How to use iOS 6's Do Not Disturb feature

Apple's new anti-social networking function on iOS 6, Do Not Disturb, allows you to silence incoming phone calls. Here's how.

John Thompson
John Thompson has been addicted to technology ever since he tinkered with his custom built PC when he was 10 years old. He has been the proud owner of seven Amazon Kindles, but only because he accidentally destroyed the first six. John is a freelance journalist and is not an employee of CNET.
John Thompson
2 min read

As well as making the voice-activated assistant Siri smarter and completely re-building the Maps app for Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, the company has announced a feature called Do Not Disturb. This allows you to silence incoming calls and messages while you're sleeping.

Although iOS 6 is not expected to arrive until the autumn, thanks to an anonymous tipster, we have some screenshots of the new feature in action. They show how the Do Not Disturb function will allow you to pick and choose which contacts can get through to you -- handy if you're expecting an important business call or a tête-à-tête with a loved one. Here's how it's done.

1. Enable Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb 1

There's now a new 'Do Not Disturb' entry in the Settings app, which activates the feature using a slider. Simply toggle it on when you're going to sleep and slide it off when you wake up in the morning.

2. Scheduling

Do Not Disturb 2

You can choose to set Do Not Disturb manually each time you go to sleep and wake up, but that would become laborious after a few days, especially if you retire to bed at a similar time each night. You can set a schedule by going to Notifications > Do Not Disturb, and choosing times that work for you.

3. White list contacts

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There are some people who you always want to receive a call from, whatever time it may be. Apple has anticipated this, so you can allow calls from certain people regardless of whether Do Not Disturb mode is switched on.

This is done using contact groups, although at present you can't select more than one group at a time. The easiest way to do it is to set a contact as a 'favourite' and then allow all favourite contacts to call you at any time. If you prefer, you can choose to use a different group, such as 'friends' or 'family'.

4. Repeated calls

Do Not Disturb 4

In the same Settings window, you have the option to allow repeated calls to get through to you. So if someone calls you twice within the space of 3 minutes, the second call won't be silenced. This is useful if somebody really needs to get hold of you urgently. If you're already allowing people you care about through (as in step 3 above), then you don't need to have this option enabled.