iOS 12’s best new feature may be Do Not Disturb at Bedtime. That sounds boring, but ask anyone who has been using it and they’ll tell you that it rocks. Apart from being active overnight, the main difference between regular Do Not Disturb and the new “at Bedtime” flavor is that all notifications are hidden from the lock screen until you deliberately swipe up on the screen to reveal them.
Regular Do Not Disturb suppresses audio and vibrating alerts, but the notifications still appear on the lock screen. You’ll see them any time you pick up your iPhone or unlock your iPad. This can make the difference between enjoying your hooky afternoon at the beach in peace or worrying the whole time because you accidentally saw that Slack message from your boss.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could take the regular Do Not Disturb and make it hide your alerts all day long? The good news is that you totally can.
All day Bedtime
We’re going to start with something pretty radical. We will schedule Do Not Disturb at Bedtime to run all day long. Then, when we want to receive alerts, we can quickly disable it right from the lock screen.
This trick exploits a neat glitch/feature in iOS 12’s Do Not Disturb settings. You know how you can switch Do Not Disturb on and off from the Control Center? You just swipe up to get to the Control Center, then tap the little crescent moon icon to toggle DND.
Now, if Do Not Disturb at Bedtime is currently enabled, the little moon button will disable it, as you’d expect. However, when you use the moon button to re-enable Do Not Disturb, it will switch back to Do Not Disturb at Bedtime instead of the regular version. This is because Bedtime mode is still scheduled.
So, if you have Do Not Disturb at Bedtime scheduled for the entire day, you can then switch notifications back on whenever you want to receive them. Instead of carving out some quiet times from your own schedule, you do the opposite. You enjoy a permanent respite from the daily deluge of alerts, only letting them actively ping you at manually chosen times.
You’re not cut off, just ‘differently available’
This doesn’t leave you cut off from the world. Whenever you pick up your iPhone or iPad, you can just swipe up to see your notifications. They will all be ready and waiting for you.
The how-to part of this is simple. Just open the Settings app, tap on Do Not Disturb, and set your schedule with the standard time picker wheels. Just make sure to toggle the Bedtime switch to make all this work. In the image above, I have scheduled Do Not Disturb at Bedtime from 9 a.m. all the way through until 8 a.m. the next day. You could go nuts and make it 24 hours long. Or you could set it so you can enjoy your usual glut of disturbances through the morning, say, then have Bedtime kick in around noon.
Emergency Bypass and Do Not Disturb at Bedtime
We can further finesse this setup by allowing certain people’s communications to punch through this virtual wall. To do this, we use a a great iOS feature called Emergency Bypass. This lets you mark a contact so that their calls and/or texts messages can bypass Do Not Disturb. This may be your husband, your kids, or just important friends.
We have an entire how-to post on enabling Emergency Bypass, but setting it is easy. Just find the contact you want to let bypass your blocks. In the settings for either their custom ringtone or custom text tone, toggle the Emergency Bypass On button. You can enable texts and calls independently.
Thus set up, any incoming calls and/or texts from that contact will trigger an alert, even while Do Not Disturb is on.
24/7 Do Not Disturb at Bedtime feels fantastic
I’ve been running an all-day Do Not Disturb at Bedtime on my iPad for a week or two, and it’s fantastic. Incoming alerts are completely suppressed until I choose to check them, whereupon everyone is there for me to see.
I have my iPhone set up a little differently, with alerts allowed for a chunk of the day, but certainly not for all of it. You can fine-tune this setup to suit your own needs. Which is kind of the point. Right now, notifications are set up to suit the apps and people that want to annoy you and grab your attention whenever it’s convenient for them. That is — when you think about it — utterly backward.
Editor’s note: This post was previously published on Aug 7, 2018, during iOS 12 beta testing. It has been updated for the public iOS 12 release.