Automate Do Not Disturb on iPhones for fewer distractions

Don't enable and disable Do Not Disturb manually, automate it

Phones can be a serious distraction when you are trying to work or focus on a task. Automate Do Not Disturb on iOS to limit notifications at a location, using an app or at certain times.

Do Not Disturb on the iPhone is a feature that reduces the distractions caused by notifications. Whether you are watching a movie at the cinema, in a meeting at work, reading a book, or streaming TV, you don’t want notifications popping up on the screen and dings and chimes sounding out loud. They ruin everything.

When the feature was first added to iPhones, it was quite simple and straightforward. You could manually turn it on an off and set it on at bedtime. It has since been improved and new features have been built into it that make it even more useful.

An increasing number of automation features have been added with each iOS update and there is now much less need to manually turn on Do Not Disturb. It can be set to activate manually.

For example, Do Not Disturb can be set to activate in certain locations. You could set DND to turn on when you arrive at the cinema or other places and turn off when you leave.

If your iPhone is a personal rather than a work device, you could set Do Not Disturb to activate when you arrive at work, so notifications from friends and family do not distract you. If your iPhone is used for work, set DND to activate when you arrive at home, so you are not bothered by work matters out of work.

Let’s take a look at automating Do Not Disturb on iPhones.

1 Focus with Do Not Disturb

iPhone Do Not Disturb settings: Screenshot
iPhone Focus settings and Do Not Disturb

Open the Settings app on the iPhone and then press Focus. There are many Focus modes available, like Driving, Sleep, Work and so on, but what we are interested in is Do Not Disturb. Press it.

It is also useful to turn on Share Across Devices, so that your iPad and Mac also have these modes.

2 Do Not Disturb options in iOS

Automate Do Not Disturb on the iPhone: Screenshot
Automate Do Not Disturb on an iPhone

The Do Not Disturb screen has status unformation, a manual on/off switch at the top, and several other useful features. We will focus on automation. Go down to the Turn On Automatically section and press Add Schedule or Automation.

There are three options on the New Automation screen, Time, Location and App. Do Not Disturb can automatically be turned on between certain times, at specific locations or when using an app. Multiple times, locations and apps can be added.

Let’s look at turning on Do Not Disturb while using an app. Press App.

3 Set quite times with apps

iPhone Do Not Disturb automation settings: Screenshot
Enable Do Not Disturb on iOS when using an app

A list of all the apps installed on the iPhone is displayed. Browse the apps and press the one you want to automatically enable Do Not Disturb. For example, you might want peace and quiet with no distractions when reading an eBook on your iPhone or iPad.

Press the Books app and it appears in the Turn On Automatically section of the Do Not Disturb screen. Repeat the process to add more apps. Press Add Schedule or Automation, press Apps, select another app and it is added to the list.

4 Automate Do Not Disturb at locations

Set Do Not Disturb for a location in iOS: Screenshot
Set Do Not Disturb for locations on the iPhone

Press Add Schedule or Automation and this time, press Location. Let’s add a location based quiet time with no distractions. Use the search box at the top of the screen to find the place you want. It could be work, home, cinema, wherever you want.

Press the location in the list and it is added to the Location list. Tap the location to enable or disable it, as shown by the tick on the right-hand side.

When a location is selected, a mini map appears in the bottom part of the screen showing where it is. A blue circle shows the DND activation area. Drag the slider at the bottom to make the area larger or smaller as you prefer. You could shrink it to one small building, not quite as small as an office, or enlarge it to cover an area the size of huge sports stadium.

Repeat this procedure and add more locations to the list. Tick them to enable them, clear the tick to disable them.

5 Delete Do Not Disturb automations

Disable or delete a Do Not Disturb location automation on iPhone: Screenshot
Disable or delete a Do Not Disturb automation on iOS

How do you remove an automation you no longer need? Tap an automation on the Do Not Disturb screen to show the information screen. Use the switch at the top to turn off the automation and it will no longer automatically activate. You can still activate DND manually.

Press Delete Automation if you want to completely remove the automation. If you ever need it again, you can always add it as we did before.

As we have seen, there are several ways in which to automate Do Not Disturb on the iPhone. Your settings are automatically synced to the iPad and Mac too. Forget manually turning DND on and off. Do it automatically.


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