iPhone 8 Could Mute Notifications Upon Facial Recognition

The latest code discovery to emerge from Apple’s HomePod firmware may hint that the “iPhone 8” will silence notification sounds when a person is looking at their device —possibly taking advantage of the phone’s 3D facial recognition technology.

This week’s HomePod firmware leak was loaded with info (including what the iPhone 8 will likely look like). Developers are still mining the code for details, and one of them suggests a new 3D sensor on the front could identify when you’re using the phone and mute those annoying notification sounds.

According to a new report from Tom’s Guide, iOS developer Guilherme Rambo revealed a new term to iOS called “TLAttentionAwarenessObserver,” which appears in conjunction with other phrases that refer to changing ringtones when attention is detected and updating alert volume dynamically.

He tweeted out a line of code on Tuesday which seems to suggest that the iPhone 8 will automatically mute or suppress notifications sounds when you’re looking at the display:

It’s important to keep in mind that not every feature that appears in the code of the firmware will make its way into the final product, but at the very least, Apple appears to be toying with the idea of muting notifications when the user is actively looking at their phone.

Apple should ship the “iPhone 8” sometime this fall — possibly as soon as September, though production issues could force a delay or at least limited quantities at launch. Its signature feature should be an edge-to-edge, 5.8-inch OLED display, omitting a physical home button in favor of a virtual one.