iOS 11 introduces a new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that’s designed to block incoming calls, texts, and notifications while you’re driving, with the aim of cutting down on distractions to prevent accidents.
Do Not Disturb While Driving was enabled in the second developer beta of iOS 11, and is available now for developers and public beta testers. We went hands-on with the feature to give MacRumors readers an idea of how it works.
An extension of the existing Do Not Disturb feature that blocks incoming notifications during set times, such as while you’re asleep, Do Not Disturb While Driving can be set to come on automatically, when connected to a car’s Bluetooth, or manually.
With the automatic setting, Do Not Disturb While Driving will turn on whenever your iPhone detects the acceleration of a vehicle, an option that could be inconvenient when you’re a passenger (though you can toggle it off in this situation). The Bluetooth setting turns the feature on whenever your phone connects to your car’s Bluetooth, an ideal setting if you’re the only person who drives your vehicle, and manually, as the name suggests, lets you turn it on from the Control Center.
While active, Do Not Disturb While Driving will mute incoming phone calls, notifications, and text messages, and your iPhone’s screen will stay dark. For texts, there is an option to send your contacts a message that lets them know you’re driving and will get back to them later. In an emergency, a person who is attempting to contact you via text while you’re driving can break through Do Not Disturb by sending a second “urgent” message. The auto reply can be customized and turned on for all contacts, or specific groups like favorites or recents.
Phone calls are allowed so long as an iPhone is connected to a car’s Bluetooth or a hands-free accessory, allowing you to respond without needing to pick up your phone. If not connected to Bluetooth or a compatible accessory, calls will be blocked like text messages and notifications.
Do Not Disturb While Driving is a fully optional feature that drivers can choose not to use or can toggle off at any time, but it’s an important new safety feature that you should consider turning on to cut down on distractions.
For parents of teenagers, there’s also a specific restriction setting (General > Restrictions > Do Not Disturb While Driving) that prevents Do Not Disturb settings from being changed, so you can make sure children are driving safely.
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