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This is my worst nightmare. They have already disabled notifications on my iPhone when wearing my series 7 watch (which did NOT happen with my original watch.) If the watch is UNLOCKED, I no longer get any noise or vibration from the phone when a text or email arrives. The sole notification is the haptic of the watch and a (nearly silent) "ping" on the watch - inaudible when in a room with any background noise. I have nerve damage, and do not feel the haptics of the watch at all... so basically, no notifications. Also, interestingly, when wearing the watch, if I turn WiFi call assist OFF on the phone... then the phone no longer rings AT ALL. It's basically a cluster f%$*.
I went through weeks of calls with customer support and engineering, and it turns out that... yes... that's what they've designed. Someone decided that if you're wearing a watch, your phone just won't make noise anymore. HORRIFYINGLY stupid imposition of a solution to a problem that did not exist, with absolutely NO OPT-OUT. They oddly have chosen the setup language for the watch to MIRROR your iPhone's settings, but it does NOT, it USURPS them.
Likewise, the "auto switching" of the AirPods is incredibly bad. I would be on a phone call with my iPhone, and walk past an iMac in my house, and the AirPods would switch - IN SPITE - of being in USE on a call! Also, when listening to music - ACTIVELY - and I sit down to do some work with any other device, in SPITE of being actively in use for music, the other device would take over the AirPods. What's even dumber is that to turn off this incredibly ill-executed "feature" you have to choose a setting called "Connect when last connected". It's incredibly poor execution of another IMPOSED behavior. Oddly... the only device that allows you NOT to participate in the madness is the TV, which very kindly offers a "Never Look For AirPods" setting, as opposed to the stupid double-positve/negative "Connect When Last Connected" approach.
I'm a 25 year consultant... I know my way around the ecosystem VERY well, and I APPLAUD you for this piece. I have found the implementation of music to be mystifying. I do not subscribe to Music, and don't perceive that I will. I spend a large amount of time on planes and ships that are outside of data reach, or where it is prohibitively slow and expensive... thus, I NEVER want to stream anything! I do, however, have multiple computers, in different locations, so I use iTunes Match on land. Everything, including the watch worked beautifully, until about 2 years ago. At that point, my carefully cultivated playlists meant nothing, and the phone started streaming rather than playing directly... same with the watch, it will only stream from the phone, and I can almost never get it to play directly from the playlist loaded on the watch.
Likewise, when I plug the phone into the car, with nothing at all playing... the phone will choose a random track from my entire library, and stream it over cellular, and play it in the car. This, in SPITE of the fact that I have all settings related to Music and streaming set to OFF, and NO cellular. The tracks it picks are so random, and unwanted, too. Look, I have 35 nieces and nephews. My library has some Barney and Sesame Street in it... that DOES NOT mean I want to hear it when they're not present, yet that's all that the phone does.
I've spent hours on the phone with Care, and it's always the same line... this is unexpected behavior, and it will be escalated to the next tier - who will (NEVER) call you back. Not once.
The music space on both devices has become so unnecessarily obtuse. It fells like they've just said, "hey, we've moved on to streaming... so either do that, or we don't care." Two years ago, there was a simple setting: ONLY use music on my phone. That's gone. I do know that there is now a menu item in the iPhone music app for "Downloaded Only"... but it is not the default, and takes several layers to get to. If I quit the app, that selection is gone, and has to be reselected. The simple system wide setting was the perfect solution, but it's long gone. Likewise, FINDING a song is maddening. I ONLY want to look through the music I have chosen to download to the phone or watch... but you can't do that... it forces you through your entire library!