iOS 6's Do Not Disturb

iOS 6's Do Not Disturb

Apple’s iOS 6 introduces a feature I’ve been wanting for a long time, Do Not Disturb. At first glance, I found it a little confusing but after spending a minute or two with it, everything became clear.

According to the blurb in the iPhone,

Do Not Disturb silences calls and alerts that arrive when the phone is locked.


Do Not Disturb in Settings

Do Not Disturb appears in two places. The first, shown above, is a prominent placement in Settings, where you toggle it on or off. You’ll likely want to keep this off most of the time, toggling it on for those temporary periods where you don’t want to be bothered.

Do Not Disturb in Notifications

The second place is in Settings -> Notifications. This is where you can configure Do Not Disturb somewhat.

Do Not Disturb Configuration

By turning Scheduled on, you can specify a time range during which Do Not Disturb will turn itself on, regardless of the toggle switch on the main Settings page. As you can see above, I have mine set to automatically activate between 11:00pm and 6:00am. Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to specify days. For example, you can’t have one setting for weekdays and another for weekends. Nor can you specify specific days. This setting is all or nothing.

Allow Calls From has a couple of options:

  1. Everyone
  2. No One
  3. Favorites
  4. Groups from Contacts

Everyone seems like a waste to me. It’s like saying “I don’t want to be disturbed, but I’ll accept phone calls from whoever.” This setting will only block alerts.

No One blocks all incoming calls.

Favorites will allow incoming calls from numbers you’ve added to your Favorites page in the Phone app. This is the setting I use because, regardless of how busy I am, if my family or close friends have an emergency, I want to know about it.

Groups allows you to receive incoming calls from a specific group defined in the Contacts app.

The final setting, Repeated Calls allows calls from the same number within 3 minutes to get through. So, if someone calls from the emergency room pay phone and doesn’t get through, then calls again within 3 minutes, the second call will ring through. Unfortunately, this applies equally to persistent sales people.

When Do Not Disturb is turned on or it’s turned itself on due to the schedule settings you’ve defined, you’ll see a crescent moon to the left of the time display on your home screen.

Do Not Disturb Moon

The Eternal White List

Here’s a way to make sure you only receive phone calls from people you want to hear from. Create a group in the Contacts app, for example, White List. Put everyone you don’t mind receiving phone calls from in this group.

Go to Settings -> Notifications -> Do Not Disturb and set Allow Calls From to this group. Optional: Toggle Repeated Calls off.Now go to Settings and turn Do Not Disturb on. Left in this configuration, only people you’ve added to the White List group will be able to ring through. Everyone else will be handed off to voice mail. You can add and remove people from the White List group as necessary. You’re welcome.

And We’re Done

Overall, Do Not Disturb is a welcome addition to iOS. If my phone rings after 11:00pm, it’s either someone I know or most likely an emergency. Otherwise, my phone doesn’t ring and I love that. I’d like to have more control over the schedule, but I expect this may be added in a future update.

What I’d like very much is a black list feature, something I could drop numbers into that I never want to hear from again. At that point, I’d feel as though I truly had control over my phone.