to be short and are made up of 1–5-minute intervals.
However, the path to inner peace and calm doesn’t end there. Apple’s newest addition includes a guided meditation. Within these meditations, a member of the Apple+ fitness team will walk you through the session. These intervals are relatively short and are set within 5, 10, and 20-minute sessions.
This iOS 15 feature is a practical and straightforward approach to stress management and anxiety reduction. Thus, decreasing the severity of ADHD symptoms.
iOS 15 Feature #5: Find My Feature Updates
I’ve had way too many close calls with my phone to count. The most recent one was a night last July in which I lost my phone and spent hours trying to find where the hell it was. Thankfully the Find My feature was there to help. The combination of the location map and the constant pinging led me to find my phone outside my townhome hidden in the wet grass. Yikes!
And, just when I thought a good thing couldn’t get better, it did. Now I don’t have to rely on realizing that I’ve left my phone behind because I get a separation alert on my iWatch notifying me the minute it’s out of range. However, this iOS 15 feature isn’t exclusive to phones but extends to items with an Apple Air Tag such as keys or bags, and other find my compatible devices such as iPads and MacBooks’.
The Find My feature includes a home screen widget with an overview of Air tagged items and a location map for where devices are. All of which makes this feature essential for the hopelessly forgetful.
iOS 15 Feature #4: Notification Summary
Not only are notifications distracting and messy. For example, when you get an email or text, you get it via a banner message, on the lock screen, in the notification center, and that irritating little red bubble on the app itself.
And yes, I know you can alter the notification setting for each app. However, wouldn’t it be cool to change when you receive those notifications as well? Apparently, the developers at Apple thought the same thing, hence creating the Notification summary.
This new iOS 15 feature allows you to compile what Apple calls “lesser priority non-time-critical” notifications to be delivered at specific points throughout the day. For example, this enables you to create what is known as “briefings” to occur at designated times.
Another example is you can schedule a “Morning Briefing” for 9am and include weather updates, news, email, or social media notifications to be contained in this briefing. That way, you’re not receiving continual messages throughout the day, only during that designated time.
I love this because it decreases distractions on my phone while also keeping me plugged in. When I’m doing work on my phone, I’m not triggered by endless notifications that steal my attention and make me forget the main reason I’m on my phone in the first place. Instead, I can remain focused and present on the task at hand.
iOS 15 Feature #3: Safari Browser on iPhone
Being a writer and a nerd is synonymous for me. I spend a large portion of my time reading articles and researching topics on my phone. And, it’s not always the best experience and can be distracting for me due to the small text and difficulty I have reading and grasping information.
However, the changes that were made to Safari on the iPhone improved my browsing experience. Having the tab bar at the bottom of the screen may not seem like much, but it makes a big difference. Reading articles and content with the bottom tab bar provided a more immersive experience. I was able to focus entirely on the content and glean more information and detail.
iOS15 Feature #2: Background Sounds
The combination of noise and people in public settings like stores and malls can be overwhelming. Hence why sometimes I must pop in headphones and listen to music or a podcast.
However, Apple has introduced background sounds as an accessibility tool to create a distraction in noisy environments that are overstimulating. It contains six different ambient sounds balanced noise, bright noise, dark noise, ocean, rain, and stream. And a shortcut can be added to the control center for quick access.
I’ve used it while grocery shopping and found it helped me concentrate on what I needed to get. I also use it in the evenings to help me wind down while I’m journaling or meditating.
iOS15 Feature #1: Focus Blocks
Finally, the piece de resistance has been the introduction of Focus Blocks. The Focus Block iOS 15 feature allows you to create a customizable DND setting for activities that require your full attention. For example, studying, work, getting ready for bed, reading, or family time. With Focus Blocks, you determine which contacts, if any, are allowed to have access to you, and you choose how incoming notifications are delivered.
Additionally, you’re able to arrange your home screen to eliminate temptations such as social media and other entertainment apps that serve as distractions when you’re trying to complete your focused activity.
Another feature of Focus Blocks is sending notifications to contacts when they try to reach you. Like the Driving, DND feature Focus Blocks sends a reply message to contacts when they text, alerting them that you’re unavailable and will contact them later.
This iOS 15 feature has been a game-changer for me, and utilizing it has allowed me to conquer the inattentive side of my ADHD. And I’ve seen significant improvements in my time management, especially when I combine it with other productivity systems such as the Pomodoro method and calendar blocking.
As you can see, these features have changed the way I view and manage my ADHD. I was at a point where my symptoms were impossible, and I didn’t think I would successfully overcome them.
But with the help of technology, I’ve been able to refresh systems that had grown stale. Now, I’m back to being productive and feeling so much better about myself. I end my days feeling accomplished, knowing that I was intentional with my time and didn’t allow poor time management skills or executive dysfunction to control me.
I hope that you’re able to try out these iOS 15 features and create a functional and sustainable system that works for you.
Apple Newsroom Press Release June 7,2021