Scheduling Your Smartphone for a Little Peace and Quiet

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Q. I signed up for alerts from a bunch of news sites on my iPhone to keep up with the headlines, but now they’re waking me up at night with their sounds and turning on the phone screen. Is there a way to mute them before bed? I don’t want to turn off the phone because I use it as an alarm clock.

A. The iPhone’s iOS software includes a feature called Do Not Disturb, which you can use to disable app notifications, phone calls and other alerts whenever you prefer not to be interrupted. You can enable and disable the Do Not Disturb setting manually for whenever you want a period of silence, or you can schedule regular hours for Do Not Disturb to kick in automatically — like overnight when you are trying to sleep.

To set up Do Not Disturb, tap open the Settings icon on the iPhone’s home screen. Scroll down to Do Not Disturb, and select it. On the next screen, you can choose to allow calls from people on your iPhone’s Favorites list of contacts to get through even if Do Not Disturb is on. You can also allow repeated calls within three minutes from the same person, in case someone is trying to reach you in an emergency. Additionally, the settings screen provides the option to silence incoming calls and alerts whether the phone’s screen is locked or unlocked.

At the top of the settings screen, tap the Manual button to the On position to enable Do Not Disturb. You can also flip on the feature from the iOS Control Center: Swipe up from the bottom of the phone’s screen, and tap the crescent-moon icon in the top row of controls. The same moon icon appears at the top of the iPhone screen when Do Not Disturb is on.

If you prefer to have Do Not Disturb come on automatically, go to its settings screen and tap the On button next to Scheduled. In the From and To fields, fill in the hours you would like to have peace and quiet from phone alerts.

The Do Not Disturb feature has been around since 2012, when Apple introduced iOS 6, and the feature concept continues to evolve with the new Do Not Disturb While Driving setting in iOS 11. Apple’s macOS software has its own version of Do Not Disturb to manage desktop alerts as well.

Google and Microsoft have their own variations on the Do Not Disturb function. While the options may vary based on the hardware and version of Android in use, on Google’s Nexus and Pixel phones running recent versions of the software, check the Sound settings for the Do Not Disturb preferences; the Apps & Notifications settings can also help control how you get alerted.

Microsoft’s Quiet Hours setting for Windows 10 stifles alerts from midnight to 6 a.m. Quiet Hours can be invoked by clicking or tapping its icon in the Windows 10 Action Center.

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