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Do Not Disturb While Driving keeps iOS from distracting drivers

It's not exactly CarPlay mirrored on the phone, but it's better than nothing.

This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.

When I talk to Apple's CarPlay team, they're always keen to point out how much voice control reduces distraction. iOS users will be able to take that one step further in iOS 11, thanks to Do Not Disturb While Driving.

Unveiled at WWDC 2017, Do Not Disturb While Driving is pretty self-explanatory, which it should be considering the length of its name. It expands iOS' Do Not Disturb function to phones in cars. It can detect if a phone is being used in a car, whether it's based on a Bluetooth connection or by detecting the Doppler effect over Wi-Fi. Once engaged, DNDWD (I can't keep typing that out) will silence all notifications and alerts heading to the phone, in the name of reducing distracted driving.

Couldn't have come up with a better name, eh, Apple?

Apple livestream screencap via Andrew Krok/Roadshow

If you pick up your phone, you'll be met with a black screen. Try to move any further into iOS, and you'll receive a notification reminding you that DNDWD is still activated. If your phone activates DNDWD while you aren't driving (say, if you're a passenger), you can tell it so and it'll let you use the phone as usual. (Drivers can probably also do this, but it's a jerk move and not recommended for your safety or the safety of those around you.)

DNDWD is capable of sending automatic responses to someone who texts or calls you while you're driving. However, if you really, really need someone's notification to come through, you can set exceptions that will break through. 

It should be noted that DNDWD does not require Apple CarPlay, or even a car with a Bluetooth phone connection, so folks with older cars will still be able to use it, albeit without being able to access a number of features while driving. Then again, with thousands dying every year from distracted driving-related incidents, is that really a bad thing?

This was Apple's major car-related announcement at WWDC 2017, which is a bit of a shame. Many users hoped that Apple would come out with a way to transfer the CarPlay experience back to the phone, so that drivers don't have to have a supported infotainment system in order to use an iOS device in the car with minimal distraction, but it doesn't appear Apple is going to create something like that -- or, at the least, it won't be unveiled at this event.

Try to use your phone, and DNDWD will remind you that all your stuff's been silenced.

Apple livestream screencap via Andrew Krok/Roadshow

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