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5 Ways You Can Change Your iOS Settings for Your Mental Health

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Have you ever experienced a really beautiful day, only to open your iPhone phone and be reminded of a very traumatic day, or immediately become overstimulated by a barrage of non-stop notifications from all the social media apps on your phone?

A phone shouldn’t be a source of stress, and it damn sure shouldn’t be a constant trigger. With all the different ways we can customize our phone, we should remember that we can (and should) customize and tailor our phones to our mental health. I can’t speak for Android users, as I’ve been an iPhone user for 10 years, but I’ve found some good shortcuts, workarounds, and ways to customize the iOS settings for our mental health.

1. Change your “memories” so you don’t see traumatic ones featured.

Our iPhones are so smart that they can pick up significant days where we take a lot of pictures, or point out significant faces and animals. Sadly our iPhones don’t know if those memories are tainted, traumatic, or triggering.

If you’ve been triggered by a super bad memory popping up on your phone to some quirky music (IYKYK), here’s how to fix that:

Go to your photos app, and tap “For you” at the bottom of the page. It’ll lead you to some past memory collections that your phone has put together. Scroll through any memories you don’t want to be reminded of, and press the three dots in the corner of the memory. You have the option to delete the memory, or simply feature it less. Do whatever works for you.

2. Affirmation-based lock screens are your friend.

In iOS16 (which no, I haven’t downloaded) you have the option to interchange your lock screens and have different ones. Sometimes we need to look down and have a simple reminder that we are worthy, valid, and things will be OK. Consider finding or creating some lock screens (you can do so with Canva) that tell you what you need to hear, and switching through them as needed.

3. Change your “focus modes” based on your moods, not just what you’re doing.

So you have multiple focus modes on your phone. There’s personal, work, and sleep. You can definitely set it up that way, but if you struggle with your mental health it may be a good idea to set it based on your moods instead. Let’s say there are some people who drain your energy more than others, you can make sure that they aren’t the ones whose notifications are going to come through as readily.

4. Turn off the second call feature on Do Not Disturb mode.

One of the features of Do Not Disturb mode allows for people to get through to you if they call you twice. While that can sometimes come in handy in emergencies, it is technically boundary bypassing and crossing. If you go to your settings you’ll see “Focus” next to a moon icon. Click on that and then click on the individual settings. For now, we’ll use “Do Not Disturb.” Press “People” and go down to “Also allow.” 

Tap that and you’ll see a few options as far as who you can allow to contact you – everyone, no one, favorites, or all contacts. Mine is set to favorites. Underneath there you’ll see “Allow repeated calls” and that’s what you’ll want to tap so people can’t bypass your Focus settings. You may need to do this for the individual focus modes, but it’s well worth it that way people can’t just bypass your communication boundary. 

5. If you have AirPods, consider turning the spoken text feature off.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Tik Toks where people will be in the middle of jamming out, and their AirPods read out a breakup text and the person breaks down. If not, it’s quite hysterical and sadly very relatable.

If you have AirPods, there is an option to have Siri read out incoming text messages. Obviously, you never know what is going to be in a text message, and if you’re like me you like opening texts at your leisure. Consider turning this feature off, that way you won’t be in the middle of a dance break only to receive a text that says someone died. Talk about bringing down the mood.

It’s your phone, and it shouldn’t inherently stress or trigger you. Consider these settings changes, and what other ones you can implement so you can specifically target your mental health.

Getty image by PeopleImages

Originally published: September 20, 2022
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