In iOS 12, Do Not Disturb mode conveniently allows you to silence all calls, alerts, and notifications on iPhone or iPad for a given period and reduce the potential for unnecessary distractions.

Aside from new time-limited options in iOS 12's Control Center, Do Not Disturb can be turned on and scheduled ahead of time by going to Settings -> Do Not Disturb. Among these settings, there's also an Allow Calls From option for which you can choose Everyone, No One, or Favorites.

do not disturb allow calls from favorites
Given these last three choices, it would seem fair to assume that the only way to let specific contacts get through to you when Do Not Disturb is on, is to add them to your Favorites list. However, there's another way to let a contact bypass Do Not Disturb mode, and it has nothing to do with enabling the Repeated Calls option.

In fact, the little-known feature described below is arguably more powerful, since it lets you receive only text messages from that contact, or only phone calls from them (or both, if you wish) for just as long as the feature is enabled. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

  1. Launch the Contacts app on your iPhone.
    how to enable contacts bypass do not disturb

  2. Tap a contact in the list.
  3. Tap Edit.
    how to enable contacts bypass do not disturb 2

  4. If you want to let calls come through from this contact when Do Not Disturb mode is active, tap Ringtone and then on the next screen toggle the Emergency Bypass switch to the green ON position.

  5. Tap Done to return to the Contact card.
  6. Similarly, if you want to let text messages come through from the contact, tap Text Tone and then enable Emergency Bypass on the next screen.
  7. Tap Done to return to the Contact card.

  8. Tap Done to finish.

As some readers have noted, enabling Emergency Bypass also allows the contact's call ringtone or message alert to sound even when your iPhone or iPad is muted, so it's best to use the feature selectively, i.e. when you're expecting to hear from that contact.

Top Rated Comments

eternlgladiator Avatar
32 months ago
That is a little known feature and is really handy.

For me the problem I’ve encountered isn’t allowing notifications to get through but absolutely preventing them. I wish there was an ‘absolutely do not disturb’ option. The problem I’ve had is with alarms. Once I had a bedtime alarm set. I woke up well before the alarm and went to an earlier church service. I set my phone to vibrate with DND. Yet, during the worst possible time when it was especially quiet I suddenly hear my gentle bed time alarm song. I was mortified. After this I turn my phone off when I really don’t want to be disturbed.
Why would you want DND to stop alarms? That sounds like a recipe for disaster...

On a side note, I've been wondering how to do this for years. Now I can finally allow texts from my wife to come through while keeping my phone on DND when she's working late.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djs71a Avatar
32 months ago
One caveat to this, if you have your phone's side switch set to silent / vibrate, the sound of the call or text still comes through.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr$tone Avatar
32 months ago
One caveat to this, if you have your phone's side switch set to silent / vibrate, the sound of the call or text still comes through.
Yes, and that’s a VERY important caveat.

I learned this the hard way while being in a meeting where my phone was supposed to be completely silent (yes, there are such occasions) and all of the sudden the phone started playing the ringtone. It took a while for me to figure out why the mute switch didn’t do its job.

So, even though this is a great lesser known feature, you should be carefull playing with it!

To sum up, this feature doesn’t only affect the DND setting but also the mute switch—be careful since there’s no way making sure your phone stays silent once you enable this feature (except for turning your phone off)!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrGimper Avatar
32 months ago
I created a contact group called “DND Bypass” and selected that group in “Allow calls from”.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gretafour Avatar
32 months ago
I'm still waiting for a way to send all non-contact phone calls direct to voicemail without ringing (and mute the voicemail notification). That would take care of 99% of unwanted calls.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
C DM Avatar
32 months ago
One caveat to this, if you have your phone's side switch set to silent / vibrate, the sound of the call or text still comes through.
Awe man... I was excited about this until I read that it over rides the mute switch as well
Yeah, it's unfortunate that there isn't an option to bypass DND but not the side switch.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

april 2021 event coverage feature

Apple Event Live Coverage: New iPads, AirTags, and More Expected [Event Over]

Tuesday April 20, 2021 9:07 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Spring Loaded" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut updated iPad models and perhaps some other hardware such as AirTags or iMac models based on Apple silicon. Apple is providing a live video stream on its website, on YouTube, and in the company's TV app across its platforms. We will also be updating this article with live blog...
m1 imac colors

