Q. Ever since I upgraded the software, my iPhone freaks out whenever I’m in a cab because it thinks I’m driving. I’m tired of tapping the “I’m not driving” button — how do I tell the phone I don’t drive?
A. The recent iOS 11 software update includes a new safety component of the “Do Not Disturb” feature for silencing notifications — one that blocks most calls and alerts to the phone while you are driving. If enabled, the new safeguards kick in automatically when the iPhone makes a Bluetooth connection to the car’s dashboard or its motion sensors pick up movement and acceleration similar to that of riding in an automobile.
The iPhone can also mistake the forward motion of a train or a bus for riding in a car. And as you have discovered, taxi passengers may also notice their phones are temporarily disabled unless the Do Not Disturb control is switched off.
If you never drive yourself and want the iPhone to stop pestering you when you are taking mass transit, tap open the Settings icon and choose Do Not Disturb from the main Settings screen. Scroll down the bottom of the screen until you get to “Do Not Disturb While Driving.” Tap the Activate button to switch the setting from Automatically to Manually.
For those who do drive and want to use the feature, you can change the auto-reply message the phone sends to people who text you while you are on the road. There’s also the option to choose the specific people (or groups) in your Contacts list who get an automatic message from you while you are focused on driving.
If you prefer to use the Do Not Disturb feature in manual mode, you can add a shortcut icon to the iPhone’s Control Center. Open the Settings app, select Control Center and then Customize Controls. Tap the Plus (+) button next to “Do Not Disturb While Driving” icon to add it to the Control Center screen, where you can quickly tap the setting on or off.
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