Apple is experimenting with attention sensors to save battery life

Your next Apple device may shut down if you are not paying attention to it

Smartphone with a dead battery icon plugged in and charging

Apple is working on a new feature that will help your device conserve battery life if you are not paying attention to it, according to Apple Insider,

Current Apple devices already have a feature that sort of handles this, although the current system works more like a countdown since you last interacted with the device. The new system will reportedly focus more on if you are paying attention to certain functions the device is engaging by monitoring peripheral devices and various sensors.

Say you are listening to Apple Music via your AirPods and set the phone on your desk. The newly patented “attention detection service” will use a gaze sensor to detect you are not looking at the screen and shut down the screen to cut battery consumption. However, it will not impact your Apple Music session because it knows you are actively listening via the AirPods. 

The device will reportedly use multiple sensors, such as detection and touch detection, to determine which unnecessary functions to shut down. 

Other functions could spread to Apple TV 4K, which currently uses a timer to decide when to shut down. With Apple TV 4K, the “attention detection service” could theoretically sense when you’re in the car via Apple CarPlay or in the kitchen getting a snack via the location sensor on your Apple Watch and pause the show you are watching or shut down the device altogether.

According to the report, this feature will be active whether the device is running only on the battery or plugged in. While it may not make sense to shut down functions when a device is not running on battery alone, shutting down unnecessary functions when you leave the device plugged in will conserve energy and reduce heat.

There is no timeline for this new feature’s release, as it was just granted its patent on August 31.

With the next Apple smartphone right around the corner, it makes sense to align the function’s release with the new iPhone 13’s unveiling. The latest iPhone will reportedly have a 120Hz ProMotion screen, so the screen deactivation alone could be instrumental in boosting the device’s battery life. 

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