With the release of iOS 11 s latest beta on Wednesday, testers can now get their hands on one of the new mobile operating systems most important if not most glamorous new features: a long-needed Do Not Disturb While Driving mode. Announced in June at Apples Worldwide Developer Conference, the feature aims to combat the very dangerous practice of texting from behind the wheel, while also switching off other alertings that entice people to look at their telephones while driving.
Distracted driving has become a national safety crisis because of the rise of smartphones. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, 10 percent of fatal accidents, 15 percent of injury crashes and 14 percentage of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic accidents were attributed to distracted driving a blanket word that broadly encompasses cell phone use, as well as other in-car activity like adjusting the radio or climate controls, for example.
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed because of distracted driving, and 391,000 were additionally injured.
A number of third parties have approached the problem by offering mobile applications that avoid texting while the vehicle is in motion, but these can only really be integrated at the system level on Android devices. Because iOS applications run in a sandbox surrounding, they cant interfere with iOS functions like avoiding someone from texting. Carriers have then stepped in with their own measures, like AT& Ts DriveMode, but these focus on silencing calls and text alertings, but not push notifications from apps.
Because of iOSs lack of a built-in feature, app manufacturers have come up with all sorts of workarounds, such as the use of external hardware, for example. But more often than not, iOS apps could only offer a monitoring solution, rather than a tool to actually block the activity. Other app manufacturers havent even bothered trying to port their solution to iOS.
Apples Do Not Disturb While Driving feature isnt a tool to fully prevent texting or alerts while in a moving vehicle. Instead, it offers to clamp down on distractions at a system level in a way that Apple has never before offered.
The feature, when active, will be able to tell if youre in a car when your phone is connected to the cars USB connection or Bluetooth. It will also be able to use the iPhones sensors to decide your speed, even if your phone isnt connected to a car.
Its all about maintaining your eyes on the road, Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said when introducing the feature at WWDC in June. When youre driving, you dont need to respond to these kind of messages. In fact, you dont need to see them, he said while proving a demo where the phone was receiving push notifications from apps like Twitter, Tinder and Words with Friends.
However, the iPhone itself is not on total lockdown. CarPlay functionality still works, for example. You can also still play your music or get navigation assistance through maps and other routing software. Plus, you are able to configure DND While Driving by choosing which contacts can always get through similar to how iOSs Do Not Disturb mode works today.
But when the car is in motion, anyone else who texts will get an automated reply that reads: Im driving with Do Not Disturb turned on. Ill see your message when I get where Im running. A second text also gives them a style to break through and get your attention in the case of an emergency by telling them, If this is urgent, respond urgent to send a notification through with your original message.
The fact that theres a way to bypass the define is key to its adoption.
People worry about being unplugged from their devices for periods of time because they fear that someone wont be able to reach them in case of situations of emergency, or other urgent situations. Though we somehow managed to get by before smartphones were ubiquitous, its nearly impossible to go back to that state. Were always connected, and we cant seem not to be even if its during a short commute to run or school.
Parents also can choose to enable the new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature for their teenage drivers by enabling it in the Restrictions( parental controls) menu in iOSs Settings. You also can turn it off and on for yourself from the newly revamped Control center, where a widget is available that lets you enable the feature with a move of a button.
While on, your telephones screen is dark and only critical alertings get through. The features puts also let you customize the text thats sent and specify who will receive it( Contacts, Favorite, etc .)
Plus, if youre a passenger, you can opt to temporarily incapacitate the feature.
Apple is fairly late to the game with this confused driving prevention feature. Android already offers Auto Reply through Android Auto on any modern Android phone. But despite its delay in get here, the feature is one of the most significant to arrive with iOS 11.
iOS 11 is currently in beta, and is likely to be released to the public this September.
Tumblr this week introduced a safe mode for its service, which blends the companys previously available safe search functionality with a new filter that would conceal sensitive content from the sites main Dashboard, employing an overlay. However, Tumblr quickly went under fire for concealing sensitive content that was anything but instead , noted many users, Tumblr was seemingly filtering out innocent posts, including LGBTQ+ content, for no apparent reason.
This wouldnt be the first time that LGBTQ+ content got caught up in an algorithmic filter of some kind. YouTube this week also announced it had updated its policies after LGBTQ+ videos had been inadvertently blocked when viewing YouTube in Restricted Mode.( The company hadaddressed the problem back in April .)
In YouTubes case, the company claimed an engineering issue with its filter was to blame.
What was going on at Tumblr, however, was less instantly clear.
The company had earlier said that content was being flagged as sensitive through a combination of automation and human moderation. It described sensitive content broadly; even artistic nudity, or nudity in an educational or photojournalistic context, may be considered sensitive, it had said.
Given that it was now hiding innocent photos and illustrations including those that were LGBTQ+ -themed but not explicit questions were raised about whether Tumblr had actually begun to censor its typically more inclusive community.
Plus, people wanted to know, was this Verizons fault? Verizon, which also owns TechCrunch parent AOL, had just picked up Tumblr through the Yahoo acquisition.( And it had already been attaining some changes .)
Similar to the issue with YouTube, Tumblrs problem of censorship or filtering gone wrong disproportionately affected younger users. With YouTube, for example, Limited Mode is often enabled on school computers or in libraries. And these are sometimes the only places where LGBTQ+ youth can seek out their communities online.
Tumblrs filtering system, meanwhile, was designedto hide explicit blogs from search results on the web, and was going to be automatically enabled for any logged-out users as well as those under 18, starting on July 5th, 2017.
On Friday, Tumblr addressed the issue of innocuous posts, including LGBTQ+ content, being flagged and hidden. The company explained what had happened, and apologized to its community.
Please know that was never our aim, a blog post stated, referring to how LGBTQ+ content had been blocked. Were profoundly sorry. Tumblr will always be a place where everyone is welcome and protected, so we want to explain what happened.
The majority of the problem had to do with the fact that many of the blog creators themselves had marked their own blogs as Explicit. This is an optional defining bloggers on Tumblr can use to warn the community that their site may host adult material. It also entails those blogs will be filtered out from Safe Search results.( This is how the system has worked for years, so thats not new .)
However, when Tumblr generated the new Safe Mode, it designed it with the assumption that because these blogs were marked Explicit, all their content would be sensitive, as well.
Because we consider Explicit blogs to be predominantly sensitive content, “were in” automatically marking all their posts as sensitive. That was too broad, Tumblr explains.
The end result is that entire Tumblr blogs were being marked sensitive, even though many of their posts were not.
Tumblr tells it has now corrected the problem by classifying each post individually.
As they should be, Tumblr added.
A couple of other issues were addressed, too.
Before, when explicit Tumblrs reblogged a safe post, it was get marked as sensitive because it was now on an Explicit blog. This was even happening to text posts. Tumblr changed the logic here so that if the original posters content was safe, all reblogs would also be marked safe.
Additionally, Tumblr tells its still working to correct a problem with photosets.
The machine algorithms initially classifying the photos posted to Tumblr as safe or sensitive are more challenged by photosets( multi-photo posts .) To be cautious, Tumblr was marking photosets as sensitive, forcing users to request a human review following the publication. The company says its working now to have photosets analyzed as a group , not as individual images, which should reduce the mistakes the machine analysis makes.
It didnt devote a timeline on when this change would be finalized , nor detail how this would impact its current policies with photosets in Safe Mode.
Tumblr concluded by saying it was committed to attaining Safe Mode which is designed to protect users from content they dont want to see, specifically nudity work properly. Plus, it noted, its algorithms will be enhanced as users respond to misclassified posts over time.
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