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Tech tips

Get through to your family even when their phones are on Do Not Disturb

You can’t predict emergencies (that’s what makes them emergencies). But thanks to smartphone tech, you can be prepared. Check these settings on your iPhone before you need them.

Your phone’s Do Not Disturb mode is handy when you’re busy at work or want some peace and quiet. It silences calls, alerts and notifications while your phone is locked.

But what if someone you care about needs to contact you? Don’t worry — here’s a trick to let your nearest and dearest get through to you even when you don’t want to be disturbed.

The versatile Find My app

Your iPhone’s Find My app makes it easy to keep track of your Apple devices. Everything from your AirPods to your MacBook can be located with this vital tool. If you lose or misplace an Apple product, you can see it on a map to track it down. You can also play a sound to pinpoint its location.

The Find My app has other uses. You can invite friends and family members to share their locations with you so you can keep in touch with each other and know when someone has gotten home safely.

Once you set up Family Sharing, you can locate loved ones’ devices and your own. And there’s a bonus here: The same alert you send to find your missing device can grab the attention of someone whose phone is in Do Not Disturb mode.

Now I’ll show you how to set this up with your family.

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How to get started

You need to set up Family Sharing if you haven’t already:

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing, then scroll down and tap Set Up Your Family.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your family and invite your family members.

Now share your location with each other

  • Go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing, then scroll down and tap Location Sharing.
  • Tap Open Find My > Start Sharing Location.
  • Tap the name of a family member or friend with whom you want to share your location. You can repeat this step for each person you wish to share your location with. Everyone you select receives a message that you’re sharing your location and can choose to share their location with you.

Sending out a ping

Now that you’ve set up Family Sharing, you can see your family members’ devices in the Find My app. Their devices appear below yours in the Devices list.

Here’s how to send a ping to a family member’s device:

  • Open the Find My app and tap on the device to which you want to send an alert.
  • Tap Play Sound. If the device is online, a sound starts after a short delay and gradually increases in volume, then plays for about 2 minutes. A Find My alert also appears on the device’s screen.
  • This works even if the device is in Do Not Disturb mode.

That’s all you need to do. I use this trick with my family, so they have no excuses to ignore me!

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