Apple Announces Redesigned iMac With M1 Chip and Seven Color Options

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has announced a new, redesigned 24-inch iMac, featuring an M1 chip, a 4.5K display, and a range of color options, as well as an improved cooling system, front-facing camera, speaker system, microphones, power connector, and peripherals. The new iMac features a completely new compact design, and comes in a range of seven striking colors, including green, yellow, orange, pink, purple,...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Launching iPhone 12 and 12 Mini in New Purple Color on April 30

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today announced that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in a new purple color starting April 30, with pre-orders starting this Friday. Apple is also releasing a new MagSafe Leather Case and Leather Sleeve in Deep Violet, a Silicone Case in Capri Blue, Pistachio, Cantaloupe, or Amethyst, and a Leather Wallet in Arizona, all available to order beginning today. iPhone...
14

Apple Says iOS 14.5 Will Be Released 'Next Week'

Tuesday April 20, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Apple today in a press release about its new AirTag item tracker announced that iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will be available starting "next week." iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 are packed with new features, including the ability for iPhone users who are wearing an Apple Watch to unlock the iPhone with Face ID while wearing a mask. iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 will also be the minimum software versions...
ipad pro with m1 chip

Apple Introduces Next-Generation iPad Pro With M1 Chip, Thunderbolt, 5G, XDR Display, and More

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:40 am PDT by
Apple today announced the next-generation iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, Thunderbolt and USB4 support, 5G connectivity on cellular models with mmWave support in the United States, and more. With an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, Apple says the M1 chip in the new iPad Pro provides up to 50% faster performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to the A12Z Bionic chip ...
f1618938547

Apple Announces AirTag Tracking Devices Starting At $29 Each

Tuesday April 20, 2021 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today announced AirTag, a Tile-like Bluetooth tracking device that's designed to be attached to items like keys and wallets for tracking purposes, letting you find them right in the Find My app. AirTags are accessories for attaching to backpacks, luggage, and other items. Any U1 device like the iPhone 12 can be used for precision finding to guide you right to the item you're looking...
Ports 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1 copy

Stolen MacBook Pro Schematics Confirm Apple's Plans to Add More Ports and Remove Touch Bar

Wednesday April 21, 2021 10:31 am PDT by
Schematics stolen from Apple supplier Quanta Computer outline Apple's plans for the next-generation MacBook Pro models that are expected in 2021, and clearly confirm plans for additional ports and a return to MagSafe. MacRumors saw the schematics after they were leaked online, and some of them feature the logic board of the next-generation MacBook Pro. On the right side of the machine,...
iPad Pro

New 12.9-Inch iPad Pro Will Be 0.5mm Thicker to Accommodate Mini-LED Display

Monday April 19, 2021 11:30 am PDT by
The upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be thicker than the previous-generation version, likely due to the inclusion of the mini-LED display. We've heard several rumors about the change in thickness, and now leaked design images have confirmed it. A source that designs accessories for Apple devices sent MacRumors a series of photos that feature exact dimensions for the new iPad Pro models, and...
iPad Pro Feature Orange

Wedbush Analysts Say 'Spring Loaded' Event Will Debut New iPads With 'Modest Price Increase,' Along With 'a Few Surprises'

Monday April 19, 2021 6:37 am PDT by
Apple is planning to launch a new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Pro at its "Spring Loaded" event tomorrow, along with "a few surprises," according to Wedbush analysts. In a new note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives and Strecker Backe explained that the iPad will be the main focus of Apple's "Spring Loaded" event, with new entry-level iPad, iPad mini, and ...
maxresdefault

Apple Event 2021: Everything Apple Announced at Its 'Spring Loaded' Event in Just 6 Minutes

Tuesday April 20, 2021 4:23 pm PDT by
Apple today held its first event of 2021, and it was one of the most exciting events that we've seen in some time. Apple announced a whole slew of new products, including an M1 iMac, an M1 iPad Pro, a refreshed 4K Apple TV, and the long-awaited AirTags. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce all of the new devices during its virtual...