Do Not Disturb Settings on iOS

Do Not Disturb is a great feature of iOS that mutes notifications and alerts for all incoming calls, messages, and apps. It’s easy to turn on and off, and can even be scheduled to go on and off at set times, such as bed time.

Selective Do Not Disturb

I like to manually turn it on when I walk into meetings or am with a customer in conversation. Then when I leave, I check to see if there have been any calls or texts and I turn it back off. This is all done easily now in iOS 7 using the Control Center. By swiping up from either the Lock Screen or from anywhere else in iOS (except when a keyboard is displayed), the Control Center is summoned. Then it’s as simple as tapping on the moon icon.

Apple iOS Control Centre

However, the other day I was in a Physiotherapy session for my shoulder (another story), I flicked Do Not Disturb on and 5 minutes into the session, the phone started ringing. “That’s strange”, I thought, “I’m sure I put Do Not Disturb on”. I checked the settings and sure enough, it was on.

So what went wrong?

It happened to be my wife calling, about what we were doing for dinner! There’s a setting that when Do Not Disturb is on, any contact listed in your favourites is allowed to get through and be heard. Obviously a useful setting when there is an emergency, which this call was not.

So this is how to change that setting.

  • Open “Settings” and head to “Do Not Disturb”
  • Select “Allow Calls From”
  • Select No One, Favorites or Everyone, or even a select group of contacts if you have them
  • Exit out of Settings

Do Not Disturb Settings

There is a setting to allow repeated calls to get through also, meaning that if my wife was to call a second time within 3 minutes, the phone would ring. That’s handy for emergencies, although my wife does tend to keep trying if I don’t answer :).

Do Not Disturb Whilst in Use

Another scenario I had recently. I woke up at about 4:30am and started reading the iPad, sending iMessages and emails. This time it was my wife next to me who did not want to be disturbed. I was happy knowing that I had Do Not Disturb on by an automatic schedule. But then I received a text and the alert sound was super loud!

What went wrong this time?

If you’re actively using an unlocked iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch while Do Not Disturb is on, the alerts, calls, and notifications will still make sounds, which may defeat the purpose of the setting for some users, and can make it appear as if the Do Not Disturb feature is not working at all. Of course this make sense in some scenarios as if you’re awake and using your phone, then you are most likely in a position to receive a call etc.

Here’s how to change that.

  • Open “Settings” and head to “Do Not Disturb”
  • Scroll down to the “Silence” section and choose “Always”
  • Exit out of Settings

Do Not Disturb Settings

Even if the iOS device is actively in use, all phone calls, texts, and alerts will automatically be silenced.