Q: I just saw your article on Manual vs scheduled Do Not Disturb settings, which helped clear up at least one question I had. I’m still puzzled about one thing, however, and that’s if there’s a way to override Do Not Disturb for specific alarms? I know that I can allow certain phone calls to get through, but everything else seems to get silenced whether I want it to or not. Is there some way I can overrule this for certain types of notifications? I’m in a lot of meetings so I keep my iPhone on Do Not Disturb, but I’d still like important reminders to come through.
A: While there’s no way for you to choose specific apps to override the Do Not Disturb setting, the built-in Clock app does get special privileges in this regard. Any alarms or timers set in the Clock app will sound regardless of whether the Do Not Disturb setting is on or not.
While this may not be as convenient as receiving notifications from other applications, you could use alarms in the Clock app to schedule those critical alerts that you can’t afford to miss.
You can even apply labels to Clock alarms to remind you of what each specific alarm is for, and have different sounds assigned to each. One downside, unfortunately, is that Clock alarms can’t be scheduled with as much flexibility as Calendar appointments or reminders. You can normally only schedule alarms within 24 hours of the current time, however if you need an alarm to go off on a certain day of the week you can work around this by making it a repeating alarm for that day. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to remember to switch the alarm off if you don’t want it coming up on that day every week.
Note that the Clock app also overrides the ring/silent switch on your iPhone, and unlike other notifications there is no option to have the iPhone vibrate only when the alarm sounds; you’ll want to keep that in mind when selecting your alert sound.