Distracted driving may not make headlines, but it’s a huge problem. In the United States in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 391,000 people were injured and 3477 killed in accidents caused by distracted driving.
Many things can distract drivers, but the most concerning—and the most avoidable—is texting. Given that the iPhone has a 30–40% share of the market, it might have been involved in as many as 100,000 injuries and 1000 deaths in just 2015. Not good.
Apple has stepped up to the plate by introducing the Do Not Disturb While Driving (DNDWD) feature in iOS 11. You’ll be prompted to enable DNDWD when it first detects that you’re driving in a car after you install iOS 11. In normal use, it activates automatically when you’re driving, blocking notifications and preventing you from using apps until you stop the car. Here are answers to the most common questions we get about DNDWD.
How does the iPhone know that I’m driving?
The most reliable way is that your iPhone has connected to a car via Bluetooth. Obviously, that requires the car to support Bluetooth, and that you pair your iPhone with it. If there’s no Bluetooth connection, the iPhone uses its accelerometer and signals from nearby Wi-Fi networks to figure out that you’re driving.
In Settings > Do Not Disturb > Activate, you can choose from Automatically, When Connected to Car Bluetooth, or Manually. Stick with one of the first two options unless the iPhone regularly fails to detect that you’re driving, at which point you can add the Do Not Disturb While Driving button to Control Center, and activate DNDWD with it.
Will any notifications break through the DNDWD cone of silence?
Yes. As with standard Do Not Disturb, timers, alarms, and emergency alerts will still work. Plus, you can opt to receive urgent text messages. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb > Auto-Reply To and choose a group (Recents, Favorites, or All Contacts). Those people will get an auto-reply—which you can personalize—when they text you, and if they reply to that auto-reply with the word “urgent,” the message will be delivered.
What about phone calls?
If your car has a Bluetooth hands-free system, phone calls will come in as they always have, and you can answer them via your steering wheel controls and carry on the conversation using the car’s built-in mic and speakers.
However, if you don’t have car Bluetooth or another hands-free accessory, DNDWD will block calls just as they would be by standard Do Not Disturb. That means you can allow calls from specific groups in Settings > Do Not Disturb > Allow Calls From and let anyone through if they call twice within 3 minutes.
Can I still use Maps to navigate?
Yes! Maps works on the Lock screen just as it always has, though it’s best started before you begin driving. If you keep your iPhone in a car mount so you can use it for navigating, DNDWD won’t get in the way.
Will Siri still work while in DNDWD?
Indeed it will, both via Hey Siri and by holding the Home button. But don’t do that—Hey Siri is safer than taking your hand off the wheel to press the Home button.
Siri won’t do some things for you while you’re driving, like open apps. Plus, Siri tries to respond to you so that you won’t have to look at the iPhone, reading all responses instead of displaying them on the screen.
How do I turn off DNDWD if I’m a passenger?
If DNDWD is on and you try to use your iPhone, an I’m Not Driving button appears. Tap it, and you can use your iPhone normally for the rest of the trip. If you’re always a passenger, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb > Activate, and select Manually. Then, if you do want to turn DNDWD on, you can use its Control Center button.
So hey, if you didn’t turn on Do Not Disturb While Driving when you first set up iOS 11, do us and everyone else on the road a favor and turn it on now. The life you save could be your own.
Twitter: Are you using iOS 11’s new Do Not Disturb While Driving? If not, do us all a favor and turn it on today!
Facebook: Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year. Here’s how your iPhone can potentially save your life.
Even if you’re not buying a new iPhone this year, you can still enjoy a hefty dose of “New and Improved!” with Apple’s iOS 11, which provides a host of new capabilities. Hold on tight, there’s a lot to cover, and we have another article coming about the iPad-specific changes in iOS 11.
After you install iOS 11, you’ll notice a few things right off. Dock icons no longer have names, and many Apple apps now have the bold text design Apple brought to the Music and News apps in iOS 10.
Although the new Automatic Setup feature won’t help you today, when you next get a new iOS device, it can transfer many settings from an older iOS 11 device automatically. Similarly, the new Share Your Wi-Fi feature lets you send your Wi-Fi network’s password to another iOS 11 device that tries to connect.
You may not need a new iPhone or iPad anyway, since iOS 11 can help you recover precious space. Choose Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage and you can offload unused apps (while keeping their settings and data), delete old Messages conversations automatically, and see how much space each app consumes. Deleting music from the Music sub-screen (tap Edit) will help too.
Apple redesigned Control Center, which most people still get to by swiping up from the bottom of the screen (iPad users keep swiping up after the Dock appears, and iPhone X users will have to swipe down from the right-hand top of the screen). It’s back to a single page of icons, and you can access additional options by pressing and holding on any set of controls. Even better, you can add (and remove) controls in Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.
The Lock screen is all you’ll see while in the car by default now, thanks to the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. It blocks notifications and prevents you from using your iPhone while at the wheel, all while auto-replying to people who text you. Calls still come through to your car’s Bluetooth system, and texts from people designated as favorites can break through the texting cone of silence. Passengers can disable Do Not Disturb While Driving easily from a notification on the Lock screen.
Smaller Changes and App Updates
A few smaller changes that you’ll appreciate include:
- Siri sounds more natural, can do translations, and uses on-device learning to understand you better and provide more useful results.
- On an iPhone, a new Emergency SOS feature will call 911 and notify your emergency contacts of your location after you press the Sleep/Wake button five times quickly and swipe the Emergency SOS button. Tap Settings > Emergency SOS to set this up.
- The password auto-fill feature now suggests stored login information for many apps right from the QuickType bar above the keyboard—manage this in Settings > Accounts & Passwords > App & Website Passwords.
Many of iOS 11’s built-in apps receive significant changes as well:
- Camera: New file formats will make your videos and photos take up less space. There are a few new filters, and Camera can finally scan QR codes, which simplify loading Web sites, getting contact info, and connecting to Wi-Fi networks.
- Photos: You can now edit the video in a Live Photo and apply looping, bouncing, and long exposure effects. Photos can at long last play animated GIFs and has a new Animated smart album to hold them.
- Files: This major new app replaces the iCloud Drive app. Look in Files for access not just to iCloud Drive, but also to files on your device and in other cloud sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
- Messages: A new app drawer at the bottom of the screen tries to entice you to use iMessage apps. Most are just stickers, but some are useful and Apple provides a new Apple Pay app here that lets you make person-to-person payments.
- Maps: Apple has added indoor maps of some airports and malls to Maps. Maps also now provides lane guidance on more complicated roads.
- Notes: The new Instant Notes feature make starting a note as simple as tapping the Lock screen of an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, or the optional Notes button in Control Center. A note can now look like lined paper or graph paper (tap the Share button, then tap Lines & Grids). You can also now scan a document. The idea is that you then sign it with the Apple Pencil and send it on its way. Notes can also now find text in Apple Pencil handwriting.
Take some time to explore—we’re liking these new features and we think you will too! It’s likely safe to upgrade to iOS 11 now, but check our upgrade advice first.
Twitter: iOS 11 brings with it a boatload of new features. Here’s our roundup of the best ones:
Facebook: We’re liking iOS 11 a lot, and we think you’ll want to try a bunch of these features too!