Do Alarms Go Off on Do Not Disturb (DND)? DND Exceptions and How to Ensure Your Alarm Goes Off

Everyone hates that awful moment of waking up and knowing you missed an alarm. Your morning turns chaotic as you try to figure out what happened while rushing to get ready for work or school. Missing an alarm can be stressful if you have something important to attend to, but so is not getting enough sleep.

Many people activate the Do Not Disturb (DND) function of their smartphones so they won’t be rudely awakened from their slumber. But if DND silences all phone calls and notifications, what will it do to alarms? Do alarms go off in Do Not Disturb (DND) mode?

Continue reading if you’d like to find out how exactly DND works and how it affects pre-set alarms on your iOS or Android mobile devices.

How Does Do Not Disturb (DND) Work? 

Do Not Disturb, also known as DND, is a mobile phone feature that enables users to control notifications, alerts, and calls. DND is available on both Android and Apple iOS devices, which when enabled will mute sounds, turn off vibration, and prevent the screen from lighting up for incoming calls, texts, or notifications.

DND is a great feature for keeping your phone close by and powered on without being interrupted. It’s commonly used during important meetings, formal events, performances, study time, work, and at bedtime. The Do Not Disturb mode does not alter the operating procedure of alarms. Any set alarms will still ring at their scheduled times. 

You can still view any missed calls, messages, or notifications that came in when your phone was in DND mode once you unlock your screen and open your phone. Additionally, you can receive calls and notifications when your screen is unlocked. This means your phone will ring and vibrate as normal. 

Advanced Do Not Disturb Features

It is interesting to note that not only do OS and phone manufacturers are introducing more and more features to mobile phones every year, but hundreds of other companies are also working tirelessly to develop applications that can be integrated into both iOS and Android platforms. 

Besides being a camera, a game gadget, and a communication device, mobile phones can now be GPS locators, fitness trackers, digital wallets, and many others. Heck, we can now even use our iOS and Android smartphones to measure body or atmosphere temperatures!

It is not surprising then that both Android and iOS mobile phones have added advanced features to the DND mode to further enhance its usefulness to users. We’ve outlined a few of these features below so you can better understand your options:

1. Scheduling and Automating DND 

You can schedule a time or situation where DND will automatically turn on. For example, with iOS, you can select from the following options:

  • Time – Select a time period and days for Do Not Disturb
  • Location – Add an address, like the location of your job, house, or church, when you want to be unbothered. It will only work though if Location Services are enabled. 
  • App – When a selected application is opened, like Books, your phone will not alert you to calls or notifications. 
  • Smart Activation – iOS will automatically turn on DND when it determines the time is relevant or appropriate based on the time of day, your location, and what apps you are using. 

2. DND Exceptions

In its default format, Do Not Disturb mode silences every notification, phone call, text message, and alert. But you may not want to restrict EVERY contact or application from reaching you. You’ll probably want to adjust DND settings to allow close family members to contact you. Or you might want to continue receiving notifications from certain apps like your banking app. 

You can also turn on a Time Sensitive setting with iOS, which means apps can still push through notifications that are marked as ‘time sensitive.’

3. Share DND Status 

Apple devices refer to its DND offerings as Focus. You can set your phone to share your Focus status, so when your contacts send you messages, they will see that you are on Focus or DND mode.

4. Home Screen Notifications & Badges

You can customize how your home screens and badges appear when DND mode is enabled:

  • Hide Notifications – when you select Hide Notification Badges, you won’t see any numbers associated with app badges telling you there are unviewed notifications. This feature offers a much cleaner Home Screen so you won’t be tempted to check on your apps.
  • Custom Pages – The Custom Pages option allows you to pick specific Home Screen pages to show when DND is turned on. This means you can display only necessary apps (like productivity apps or business apps) and keep all of your games and social media apps hidden. 

5. Lock Screen

Lock screen notifications are turned off by default when DND is enabled. You can change this by selecting the Show On Lock Screen option. You can also select Dim Lock Screen if you find your lock screen illumination distracting. 

What is Silent Mode and How is it Different from DND?

