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Apple iOS 11 Blocks Phone Notifications While Driving

Apple software improves road safety by making it easier to ignore your mobile.

How Apple Do Not Disturb works

The Apple iOS 11 Operating System has a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that minimises distraction by blocking phone notifications. There is then less temptation to risk a collision – and break the law – by responding to calls from family, text messages from colleagues and social media updates from old friends.

The Operating System is in a pre-launch test phase so cannot be seen in its final form at this point. However, Do Not Disturb likely has to be set manually before first use. A Bluetooth connection to your car then informs it you are travelling. Alternatively, motion sensors confirm that you are moving at speed.

Do Not Disturb While Driving then screens notifications. When a phone call, text message, e-mail or social media update arrives it:

  • Prevents your phone making a noise
  • Prevents your phone vibrating
  • Prevents your phone lighting-up
  • Automatically sends a message to the caller/sender that explains you are driving and cannot respond immediately

The iOS 11 Operating System enables you to create exceptions to such rules, rumours suggest. Perhaps it is necessary – on every occasion – to receive phone calls from an elderly parent, baby sitter, nursery or school. Furthermore, the system can be deactivated manually if you are a passenger rather than the driver.

RAC And AA welcome new software

Do Not Disturb has been welcomed by road safety campaigners. Pete Williams, RAC BePhoneSmart spokesperson, explained: "These days it is less phone calls and more the pings and buzzes of texts and social media apps which have the potential to distract the driver”.

Mr Williams continued: "We're pleased that, at last, millions of drivers that use an Apple iPhone are about to be able to put an end to intrusive notifications while they are behind the wheel."

AA President Edmund King shared such sentiments: "Our research shows that we need to do more to stop drivers using their phones at the wheel. Technology helps. More than half of young drivers cannot bring themselves to turn off mobiles before driving”, he suggested.

The safety expert continued: "Whilst the responsibility for not using a hand-held phone at the wheel lies firmly with the driver - we welcome developments such as Do Not Disturb While Driving which could remove the temptation to answer the phone for some drivers."

Availability and compatibility

The Apple iOS 11 Operating System launches autumn 2017. It is compatible with a wide range of relatively recent phones. They are: 

  • iPhone 7/Plus
  • iPhone 6S/Plus
  • iPhone 6/Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 5S

This needs to be compulsory and on all mobile phones

That is very true of course, and something which upsets the sensible minority out there as well as those who have been affected by the gormless actions of irresponsible phone users, but it's a good start at least. It is a problem of human nature that simply won't go away regardless of the increasing penalties imposed. You can always call yourself a passenger of course or add lots of exempted numbers - these are the people that most need to be stopped, but of course everyone is distracted by their phone alerting you whilst driving. Hopefully those who try the software in its intended way will come to realise how much they really didnt need to react to just about any of it whilst driving. The world still turned when we just had red phone boxes but then we weren't so self-absorbed back then. Even now most car journeys are short. What will you really miss in that tiny part of your day? If you really need to check it then you have brakes and laybys. The worst offenders might just realise life is a lot less stressful without the constant distraction and the need to post an immediate reply. I wouldn't want automatic message responses to callers - there are too many unwelcome callers wanting to settle your PPI claims etc! I'd vote for a signal blocker installed in new car software except for the ability to make emergency calls.

This isn't new, Nokia/Lumia have been running this feature for years.