Settings by Location

Dan Moren wrote a great post at Six Colors detailing a great idea for location-based security on Macs and iOS devices.

Location services have been a major function of iOS since its earliest days, and they’ve increasingly played a part in OS X in recent years as well. At the same time, given that we have devices that always seem to know where we are, why can’t we use that a little bit more to our advantage?

It is of a piece with an idea I’ve had for a while to have location-based settings of all kinds. For example, I love the fact that, as of Yosemite, I can make and answer phone calls on my iPhone through my Mac. Every chance I’ve had to use it has been great, and I find it very convenient. However, I work in an open office and do not like to answer phone calls sitting at my desk. I would love the ability to set this feature to inactive whenever I’m in my office, but active at home. Some more possibilities for location-based settings include:

  • Scheduling Do Not Disturb on my device differently depending on whether I’m at home or not.
  • Automatically activate Do Not Disturb and Silence for indicated locations. I’m thinking of places like Church, client offices, theaters, etc.
  • If I take a photo at home with an iOS device, don’t save location EXIF data.
  • Turn off automatic mail fetch for my work email when at home or vice versa.

All these possibilities, and more, could be opened to us if settings, in general, could be geofenced. It certainly fits with the Apple’s ideas of Continuity and would be very helpful to a wide variety of users.

Apple OS X iOS Settings Geo-fencing