My iPhone 6S, running iOS 10.3.3, functions as an extra limb. Luckily we humans are at the top of the food chain, so we can choose to use our comparatively giant brains and phone-limbs to be more mindful.
“No matter what’s happening,” a yoga teacher once told me, sweeping her hand up the center of her body, “there’s always a column of calm within.” Use our hacks to the iPhone’s free pre-installed apps to rest and restore amidst texts, alerts, and to-do’s.
Calendar > Calendars > Edit > Tap on the Calendar you Want to Share > Add Person
Raising a family requires ninja-level scheduling. Use the Calendar app to automate these dozens of tiny transactions and free up time. If the person with whom you’re sharing changes a calendar entry, you’ll be automatically notified.
(Hint: If the alerts become irritating: Calendars > “i” button > slide off Show Changes.)
Calendar > + > Repeat > Select Frequency of Recurrence
The recurring events feature allows you to enter events that repeat every year in one tap, so you’ll never forget your anniversary or your mom’s birthday.
Home Screen > Hold Home Button > Tell Siri what to add to your Calendar
Tell Siri what to schedule. She’ll fill in calendar events more quickly than you can type them.
Health Data > Mindfulness > This Week
The health data app doesn’t just track my steps and how many flights of stairs I’ve climbed. It counts the minutes I meditate as well and recommends more than a dozen outside apps to assist.
When I use 10% Happier, which costs under $10 per month, the Health Data app tracks my weekly minutes. With two taps, I can see how much more I need to meditate in a given week to meet my modest goal of 10 minutes per day. Insight Timer is the most popular free meditation option.
Thinking long term, I can keep track of the moments I want to hold onto and build a book of memories as I go with Soulments, the recently launched mindfulness journal and digital memory book app.
Settings > Phone > Respond with Text
Write an automatic text reply to calls you miss instead of frantically typing, “I’M ON DEADLINE CALL YOU %$TER.” Get creative and add emojis for fun. This solved the mystery of how my friend Ann could text me back so quickly after she missed my call (she doesn’t have bionic fingers after all!).
Settings > Do Not Disturb > Scheduled
The little white slice of moon nestled on a purple square is the virtual equivalent of hooking a “Do Not Disturb” sign on a hotel room door. Preserve whatever slivers of time you may have to look around, notice the day, practice mindfulness, or just be device-free. The tiny moon rising on your phone’s status bar indicates “Quiet Hours” – and your waxing sanity.
Settings > Do Not Disturb > Allow Calls From: Favorites. If you’re expecting a call from your child’s teacher, for example, this function allows calls from your ‘Favorites’ to go through, while blocking all other notifications.
Settings > Do Not Disturb > Repeated Calls
A second call from the same person within three minutes will not be silenced. If my husband is calling from an unknown phone, my phone will ring, and I’ll pick up even if it’s set to Do Not Disturb.
Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access
Create a passcode and then triple-click the Home button in the app you want to use. If your daughter grabs your iPhone and you don’t want her accidentally FaceTiming grandma, this function keeps your phone in the single app you permit. To revert to regular mode, triple-click the Home button and enter your passcode.
Photos > Shared > Start Sharing
When on vacation or at a child’s birthday party, each sunset you shoot or candle-blowing picture you capture will be automatically shared, saving you from texting or emailing friends and relatives later. Family members at home can see how much fun you’re having and keep tabs on your location to check that you’re safe.
Photos > Select a favorite photo > Tap the heart icon > Enjoy your greatest hits album
Want to remember the story behind why everyone’s laughing in your favorite photo? Write a quick caption to accompany the photo in Soulments, where your memories are safe and private. You can also keep the best photos at the end of each day and delete the rest. The Photos app automatically compiles your favorites. Want tips on how to better organize photos on your phone?
Reminders > + > i > Remind me at a location
Remind yourself of something when you leave for your destination or arrive. Now it doesn’t matter if something slips your mind as you’re on your way out the door to pick up your child, deposit a check, or drop off a prescription.
Clock > Bedtime > Options
The pre-loaded “Helios” tone, a gentle techno nudge, fills our bedroom. “What is that?” my husband asks, glancing around the room. “My bedtime,” I tell him.
Plug in your bedtime and wake times for the week. Choose your tone from among nine options. Swipe the yellow circle clockwise to set your desired hours of shuteye. Aim for eight, but accept fewer. There’s only so much your iPhone can do.
At Soulments, we know being tech savvy can actually help you live more mindfully.