Do Not Disturb While Driving

Distracted driving is dangerous.  Lives are lost and thousands of people have been hurt due to the affects of distracted driving as people are talking on their phones or worse, texting while driving.

Starting with IOS 11, Apple has provided the Do Not Disturb While Driving function which will help you drive safely by limiting the notifications and alerts you get from messages and text.  It will also suppress phone calls unless you are connected to a bluetooth hands-free device.

What is Do Not Disturb While Driving

Here’s what to expect when Do Not Disturb While Driving is turned on. 

Your iPhone stays silent and the screen stays dark. Notifications are mostly suppressed.  If someone sends you a message, they receive an automatic reply letting them know that you’re driving.  Phone calls are sent to voice mail.  Here are the notifications and calls that will be presented:


Emergency alerts, timers, and alarms will be displayed.  General notifications from apps like news and emails will be supressed.

Text Messages 

A sender of a text message will receive the following reply:


The sender of the message is instructed to reply with the word “urgent” to send a message with a  notification.  The “urgent” message and the original message will be sent with a notification.

Then you know the message is important and you should pull off the road  to read the message or optionally ask Siri to read it to you.








Phone Calls

If your iPhone connects to your car via Bluetooth, calls will come through as usual, and you can use the buttons, microphones, and speakers in your car to take your call.

If you are not using Bluetooth, phone calls are delivered using the same conditions as standard Do Not Disturb.  This there are two setting found in Setting, Do Not Disturb.  These setting are fully described in the Senior Tech Recipe #105 Sleeping and Driving with your iPhone – Exploring Do Not Disturb.

  1. You can allow calls only from your Favorites or another contact group.
  2. You can allow calls to come through if the same person calls twice in a row within three minutes. 

Maps Navigation

Your iPhone will still display navigation help and gives turn-by-turn instructions when Do Not Disturb While Driving is enabled.



The primary setup step is telling your iPhone how you want it to turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving.  There are three options:

  • Manually using the Control Center icon for Do Not Disturb
  • When connected to a car Bluetooth device or a hands-free accessory.
  • Automatically where Location Services in your device detect that you might be driving.

Make the selections with the following step-by-step.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Do Not Disturb
  3. Scroll down and tap on Do Not Disturb While Driving.
  4. Make your startup selection.

When Do Not Disturb While Driving you will see the crescent moon indicator on the status bar.


Do Not Disturb While Driving Indicators

You will see the following indicator on your lock screen when Do Not Disturb While Driving is enabled.



Passenger but Not Driver

If you are are a passenger and Do Not Disturb While Driving is enabled, you will need to turn off Do Not Disturb.  If you want to resume normal phone functions and you are a passenger in the car, 1)  tap on the lock screen and 2) tap on I’m Not Driving or 3) tap the X to cancel. 

This two step action will turn off Do Not Disturb While Driving.



Please avoid distracted driving and use this function to help you drive more safely.   Remember, distracted driving is dangerous.


Setup is identified in the Step-by-Step instructions above.


Requires IOS: 11+

Works on iPhone and iPad


Additional Information

The Senior Tech Club recommends the following additional resources for members that wish to pursue additional and/or advanced information on this recipe:

iPhone User Guide – Do Not Disturb While Driving

Apple Support Document – How to use the Do Not Disturb While Driving Function –  Includes instructions on how to set restrictions on the function for children in order to keep them safer.