How to use Do Not Disturb on an iPhone to silence notifications and limit distractions

ShutterstockYou can enable Do Not Disturb on your iPhone in a several ways.
  • You can use the Do Not Disturb feature on your iPhone whenever you want to block any calls, texts, or other notifications from making your phone ring.
  • The notifications and alerts will still be stored on your phone, and you can check them at any time, but your iPhone won’t light up or ring.
  • You can use Do Not Disturb by turning it on manually, or schedule it to turn on automatically at certain times of day.

Thanks to our iPhones, we’re now hyper-aware of who is trying to communicate with us throughout the day. We see notifications for phone calls, text messages, social media mentions, and an exhausting list of pings from all sorts of apps and services.

Even if you mute your phone, you still see your screen light up with incoming notifications, making it hard to truly “check out” from the online world.

That’s why Apple offers Do Not Disturb, a mode that silences your iPhone completely (with some exceptions – read on). When enabled, Do Not Disturb quiets all audible notifications and keeps the screen dark as well. Yes, the notifications are still coming in, and if you manually turn the screen on, you can see them. But left alone, the phone will give you a break from the online world.

Dnd 1Dave Johnson/Business InsiderWhen Do Not Disturb is turned on, the lock screen displays a message letting you know it’s keeping your phone quiet (and dark).

There are two ways to use Do Not Disturb. You can switch it on at a moment’s notice, like when you’re walking into a movie theatre, or have it automatically turn on every day, such as at bedtime. See the two methods below.

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How to manually use Do Not Disturb on an iPhone

1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to pull up the Control Centre. If you have an iPhone X or later, or have an iPad with iOS 12 or later, you should instead swipe down from the upper right corner of the screen to pull down the Control Centre.

2. Tap the Do Not Disturb icon. Do Not Disturb is now turned on – and no notifications will bother you – until you return to the Control Centre and tap the icon to turn it off.

3. If you want to further customise Do Not Disturb, deep press the icon when you turn it on. You’ll have three choices: To enable it for an hour, until the evening, or until you leave your current location.

Do not disturbDave Johnson/Business InsiderTurn on Do Not Disturb manually with this crescent moon icon.

4. Tap the Do Not Disturb button to instantly turn the feature on – or deep press the button to get more scheduling options.

That’s all you need to do – Do Not Disturb is now turned on. But there are a lot of ways to tweak what can sneak through the Do Not Disturb barrier, letting you see exactly how much you want. For details on how to do that, see Customising Do Not Disturb below.

How to schedule Do Not Disturb on an iPhone to automatically use it at a certain time every day

1. Tap the Settings icon and then tap “Do Not Disturb.”

2. Tap “Scheduled” to turn on the scheduling mode.

3. Tap the From – To option and set the time you want Do Not Disturb to begin and end every day. For example, you might want it to begin every evening at 10 PM and end in the morning at 7 AM. Tap Back to keep those changes.

Dnd 3Dave Johnson/Business InsiderSet the time you want Do Not Disturb to turn on and off each day under ‘Scheduled.’

4. Make any other changes to your Do Not Disturb Settings (see Customising Do Not Disturb below) and then tap Settings to go back to the main Settings screen. It’s now scheduled to run daily.

How to customise Do Not Disturb on an iPhone

Your iPhone lets you tweak the Do Not Disturb feature in a lot of ways from the above scheduling page:

  • Bedtime mode will enforce Do Not Disturb for hours at a time. Turn it on and it will keep notifications off the lock screen all night, so if you turn on your phone, you still won’t see any notifications. (They will still be in the Notification Centre if you absolutely must check them at 2AM.)
  • The Silence section is where you can also choose how silent your phone should be. Choose between “Always” (the phone will always be silent when in Do Not Disturb mode) and “While iPhone is locked” (it will still make sound if the phone is turned on and in use).
  • The Phone section lets you decide who the phone will ring through. You can choose to allow calls from “Everyone” (which, if we may editorialize for a moment, kind of defeats the purpose of Do Not Disturb), “No One,” or only people in your “Favourites.”
  • Do Not Disturb While Driving lets you set Do Not Disturb to automatically activate, as you might guess, when driving. For that to work, you need a car with Bluetooth capabilities.

Finally, there is one other Do Not Disturb option. It’s called Emergency Bypass, and it resides in the Contacts app. If you enable Emergency Bypass for a specific contact, calls from that person will ring and vibrate even during Do Not Disturb times. To do that, open the desired contact in the Contacts app and tap “Ringtone.” On the Ringtone screen, turn on “Emergency Bypass.”

How toDave Johnson/Business InsiderThe Emergency Bypass option is at the top of the Ringtone screen for each of your contacts.
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