iOS 12 Hands-on: Enhanced Do Not Disturb

iOS 12 Hands-on: Enhanced Do Not Disturb

Now that it’s been a couple of days since the official unveiling of iOS 12, a lot of eager folks around the world have been installing the beta version on their iPhones (some even on their primary device, including yours truly). Well, it’s hard to contain the excitement considering the many awesome feature additions to iOS 12 for the iPhone — like an advanced Do Not Disturb mode.

Now, in our collective experience, the first beta does appear to be largely bug-free. But if you want your iPhone to work reliably, you probably shouldn’t install it on your primary device. For instance, at the moment Skype refuses to execute after iOS 12 Beta 1, and Telegram’s UI appears a bit broken.

Today we’re deep-diving into the enhanced Do Not Disturb (DND) mode that was demoed on stage at WWDC 2018.

A Brief History of DND

do not disturb

DND was first introduced in 2012 with iOS 6. Its functionality was more dynamic than the mute switch that’s been on the side of every iPhone since the first. For instance, it can silence your phone at preset times, allow calls only from your favorite contacts to come through, or ring the phone if someone repeatedly calls you. Also, DND is a bit different from flipping that mute switch, as it silences your phone entirely (meaning no vibration too).

iOS 7 brought a small improvement to the feature, offering an option to silence the phone only when it’s locked. Last year with iOS 11, we got Do Not Disturb While Driving. This was an important addition, considering the increase in car accidents due to smartphone use while driving.

DND While Driving can activate automatically upon detecting vehicular motion or when the phone pairs to the car Bluetooth audio system. The phone simply shows a blank screen when in this mode, and auto-replies callers with a predefined text message.

What’s New With Do Not Disturb in iOS 12?

In iOS 12, there are a couple of things new with Do Not Disturb. First, you can set a dynamic turn-off command for DND. Previously, you could only schedule a time when the feature would turn on and off. Now, 3D Touching (or press-and-holding on non-3D-Touch phones) the DND icon in Control Center offers multiple options. You can choose to turn off either after 1 hour, until the end of the day (or the beginning of the next day, depending on what time you’re using it), or till you leave the current location. Not just that, if there’s an active calendar entry, you can also choose DND to turn off after the event ends.

These dynamic choices are fantastic! Other than scheduling Do Not Disturb to automatically switch on and off during your sleep hours, there may be other times when you want to use the feature. Personally, till now I’ve preferred flipping the mute switch in such situations instead, simply because there’s a good chance I’ll forget to toggle DND off later. Plus, now that the iPhone X doesn’t show the DND symbol on the top by default (thanks notch), it’s easy to forget the mode is active. Using the mute switch means the phone will at least vibrate and I’ll know eventually.

Apple Watch Do Not disturb
Works in sync with Apple Watch too


Location-based DND is an awesome addition — the moment you leave the geofence of your current location (like a movie theatre, or a conference), DND automatically turns off. The only unfortunate omission is that there’s no way to set DND off after an alarm goes off. This would have been super useful for folks like me who have an erratic sleep schedule, and so can’t rely on a fixed DND schedule.

Do Not Disturb During Bedtime

This is yet another feature aimed at preventing phone usage when you ought to be sleeping. It’s common for many people to pick up their phones to look at the time if they wake up in the middle of the night. The problem is that while looking at the time, you’ll also end up looking at pending notifications on the lockscreen. This can be a problem, as you might be tempted to use the phone upon seeing them, rather be going back to sleep.

ios 10 bedtime walk alarm 8

Thanks to a new DND-related feature called ‘Bedtime’, you can prevent notifications from showing up during such times. In the Clock app on iPhones and iPads, there has been a ‘Bedtime’ option available that reminds you to go to sleep during a prescribed time. Enabling it now will also prevent notifications from showing up on the lockscreen; instead all you’ll see is a dark themed display like the one below. Again, for people who have variable sleep schedules, it may not be practical to use this feature.

iOS 12 DND During Bedtime Featured


So, are you excited about these new Do Not Disturb features in iOS 12? Do you think it will lead to a better phone-life balance? Let us know in the comments.