Silent Mode is essentially a more basic version of DND. Silent Mode silences all phone calls, text messages, and app notifications just like Do Not Disturb. But Silent Mode lacks any customization features. You can neither schedule, automate, or add exceptions to it. But it doesn’t affect set alarms in any way either. 

How Do Alarms Work on Mobile Devices?

Very few people today rely on a traditional alarm clock for wake-up calls and reminders. Instead, most people use the Alarm function located in the Clock app, a standard feature across all Android and Apple devices. 

When you set an alarm, you can choose when the following options:

  • Time – Set to the exact hour and minute when the alarm should go off. 
  • Repeat – If you want an alarm to repeat every weekday to wake you up for work, you can set that with the Repeat option.
  • Label – Set the alarm’s name, which is useful for meetings and appointments. 
  • Sound – You can choose the type of sound or music that plays when the alarm goes off.
  • Snooze – If you want an additional 10 minutes of sleep before you get up, you can hit the Snooze button instead of the Timer Off.

How to Manage DND Exceptions 

If you like to add exceptions to Do Not Disturb mode, we’ve outlined step-by-step instructions for both Android and iOS smartphones:

Setting DND Exceptions in Android

  1. Open your Settings application. Find and tap Sound and Vibration or Notifications (either option works).
Do Not Disturb (DND) exception in Android - notifications, sound and vibration
  1. Within Sound and vibration or Notifications, find Do Not Disturb under the General tab. Tap to open Do Not Disturb’s settings. 
do not disturb (DND) setting
  1. Click Turn on Now to enable DND. Then look under What can interrupt Do Not Disturb to find People, Apps, and Alarms and other interruptions
do not disturb (DND) turn on now option
  1. To choose contacts that can interrupt Do Not Disturb, select People. From the People exceptions, you can choose which type of Conversations are allowed to disturb you. Click Conversations and then select All Conversations, Priority Conversations, or None.
conversations options in setting DND exceptions
  1. To choose which contacts can interrupt you with incoming phone calls, select Calls.  
selecting calls in setting DND exceptions
  1. You can select from the following options:
  • Starred Contacts (click the cog-wheel to edit which contacts are Starred)
  • Contacts (click the cog-wheel to select which contacts to let through)
  • Anyone
  • None
calls that can interrupt options in setting DND in Android
  1. At the bottom of this page, you can also select Allow Repeat Callers. If anyone calls you a second time within 15 minutes, their call will come through as normal. It’s a good option to ensure that any priority phone calls make it through even if you don’t have the number added as an exception. 
allow repeat callers feature
  1. Head back to the main People page to find and tap the Messages option and repeat the same steps that you followed for the Calls. 
messages that can interrupt - exceptions in DND settings
  1. If you go back to the main Do Not Disturb window, you can now add Apps to the exception list. Click Add Apps
apps that can interrupt - DND exception setting
  1. Select an app from the list that you’d like to add as an exception. When you select an app, you open a new window for that application where you can choose which notifications you want to let through. 
notifications that can interrupt - DND exception settings
  1. When you are finished adding app exceptions, you can once again return to the main Do Not Disturb window to select Alarms and other interruptions
alarms and other interruptions options setting in DND exceptions
  1. From this screen, you can choose to enable or disable Alarms, Media Sounds, Touch Sounds, Reminders, and Calendar Events with the toggle slider. 
alarms and other interruptions menu in setting DND exceptions in Android devices

Setting DND Exceptions in iOS

  1. To manage iOS exceptions, tap on your Settings app. Scroll down and select Focus from the list. 
setting Do Not Disturb (DND) exceptions in iOS smartphones
  1. From the Focus window, select Do Not Disturb. You can also choose to Set Up new DND profiles to meet different needs, like Personal, Work, and Sleep
Focus (DND) profiles in iOS - personal. sleep, work
  1. Now you can add exceptions by clicking People or Apps under the Allowed Notifications heading. 
Do not disturb (DND) settings for people, apps, and notifications in iOS
  1. Click People to open the People exceptions window. From here, you can click the Plus icon to choose people from your contacts list. 
allowed notifications option - DND exception settings in iOS
  1. If you want to allow calls from specific contacts, select Calls From, at the bottom of the page. You can choose from Everyone, No One, Favorites, or All Contacts
phone calls allowed - do not disturb DND setting in iOS
  1. To add Apps to the exception list, go back to the main DND page. Or you can just select the Apps tab from the People window. Click the Plus icon to add an app. Choose one or multiple apps from the list and then click Done in the upper right-hand corner. 
apps allowed - DND exception setting in iOS
  1. If you want to allow apps to send you notifications even with the DND turned on for time-sensitive information, you can toggle Time Sensitive at the bottom of the Apps window. 

