Our phones have come a long way since phone numbers started with two letters.
These days, there’s more computing power in your iPhone (orders of magnitude more) than what Neil Armstrong and friends took to the moon.
They can do so many more things these days other than making phone calls, but with all those bells and whistles we’ve added over the years, our phones can be major sources of distraction.
The advent of the Do Not Disturb mode aims to cut back on those distractions, at least a little bit.
But if you’re wondering how to turn off do not disturb while driving, this post is for you.
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How to Turn Off Do Not Disturb While Driving
Turn off Do Not Disturb While Driving with a few screen touches:
- Open the Settings app.
- Choose “Focus.”
- Click “Driving” (if you don’t see that on this screen, you haven’t set up DNDWD).
- Below “Options,” you’ll see “While Driving.” Tap on this.
- Select “Manually.”
- Exit and you’re all set.
How to Turn Off iPhone Driving Mode While Driving
If you’re driving and want to turn off Driving Mode, you’ll need to lie to your phone, but the upside is that it takes less button-pushing than the above method.
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the phone’s control panel, known as the iPhone Control Center.
- If you’re already driving, you’ll see a button that says “Driving.” Otherwise, it says “Focus.” Select “Driving” and tap “I’m Not Driving,” which will deactivate DNDWD.
- Laugh maniacally at your smartphone, which you’ve now outsmarted. Unless you’re in the passenger seat, in which case you aren’t lying at all.
What is Your Phone’s Do Not Disturb Mode?
When you select the DND mode, your phone won’t ring, vibrate, buzz, or otherwise disturb you, giving you either respite from its bombardments or a better shot at getting things done without constant distractions.
It can help you sleep better, too.
It’s come to be known in some circles as “mooning,” not because anyone is baring buttocks, but because the mode is active, the Do Not Disturb icon, a gray moon, shows up to the left of the conversation Messages.
What Does it Do?
On the surface, DND mode keeps your phone quiet.
When your phone is set to Do Not Disturb, incoming calls won’t make the phone ring but rather send the calls directly to voicemail.
Text messages, too, will come through, but you won’t hear the notification nor feel the vibration.
Later versions of iOS allow Apple iPhone users to set DND mode to temporarily deactivate if they’re actively using the phone.
You’ll get the appropriate notification if your phone is unlocked and the screen is lit when a phone call or text comes in.
Once you turn your phone back off, DND mode kicks back in, and you’ll be back to having no text or call notifications as long as DND remains active.
This works on the iPad, iPad Pro, iPhone X, iPhone SE, and all the other iPhone products.
You also have the ability to designate certain entries in your Contacts to which DND doesn’t apply.
If your spouse calls or texts, you’ll get the notification as if your DND mode weren’t active.
This feature isn’t exclusive to iPhones, either.
Android phones allow the same designations for selected Contacts.
Google’s Pixel phone has a similar feature, allowing for scheduling activation of the mode, designating exceptions to Do Not Disturb, and allowing a breather from all those notifications.
The setting for this can be handled through your Google Assistant settings.
Do Not Disturb can be manually activated, say when you’re walking into the movie theater or the ballet, or you can set it on a schedule.
iPhone Driving Mode
iPhone’s Driving Mode (also known as Do Not Disturb While Driving, or DNDWD) allows for fewer distractions while you’re driving.
It stops incoming messages from lighting up your iPhone screen while you’re on the road.
Think of it as focus mode for driving.
Multiple studies show that writing a text while driving is dangerous and reading them causes the same amount of distraction and reduces reaction time to the same degree.
What Does it Do?
Studies have shown that texting while driving reduces drivers’ reaction times by 35 percent.
For context, alcohol impairment cuts reaction time by 21 percent, and marijuana cuts it by 12 percent.
The takeaway here is that distracted driving poses a more significant threat to others on the road and is more dangerous than drunk driving.
The iPhone’s Driving Mode works to limit those distractions.
When activated, Driving Mode silences your phone so that neither texts nor calls will take your attention from the road.
Emergency notifications won’t be blocked, and Siri isn’t completely shut out of your life.
However, she (or he, depending on the voice you chose) will only be able to speak to you and won’t try to show you things on your phone.
Driving Mode can detect whether the phone is connected to your car’s Apple CarPlay.
In that case, it will direct phone calls through that, and you can answer the call through the CarPlay panel (the Android phone equivalent is called Android Auto).
The audio comes through your car’s speakers, and a microphone catches your voice, so you don’t physically have to deal with your phone at all.
You also have the option of having Siri— via Apple CarPlay— read you any incoming texts (she’ll offer to do it, so you don’t even need to wake her up with the ubiquitous “Hey Siri”) you can speak-to-text your replies.
DNDWD will send an automatic reply to the sender when you get a text.
You can personalize the message to tell texters you are stuck in Houston traffic or stay with the default auto reply message.
Driving mode works without Apple CarPlay since the phone will also allow an incoming call if it detects a Bluetooth or other hands-free accessory attached.
Does it Come On Automatically?
You can set the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature to come on automatically.
To customize your DND settings, on your iPhone, open Settings, then choose “Do Not Disturb,” then “Activate.”
One of your options is “Automatically.”
Your phone knows when it’s in a moving car either through being attached to a vehicle’s Bluetooth, but even without a Bluetooth connection, accelerometers in the iPhone tell the phone it’s on the road.
Alternatively, you can have DNDWD activate when you connect the phone to Bluetooth or tell it to activate only when you manually switch it on.
If you’re unsure whether it’s on, look at the upper right corner of your home screen.
Driving Focus is on if you see a car icon up there along with the battery percentage and any other icon up there.
You can also see this car icon on the lock screen.
Frequently Asked Questions
You still have questions because there’s a lot to unpack here.
Does Do Not Disturb Work With Bluetooth?
Do Not Disturb and Bluetooth are compatible.
As we’ve seen above, one option allows you to tell your phone to activate the mode when it detects a Bluetooth connection.
Does Do Not Disturb Work With Maps?
Do Not Disturb and Maps are unrelated.
Since Maps doesn’t send push notifications or ask for input past the destination address you entered, Do No Disturb doesn’t have anything to block.
Yes, Maps tells you when and where to turn, but it does so either audibly or, if you’ve got CarPlay, it will display your turn-by-turn directions on the screen in your car.
What Happens With Messages When On Do Not Disturb?
Nothing happens to your messages when your phone is on Do Not Disturb.
They still arrive on your phone, and you can read them at your convenience.
They just don’t push through and beep or sing or whatever your text message alert sound is.
They’ll still appear in the phone’s Notification Center.
The only thing that might “happen” to those messages is that you might overlook them, especially if you got a lot of messages throughout your DND time.
But they don’t get sent to some mysterious netherworld of texts sent while you didn’t want to be bothered.
You’ll still have full access to them, but DND mode is designed for you to be able to deal with them at another time and not in the middle of the workday (or the freeway).
Do Not Disturb While Driving can make the roads safer for you and other drivers.
It’s easy to set up, and since you can customize control of the feature, you have options— it’s not a draconian switch-off-your-phone-completely mode.
You’ll still be able to access Maps, and you’ll have the option of hands-free phone calls and texts if you have CarPlay or a Bluetooth connection.
At the same time, it’s easily disengaged if you need to do that.
It’s worth taking a few minutes to set up DNDWD so it works the best way it can for you.