How to Use Do Not Disturb While Driving in iOS 11

In iOS 11, Apple has introduced a Do Not Disturb While Driving Feature that's designed to mute incoming calls, texts, and notifications while you're driving to cut down on accident-causing distractions.

Do Not Disturb While Driving is not a feature that's enabled automatically, but you will see a popup prompting you to turn it on when Apple detects the motion of a car after installing iOS 11 for the first time. Despite the notification, you'll still need to choose how you want to use the feature if you miss the initial setup process.


Do Not Disturb can be set to turn on manually, automatically when the iPhone detects a car's acceleration, or when an iPhone connects to a car's Bluetooth.

Enabling Do Not Disturb While Driving



  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Do Not Disturb.

  3. Scroll down to "Do Not Disturb While Driving."

  4. Tap on "Activate" to choose how you want Do Not Disturb While Driving to be turned on. If you don't want to use Do Not Disturb While Driving, set it to manual.
Whenever Do Not Disturb While Driving is activated, you'll see a bar at the top of the screen letting you know incoming notifications are being muted.

Do Not Disturb While Driving Control Center Toggle


If you don't want to have Do Not Disturb While Driving turn on automatically but still want to use it, there's a Control Center setting for activating it.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Choose Control Center.

  3. Select Customize Controls.

  4. Add Do Not Disturb While Driving, which has an image of a car.

This adds the Do Not Disturb While Driving toggle to your Control Center. To turn it on or off, you just need to swipe to open the Control Center and tap it.

If You're a Passenger


When the automatic setting is enabled, Do Not Disturb While Driving will turn on whenever your iPhone detects the acceleration of a vehicle. This can be inconvenient if you're a passenger, so you'll need to turn it off through the Control Center or by tapping the persistent Do Not Disturb While Driving popup at the top of the display to let Apple know you're a passenger.


Choosing Your Auto Reply Options


When you're driving, all of your incoming text messages are muted. You can choose an automatic text message that lets people know you're in the car and will text later, and you can customize who sees the message.


  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Choose Do Not Disturb.

  3. Scroll down to "Auto-Reply To" and tap it.

  4. You can choose for automatic texts to be sent to Recents, Favorites, All Contacts, or No one, if you would rather not have your phone send automatic replies.

Customizing Your Auto Reply



  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Choose Do Not Disturb.

  3. Scroll down to "Auto-Reply" and tap it.

Apple sets a default message in this section, but you can change it to say whatever you want. This is the message people will receive when texting you when Do Not Disturb While Driving is enabled.

If there's an urgent issue and someone needs to get in contact with you immediately, they can break through Do Not Disturb While Driving by texting you "urgent." This will override your Do Not Disturb settings and will notify you of the text immediately.


An ideal setup is to set auto replies to your favorites, which likely translates to close friends and family. This will let them text you in an emergency situation, but will prevent other less urgent messages from being a distraction.

Phone Calls


If your iPhone is connected to your car's Bluetooth system, iOS 11 is smart enough to know you have a hands-free calling method available. In this situation, calls will continue to come through even when Do Not Disturb While Driving is enabled. Texts and notifications from apps will continue to be muted, though.

If you're not connected to Bluetooth and have no hands-free accessory, calls will be blocked like text messages and notifications.

Parental Restrictions


For parents of teenagers, there's an option to enable a restriction that will prevent Do Not Disturb While Driving settings from being changed or toggled off, guaranteeing children are using the feature whenever they're in the car. Here's how to turn it on:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Choose General.

  3. Scroll down to Restrictions and tap it.

  4. Enter the Restriction passcode on the device, if you've set one.

  5. Scroll down to the "Allow Changes" section and choose Do Not Disturb While Driving.

  6. Select "Don't Allow Changes."


Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: Do Not Disturb While Driving

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Apple Insists It’s Not Responsible For Distracted Driving Accidents Involving iPhones

Apple appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday to argue that it shouldn't be held liable for iPhone-related distracted driving accidents, in response to a lawsuit filed against the company earlier this year.


California resident Julio Ceja filed a class action complaint against Apple in January, accusing the company of placing profit before consumer safety by choosing not to implement a lock-out mechanism that would disable an iPhone's functionality when being used behind the wheel by an engaged driver.

Ceja said his vehicle was involved in a collision with another vehicle in which the driver was texting on an iPhone.

Apple, however, told the court that it's a driver's fault if they choose to misuse an inherently safe iPhone while operating a vehicle. Apple essentially said it cannot be blamed simply because it manufactures the device, according to court documents filed electronically and obtained by MacRumors.

Just yesterday, a U.S. district court in Texas dismissed a similar distracted driving lawsuit brought against Apple last year. In that case, Meador v Apple, Inc., the plaintiffs accused Apple of failing to automatically disable a user's ability to operate an iPhone while driving, and of improper marketing.

However, judge Robert W. Schroeder III said the plaintiff's injuries stemmed from neglecting to safely operate her vehicle.
When a driver negligently operates her vehicle because she is engaging in compulsive or addictive behaviors such as eating food, drinking alcohol, or smoking tobacco, it is the driver's negligence in engaging in those activities that causes any resulting injuries, not the cook's, distiller's, or tobacconist's supposed negligence in making their products so enticing.

Similarly, her decision to direct her attention to her iPhone 5 and maintain her attention on her phone instead of the roadway is the producing cause of the injury to Plaintiffs.
Apple has faced similar lawsuits in the past. In response to one filed in Texas in 2015, Apple indicated the responsibility is on the driver to avoid distractions in a statement provided to The New York Times:
"We discourage anyone from allowing their iPhone to distract them by typing, reading or interacting with the display while driving," Apple said… "For those customers who do not wish to turn off their iPhones or switch into Airplane Mode while driving to avoid distractions, we recommend the easy-to-use Do Not Disturb and Silent Mode features."
Ceja's lawsuit mentioned a patent for a motion analyzer that would detect whether a handheld device is in motion beyond a certain speed. A scenery analyzer would then determine whether the holder of the handheld device is sitting somewhere other than the driver's seat. Otherwise, the device could be disabled.

In other embodiments, a vehicle or car key could transmit a signal that disables functionality of the handheld device while it is being operated. To a lesser degree, a vehicle could also transmit a signal that merely sends the device a notification stating that functionality should be disabled.

Apple hasn't gone as far as implementing any of those functions, but in iOS 11 it introduced Do Not Disturb While Driving.


Do Not Disturb While Driving is an optional setting that, when enabled, turns on whenever an iPhone connects to a vehicle via Bluetooth or detects rapid acceleration. While active, the feature mutes all incoming phone calls, notifications, and text messages, and the iPhone's screen stays off completely.

Phone calls are allowed, so long as an iPhone is connected to a car's Bluetooth or a hands-free accessory, allowing drivers to respond without needing to pick up their phone. If not connected to Bluetooth or a compatible accessory, calls will be blocked like text messages and notifications.

For text messages, 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.

Do Not Disturb While Driving can also be activated manually in Settings > Do Not Disturb or in Control Center.


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