Do Not Disturb and 911

One of my favorite features of iOS 6 is Do Not Disturb. It allows you to designate certain times as "quiet times" when your phone will not alert with calls, texts or notifications except from a specific group. I have Do Not Disturb set to automatically engage each night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and have created a special group in my contacts for friends, family and businesses who are listed exceptions.

Earlier this week I had a situation at my home at 3 a.m. and needed to call 911. I gave the operator my address and a callback number but after I hung up I remembered that my address is problematic for most GPS systems as they tend to route to the neighborhood behind me. Then I realized Do Not Disturb was still activated on my phone making it difficult for the operator to call back if needed. Do Not Disturb has an exception to allow repeated calls from the same person if they're received within three minutes, but due to the nature of a call center, you never know if caller ID is going to register a call as being from the same person.

Thankfully, all is well, but I started thinking about how Do Not Disturb can be problematic in certain situations and if settings could be tweaked to make it better. We know Apple has already built in exceptions to user enabled settings on the iPhone. For example, there was the whole fiasco with the alarm on a silenced phone that interrupted the New York Philharmonic, find my iPhone can override a phone's lock and mute settings, and just earlier this week I was woken up by an AMBER Alert despite my phone being in Do Not Disturb mode. Adding to this list of built-in exceptions, I would propose Apple build in an exception that automatically deactivates Do Not Disturb anytime a call is placed to 911.