Apple exploring iPhone ‘life events’ to automatically adjust your settings


Are you tired of turning off your ringer when entering a library, or sending all calls to voicemail when attending church or driving? While there are some manual methods for disabling these iPhone features, a new patent granted Apple outlines ways your ‘life events’ could automatically adjust your handset, based on location, time and more.

Titled ‘Event-based modes for electronic devices,’ the patent published Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office illustrates how your iPhone could automatically disable or enable features depending on your calendar, location, usage trends – even ambient sounds…

“Apple is looking into technology that would allow an iPhone to detect events in a user’s everyday life, like going to church or changes in the weather, and automatically reconfigure hardware and software settings to fit the situation,” AppleInsider writes.

At the heart of the technology is a set of predefined modes (such as Church or Homework) controlled by two categories: mandatory and permissible. A mandatory condition could be set by a parent that disables a child texting while doing homework.


Other examples might be requiring a password, or needing the user to be in a certain location or within a specific time period. Modes using the permissible category could ask a user to select a predefined choice.

Events are detected in a couple ways: using the iPhone’s sensors to determine its location or levels of sound and light. For instance, if your iPhone picks up considerable ambient sound, it may set your phone to Bar or Rock Concert mode, booting the ringer level.

white iPhone 5s front

If a great deal of ambient light is detected, your display may change to handle the beach. Other events may be based on usage patterns. If every Sunday at 11 a.m. you are in church, the iPhone will learn that pattern and turn off the ringer – but leave video up so you can still catch the game.

Then there are “zones” that trigger iPhone adjustments.

For example, driving in New York State (or any other region where hands-free operation of a motor vehicle is required), all non-headset functions are disabled. The possibilities are endless, including making your stock broker’s contact information a priority whenever Apple share drop below $500.


The patent, first filed in 2007, is just the latest indication of Apple’s interest in molding how iDevices operate to the life of users. Earlier this year, Apple patented technology giving the iPhone the ability to learn how you act in various situations.

In that patent, Apple explained how the iPhone could follow a set of rules (such as when you enter a classroom or are viewing NSA logs of your neighbor’s phone calls), disabling texting or the camera.