It’s illegal to use your handset while you’re driving, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely disconnected. Both Apple and Android offer driving modes which allow you to access select features – like calls, messaging and navigation – hands-free, while also enabling you to completely block incoming notifications of your choice.
Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature and Android Auto are both great features for drivers who need to remain contactable, or just want to safely play their favourite playlist and use the navigation system to find a destination.
We’ve put together a short guide to show you exactly how to set up driving-friendly modes on iPhone and Android models. Drive safe, and take a look below.
Android Auto is a built-in app available on Android handsets running on Android 10 or later. You can also use it on devices running Android 6 and above, but you'll need to manually download the app from Google Play first. With Android Auto installed, you'll also be able to connect to compatible in-car displays, so you can access apps while driving.
Most current devices allow Android Auto to launch automatically when you jump in your car – it’ll either use advanced GPS or a Bluetooth connection to figure out when you’re on the move. Once you're in your vehicle, you’ll be able to interact use Google Assistant to make calls, send texts, control your playlists and podcasts, and navigate with live updates from Waze and Google Maps.
Of course, there are a few different makes and models with Android Auto built-in, so there may be slight variations to the set-up process, but here’s a general guide:
- Open Android Auto
- Choose “connect a car”
- Follow the on-screen instructions
When you’re all set up, you’ll be able to adjust the settings to suit your preferences, such as which notifications you'll receive and how, or which compatible apps are shown on the launcher.
Android Auto can also vary between devices – for example, handsets in the Pixel series following the Pixel 3 have their own driving mode feature, with Android Auto being an integrated option, alongside Do Not Disturb.
Do Not Disturb While Driving
You can also set up similar features on the iPhone, using a setting called Do Not Disturb While Driving. As the name suggests, it’s similar to Do Not Disturb but focusses solely on rides in the car – it’ll reduce notifications and distractions to help you concentrate while driving.
With Do Not Disturb While Driving activated:
- Your screen will be darker
- Notifications will be reduced, and won’t have sound
- Your phone will send automatic replies to texts, letting the sender know your driving, and asking them to reply ‘urgent’ if they’d like you to still receive a notification to your phone
- Calls will only come through if the caller rings twice in a row, unless they’ve been added to your Do Not Disturb exceptions list
- Passengers can control your phone if they tap ‘I’m not driving’
- Lock screen notifications will still be visible
Do Not Disturb While Driving is a built-in feature exclusive to iOS 11 and later, but setting up the feature is the same for each compatible iPhone model:
- Open Settings
- Select “Do Not Disturb”
- Activate “Do Not Disturb While Driving”
- Choose when Do Not Disturb launches
- Select "Automatically" if you’d like your phone to detect when you’re driving
- Pick "When Connect to Car Bluetooth" if you connect your phone to your entertainment system. Choose "Manually" if you’d like to enable Do Not Disturb While Driving yourself within settings
While your iPhone will automatically detect when you’re in a moving car, or launch Do Not Disturb While Driving whenever you connect to a chosen Bluetooth device, you might want a little bit more control over when you’d like the feature to switch on.
If you do select the manual launch option, here’s how to add the feature to your iPhone’s control panel, for easier access:
- Open settings
- Hit “Control Centre”
- Choose “Customise Controls”
- Add “Do Not Disturb While Driving”
Following this, you should see a car icon in your control panel, which can toggle Do Not Disturb While Driving on and off whenever you’d like. To find it, simply swipe up from the bottom of your screen if you're using an iPhone 8 or an older iPhone, , or swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen on new models like the iPhone X, iPhone XR and iPhone 11.
For more tips and tricks to get the most out of your iPhone or Android device, take a look at our other blogs – or if you’re on the hunt for a new handset, head over to e2save to find our latest deals.