Mastering the Art of “Do Not Disturb While Driving” on Your iPhone

Mastering the Art of “Do Not Disturb While Driving” on Your iPhone

Distracted driving is a serious problem. Luckily, Apple has taken a step to address this issue with the new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” feature in iOS 11. This feature works similarly to the regular “Do Not Disturb” setting, but with one crucial difference: your iPhone can detect when you’re driving and automatically enable it for you.

When you upgrade to iOS 11 or set up a new iPhone running iOS 11 or later, Apple gives you the option to enable Do Not Disturb While Driving. If you didn’t enable it at that time, here’s how to get started with the feature.

So, what exactly happens when you enable Do Not Disturb While Driving? Well, your iPhone will remain silent and dark when new text messages, notifications, or non-essential phone calls come in. You won’t hear any sounds, and your iPhone’s screen won’t light up. If you allow certain phone calls or urgent text messages, you’ll only see those. You’ll also receive notifications in special cases like emergency alerts, expired timers, and alarms set through the Clock app.

If your iPhone is connected to your car via Bluetooth, you’ll only receive phone calls through Bluetooth. If you’re using the Apple Maps app for GPS navigation, you’ll only see turn-by-turn directions on your lock screen.

The only exception to this is CarPlay. If you have a CarPlay-enabled vehicle and connect your iPhone to it, Do Not Disturb While Driving won’t automatically activate. You’ll still be able to use all the regular iOS features through the CarPlay interface.

But don’t worry, you can always turn off Do Not Disturb While Driving by tapping the “I’m Not Driving” button on your lock screen. This is useful if your iPhone doesn’t recognize the end of your drive, or if it activates while you’re the passenger.

Now, let’s talk about how to set up Do Not Disturb While Driving. First, go to Settings and select Do Not Disturb. From the Do Not Disturb settings, scroll down to find the Do Not Disturb While Driving section. If you didn’t enable the feature during iOS 11 setup, the Activate option will be set to “Manually.” In this mode, you have to manually activate the feature through the iOS Control Center. But in order to do that, you need to customize Control Center, which is another new iOS 11 feature.

To customize Control Center, go to Settings, then Control Center, and select Customize Controls. Find the Do Not Disturb While Driving entry (a purple icon with a white car outline) and tap the green plus button to add it to your “Includes” list. After doing this, you’ll find it in the list of your Control Center actions.

Back in Settings, go to the Do Not Disturb section and tap Activate to change how Do Not Disturb While Driving operates. You have three options: Manual, Automatically, and When Connected to Car Bluetooth.

If you choose “Automatically,” your iPhone will use your location data and motion sensor to determine if you’re driving. For example, if it detects that you’re quickly leaving a parking lot while following the road, Do Not Disturb While Driving should activate. But if it detects you quickly leaving a train station near train tracks, it should assume you’re a train passenger and not activate.

If you choose “When Connected to Car Bluetooth,” your iPhone will turn on the feature when it detects a Bluetooth connection with your car. Keep in mind that some older cars may not properly identify their Bluetooth connection, so your iPhone may not recognize it as “a car.” However, this option is great for carpoolers, as it will only activate when you’re driving your own car, leaving your iPhone free to use when you’re a passenger in someone else’s car.

Regardless of the option you choose, make sure to test it out before relying on it completely to stop all distractions. Once you’ve selected an activation option, you can customize the message your contacts will receive if they send you a text message while Do Not Disturb While Driving is enabled. To do this, go back to Settings, then Do Not Disturb, and select Auto-Reply. Apple provides a default message, but you can customize it as you like. If someone sends you a message while Do Not Disturb While Driving is enabled, they’ll receive this message plus a second one explaining that they can override the feature by replying with the word “urgent.” This is handy because sometimes you need to be alerted to an urgent message on the road.

Of course, you may not want this message to go out to everyone who texts you while driving. To configure who sees the message, go to Settings, then Do Not Disturb, and select Auto-Reply To. You have options like No One, Recents, Favorites, or All Contacts.

Finally, once you have the basic options set up, you can further refine your Do Not Disturb While Driving settings through the standard Do Not Disturb settings. For example, you can allow calls from your favorite contacts or repeated calls from the same number in a short period of time. Just keep in mind that phone calls will only be allowed when Do Not Disturb While Driving is activated if your iPhone is connected to a Bluetooth device.

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