3 handy ways to use Android's Do Not Disturb rules

Silence your handset during meetings and quiet hours.

3 rules you need to set for Android's Do Not Disturb mode
Ben Patterson

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iOS may have beaten Android to the punch with the introduction of its “Do Not Disturb” feature nearly four years ago, but there’s no doubt Android has taken the Do Not Disturb ball and run with it, adding a series of nifty options—including “rules”—that the iPhone and iPad have yet to match.

Rather than limiting you to one set of quiet hours, Android’s Do Not Disturb mode lets you create a series of specific conditions and scenarios that will automatically turn off alerts, alarms, and ringers. You can set as many Do Not Disturb rules as you want for events on your various calendars or specific blocks of time, and you can decide who can get through during quiet time—and who can’t. Here’s how.

1. Silence alarms during specific times

Keeping your notifications quiet at night is a good start when it comes to Android’s Do Not Disturb mode, but perhaps there are other times of day when you’d like to muzzle your Android device’s beeps, rings, and buzzes.

Silence alarms during specific times Ben Patterson

Thanks to Android’s “Automatic rules” for Do Not Disturb mode, you can set a series of different quiet times rather than just one.

If you want to keep your handset quiet during lunch, at dinner, or all day on weekends, you can create a “rule” (or a series of rules) that’ll do just that.

To get started, tap Settings > Sound & notification > Do not disturb > Automatic rules > Add rule. Type in a name for your new rule (like “Lunch”), make sure Time rule is selected, then tap OK.

On the next screen, set the conditions for your new Do Not Disturb rule. Tap Days to specify which days of the week you’d like the rule to take effect, then set the hours by tapping Start Time and End Time.

Last but not least, tap Do Not Disturb to set whether you’d like these particular quiet hours to be completely silent or alarms only. A third choice, Priority only, lets you determine which notifications and callers can get through; we’ll cover Priority mode settings in a bit.

Now, want to program another set of quiet hours? Just go back to the Automatic rules screen and tap Add rule again.

2. Keep your device quiet during meetings

So you’ve got your alarms and notifications silenced at night and during lunch, but what about all your meetings? Call me old-school, but I still hate getting interrupted by beeps and buzzes during one-on-ones, status calls, and the like.

Keep your device quiet during meetings Ben Patterson

You can set Do Not Disturb mode to keep your Android device quiet during some or all of your meetings.

To keep your Android device quiet during some or all of your meetings, just create another Automatic rule (Settings > Sound & notification > Do not disturb > Automatic rules > Add rule). Once you’ve named your new rule, select the Event rule option, then move on to the settings screen.

You can make your Events rule apply to just one of your Google calendars or to all of them; just tap During events for and pick an account, or select Any calendar.

Next, you can decide which calendar events your new rule will apply to: events you’ve said “Yes” to, events you’ve replied to with a “Yes” or “Maybe,” or all upcoming events. Tap Where reply is and select Yes, Maybe, or Not replied, or Yes or Maybe, or just Yes.

As with Time rules, you can choose how exclusive you want Do Not Disturb mode to be during your meetings. The same options apply: Priority only, Alarms only, or Total silence.

Bonus tip: You can deactivate a Do Not Disturb rule without deleting it by toggling off the switch in the top-right corner of the screen.

3. Set rules for Priority access

In addition to total silence and alarms only, Do Not Disturb boasts a third option for screening calls and notifications: Priority access, which lets you pick and choose which alerts and callers can get through during your quiet hours.

Set rules for Priority access Ben Patterson

Toggle on the “Treat as priority” setting to allow the alerts for a specific Android app to get through while Priority mode is enabled.

To start tweaking your Priority settings tap Settings > Sound & notification > Do not disturb > Priority only allows. For starters, you can decide whether reminders and event alerts can sound off in Priority mode. (The Alarms setting is grayed out and enabled.)

Tap Calls to pick which callers can bug you during Priority time; the choices include anyone and everyone, just your contacts, only “starred” contacts, or nobody. You can also tap Messages to apply a similar setting for those trying to text you.

Another option is the Repeat Callers setting, which will let through a determined caller who tries to call you twice within 15 minutes.

Finally, you can decide which apps get Priority status for their alerts. Go back to the Sound & Notification screen, tap App Notifications, make sure the All Apps filter is selected, then tap an app and (if you wish) switch on the Treat as Priority setting. You can check which of your apps are getting the Priority treatment by returning to the App Notifications screen and selecting the Priority filter.

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