What Might Have Happened if You Missed an Alarm

If you missed an alarm, it’s not related to Do Not Disturb or Silent Mode. Here are some reasons that you might have missed your alarm:

1. You’ve Been a Heavy Sleeper

If you are a heavy sleeper, you are probably familiar with missing alarms. You are probably one of those people who can sleep through catastrophes and need to set multiple alarms to wake you up. 

The only advice we can give you here is to make sure you turn your phone’s volume all the way up and choose an annoying alarm sound for the best chance of rousing you from sleep. You can also place your phone out of reach from your bed, so you have to get up to turn off the alarm.

2. You Selected the Wrong Time

If you want to wake up at 6 AM, then you need to ensure your alarms are set accordingly. You might have selected the PM option instead of AM, which is a very common mistake. It’s always a good idea to double-check before you fall asleep. 

3. Your Phone Died

If your phone is running low on battery charge before you go to sleep, it may die in the middle of the night. It goes without saying that your alarms can’t ring to wake you up if your phone is off. 

4. Alarms Blocked (Android Only)

By default, alarms will ring as scheduled even when DND is enabled. But Android lets you select an option to disable alarms when the Do Not Disturb mode is enabled. If you have selected this option and then left DND overnight, this might be the reason you missed your alarm. 

How to Ensure Your Alarm Will Ring

1. Set a Test Alarm 

If you have an important event and really want to ensure your alarm goes off with your phone’s current settings, set a test alarm. 

It only takes a minute to ensure your phone’s alarm is set exactly how it should be before you go to bed. This means turning DND off, setting your volume settings, turning your normal alarms on, and checking if your phone has enough battery charge to last through the night. 

Then head back to the Clock app to set a new alarm. Create an alarm to go off 2 to 5 minutes from now. If the alarm successfully rings as intended then you can set it to your intended wake-up time and go to bed with confidence that your alarm will go off as planned. 

2. Turn Up the Phone Volume 

While alarms still sound off even when DND and Silent Mode are enabled, this doesn’t mean you’ll hear them. You can still miss an alarm if you’ve turned the volume all the way down. iOS and Android want users to be able to set their desired ringing volume, so this is the one setting that still affects your alarms. 

You should always check that your phone volume is turned up (however loud you need it to wake you up) before going to sleep. 

3. Check Alarm Time and Day 

If you don’t have an idea why you missed an alarm, it might be due to an improperly set time and day. Open the Clock app and check that the AM/PM setting is in order. This is the most frequent cause of a missed alarm because it’s super easy to overlook. You’ll swear you set an alarm for 6 AM only to find out that you had it pegged at 6 PM. 

You should also check that you have the day right. If you have a long list of alarms on your phone, you might have enabled one that is set to only ring on certain days of the week. 

4. Check the Alarm Sound

In the same place where you check the AM/PM settings, you should also verify your choice of alarm sound. Some of the sounds you might choose can be relatively hush and soothing. If you are a heavy sleeper, you might think that your alarm didn’t go off, but instead, it just didn’t wake you up because you selected something that sounds like a lullaby!

Do Not Disturb (DND) Mode, Explained! Alarm Issues, Fixed!

We hope this guide has been a helpful primer on the features and settings of Do Not Disturb (DND) for Android and iOS devices. If alarms did not wake you up as intended, it isn’t because of the said feature, as it was programmed not to disrupt your phone’s alarm system. Unless, of course, you’re an Android user and you decided to block alarms as well in your DND setting.

More than likely it’s because you’d picked the wrong alarm time, turned the volume down on your device, or turned off the alarm yourself while you were half asleep. If you follow our recommendations for managing your alarms, you should be able to avoid this issue from occurring again! 

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