Using Apple’s Do Not Disturb for iPhone

Apple introduced Do Not Disturb with the new iPhone and iOS 6. It lets you prevent incoming text messages, notifications and alerts from making noise during a custom time period. It’s so very useful.

For starters, my iPhone no longer wakes me with scoring updates from late-night West Coast baseball games. Do Not Disturb is also great during meetings, when interruptions are absolutely unwelcome, as well as public events or even time you’ve set time aside to be “unplugged” (remember that?). Or maybe you’re just an anti-social misanthrope who still wants an iPhone. In any case, here’s how to get the most out of Do Not Disturb for iPhone.

Where to Find It

You’ll find Do Not Disturb options in two locations within the Settings app. The first is a simple on/off toggle on the main screen. Slide it to the “On” position to enable Do Not Disturb right away. You’ll use this when you need to silence alerts, etc. outside of scheduled hours. When Do Not Disturb is engaged, a crescent moon icon appears in your iPhone’s status bar:

Aw, isn’t it cute? It “fades” in and out as you disable/enable Do Not Disturb. Typical Apple style.

You’ll also find Do Not Disturb options by tapping Notifications within Settings. Once you’re on the Notifications setting screen, tap Do Not Disturb again. Here’s what you’ll get:

  1. Scheduling options.
  2. Contact exceptions.
  3. Repeated incoming call options.

Here’s what they mean and how to manage each.

Managing Do Not Disturb Options

Scheduling

You can tell your iPhone to automatically enable/disable Do Not Disturb on your custom schedule. I have it on at night, as I use my iPhone as a bedside clock and don’t want audible alerts waking me up. It switches off in the morning. Here’s how to create a schedule.

  1. Move the Scheduled slider to the “On” position.
  2. “From” and “To” options appear. Give them a tap.
  3. The Quiet Hours screen appears. Tap the From field and use the dial to set the start time. This is when Do Not Disturb will start.
  4. Tap To and set the end time.
  5. Tap Do Not Disturb to return to the previous screen.

Exceptions

What’s nice is Apple lets you identify contacts whose calls will override the Do Not Disturb settings. Handy if, say, a far-flung relative is expecting a baby. It’s easy to identify these exceptions:

  1. Tap Allow Calls From.
  2. Tap the group whose calls are to ring audibly.
  3. Tap Do Not Disturb to return to the previous screen.

Pretty easy, no? Now Jr.’s late-nite call from the holding cell will wake you up no matter what.

Repeats

Move the Repeated Calls slider to the “On” position to ring your phone when a call comes in from the same person within three minutes.

Shortcomings

Do Not Disturb is great and I expect the next version will be even better. Here’s what I hope to see.

  • Greater scheduling options. What if I want a weekday schedule and a weekend schedule? For now, it’s One Schedule To Rule Them All.
  • Improved exception options. For now, you can only create an exceptions for your favorite contacts or those in a group. I’d like individual options, too.
  • Text support. My wife and I communicate via text significantly more often than by phone call. I’d like to see an option for text exceptions as well as phone calls.
  • Text repeats. Again, it would be nice if Do Not Disturb had an option for three consecutive text messages as well as phone calls.

Do Not Disturb is a very useful feature and easy to set up. It doesn’t prevent alerts, messages and texts from arriving, just makes them inaudible. Take a minute to set it up. You’ll be glad you did.

18 Comments on "Using Apple’s Do Not Disturb for iPhone"

  1. Michael Ramm says:

    I have noticed one problem. If you have an app that keeps the phone ‘on’ (my use case is an alarm clock plugged into wall so that the phone stays on all night), Do Not Disturb is NOT invoked. I got a text (and audible notification) from a buddy at 11pm, even though DND is scheduled to be on from 9:00pm to 4:30am. I have it so early because DND will not allow the alarm clock to be heard if DND is still on.

  2. Cameron says:

    I wish Do Not Disturb had the ability to mute alerts as well. Imagine me handing my iPad with a document ready for review and signature when my friend’s “WTF OMG” NSFW text message comes in. Very professional.

  3. Dom says:

    Great review, thanks for the tips and I agree with the future feature requests!

  4. Tasha says:

    This feature foes not work. I’ve tried it from several phones in my home. I’ve enabled the do not disturb in both locations refusing calls from everyone with a window of 10pm – 7am and my phone still rings.

  5. Mark says:

    One feature I would love to see is auto switch off when my iPhone alarm goes off. That way if I get up at a different time each day I can simply switch DND on before bed and know it will automatically switch off when I wake up.

  6. Acretian says:

    If DND has an option to mute calls instead of ending them would be nice so tht others won’t get a busy tone

  7. Craig says:

    I would love to see a future update that syncs with the calendar. For example, when making a calendar appointment, I can also choose to have DND enabled for that time slot.

  8. Dave says:

    Any idea how to make a Custom Form, for only the contacts that would be allowed through the ” Do Not Disturb”?

  9. Keita says:

    What happens on he other end when someone tries to call while DND is on? Does it ring normally, go straight to Vmail or can they tell when it’s enabled?

  10. Angela says:

    Whenever I turn on the Do Not Disturb button, hoping it will block all phone calls and text messages, but I was disappointed and confused because even after I had turned it on, a text message still came through…I’ve been so annoyed trying to find out what’s wrong and I can’t.

  11. Ben says:

    Well, the phone has to be locked.

  12. Katie says:

    If I’m on DNd and someone sends me a text and obviously I won’t get disturbed by it but does it still come through so that way I can still see it in the morning?

  13. J Gardner says:

    PERFECT! Phone has to be locked for ringer not to ring on DND. Thanks!

  14. Lisa Berkowicz says:

    When I turn on my Do Not Disturb function, I have it set 4 only favorites 2 go thru. However, txts from my Favorites do not come thru. My question is y not & secondly, if there is a way then how, & thirdly, if it can’t b done when will u fix it so it does? Technically then Do Not Disturb does not work if its set on Favorites & ur Favorites txts don’t come thru. Really need 2 fix it bcuz it’s a glaring mistake on ur end. Would get u more favorable reviews if the special functions u added actually worked correctly.

    Thank u, LisaMarie

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