Do-not-disturb on iPhone is pretty awful (and how Apple can fix it)

“I’ve read a bunch of articles that say DND [iOS’ Do Not Disturb] blocks texts, but in my testing, I was quite surprised that DND didn’t block any texts,” David Gewirtz writes forZDNet. “I also asked a few other iPhone users to try it out, and they, too were unable to get DND to block iMessage texts.”

“I found that some SMS texts did get through, but others didn’t. All the iMessage texts sent got through even when DND was enabled,” Gewirtz writes. “You can selectively block some iMessage contacts and threads (especially useful in huge group texts), but that can only happen once a first text or contact has been received. It won’t help for random spam texts.”

“What I found was that do-not-disturb, in its various incarnations, is very limited. Worse, it’s unreliable,” Gewirtz writes. “Another major problem is in the way iOS do-not-disturb is designed. It’s oriented around voice calls. While (when it works) iOS do-not-disturb will block voice calls, it does not — in any of its various configurations — block text messages. You can have do-not-disturb on. You can have Bedtime Mode on. You can even have the mute button on, and if a text is sent (whether from a favorite contact or not), the phone will play the text notification sound.”

“For an OS like iOS to assume that phone calls are the primary thing we either want to block or let through is a 1990s mentality,” Gewirtz writes. “What Apple needs to do is completely rethink notifications and do-not-disturb.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s the issue, as Gerwirtz explains, “You would think that if you had a contact you could declare that person a favorite in the Contacts app. As it turns out, you have to declare your contact a favorite in the Phone app.”

That highlights Apple’s phone-centric obsession. The fact is, and this has been the case for many, many years now, that one of the last things we do with our iPhones is to place/take voice calls via Apple’s Phone app. In short, we don’t use our iPhones much as telephones.

Apple needs to decide that disturbances can come from anywhere – texts, mail, phone calls, etc. and, logically, make their Contacts app the epicenter for controlling who, if anyone, will be allowed through to the user’s when DND is enabled.


  1. Yes. Apps. I can’t get the cool auto wake alarm on my Apple Watch to wake me up when do not disturb is on. If I turn do not disturb off then every notification is an annoying alarm

  2. Odd. DND has worked for me since iOS 8 and I started to use it for my morning alarm. No a single notification is heard and the Alarm sounds, Apple’s or my custom ones work fine.

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