How to use Do Not Disturb, the best way to set limits on your iPhone’s notifications

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

One common New Year’s resolution in the age of smartphones is to disconnect more and live in the present.

If you’re trying to set better limits on how you use technology in 2017, and you’re an iPhone user, you should use a feature called Do Not Disturb.

Although it won’t shock you if you mindlessly scroll on Instagram for hours, it will help you control the notifications that sometimes lead to mindless email, social networks, and texting.

Although Do Not Disturb is built into every single iPhone, and has been for years, it can be a little bit confusing to get started. But when you do, you’ll find it’s perhaps the most powerful tool Apple provides for controlling when you receive those distracting, attention-grabbing notifications (except for perhaps turning your phone off entirely).

When I first used Do Not Disturb earlier this year, I wondered why I hadn’t started using it sooner. Here’s what you need to know:


Do Not Disturb is an alternative way to mute your device. But unlike the hardware side switch on the left-hand side, it also stops the phone from lighting up with notifications entirely.

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Business Insider

There are two primary ways to turn Do Not Disturb on. First, on a daily schedule — say, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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Apple

You can also activate Do Not Disturb manually by pressing the “crescent moon” button on the Control Center. This is how I usually turn it on.

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BI/Screenshot

If Do Not Disturb is turned on, there will be a crescent icon in the top icon bar of your iPhone.

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BI/Screenshot

You can fine-tune Do Not Disturb in Settings > Do Not Disturb. Let’s go through a few key settings.

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BI/Screenshot

If you want to make sure your loved ones can still call and text you when Do Not Disturb is on, you can allow calls from everyone, nobody, your contacts, or favorites, which is the speed dial menu in your phone app.

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BI/Screenshot

You cannot whitelist texts, unfortunately. You will still receive texts but you will not get notifications if Do Not Disturb is turned on.


You can also set it so that anyone repeatedly trying to call you can get through.

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Apple

This is the most important setting for me. I prefer silence even with the iPhone is being used, so that I’m not getting email notifications if I’m, say, playing a game after work hours. Pick “Always” to turn sounds and notifications off even if you’re using the phone.

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BI/Screenshot