May 28, 2020

Switch off your phone, please!

By kushal

Silence is the New Ringtone! Use these 4 tricks to avoid getting caught in an embarrassing situation, when you are told to Switch off your Phone, Please!

How many times have you heard to keep your phone silent, or more bluntly switch off your phone, please before the important Government meetings? Or in a seminar at Vigyan Bhavan, how many times, the comparer announces to keep the phone silent / switched off?

Well, these commands stem from the time when we had feature phones which can only be put ‘on’ or just ‘off’. And perhaps the phone user either didn’t know how to bring the phone to silence or simply forgot to do it.

If the comparer would have come to current reality, the command should be

‘Turn-off your notification’

Any which way, the geeks in Government know this and they simply press the ‘Silent’ button, the moment they hear ‘Switch off your phone’,

Many times, I felt proud about this timely action, and be filled with joy when somebody else phone would ring while mine is on ‘silent’. There would be a long silence and many of us will turn the head towards the buzzing phone, with a sigh!

May be it was meant to signal the Minister that Sir! It’s not me!

But now is the time to learn a few Tricks to avoid embarrassment from hearing ‘Switch off your phone, please’ in the middle of senior officers meeting.

Here are the 4 best practices to avoid ‘Switch off your phone, please!’ embarrassment next time.

1. Keep Your Phone on silent all the time

Yes! You heard it right.

Silence is a New Ringtone

When in office, enabling Silent Mode on your iPhone is something that not everyone will be able to do. But if your Government work doesn’t depend on answering every single call or message immediately, you should seriously consider always keeping your Phone in silent mode. This becomes easier if you own an Apple watch (which will notify you about notifications ). All you need to do is to use the famous ‘Ringer Switch’ from your phone which is on the left side above the volume button.

I personally use the above most of the time in conjunction with ‘Emergency bypass feature‘ for a few of my contacts which include my wife, kid, father, mother and most importantly boss.

Emergency bypass feature works per-contact basis, and one would need to go to each contact and mark them ‘Add to Emergency Contact‘. Once enabled, come what may be the setting in your iPhone silent or do not disturb, the phone will ring at all cost. The only exception is in the case when it is switched off.

But use it with care, especially if you have a nagging wife. You don’t want to miss her call!

Go to each important contact and add them to your Emergency Contact.

2. Use Do not disturb mode

If you cannot remain silent most of the time, then this feature is second best to avoid the scream ‘Switch off your phone, please! and still remain connected.

Do not disturb mode on your iPhone helps you allow notifications for a set time period. You can schedule Do Not Disturb to enable automatically at the office, or you can enable it manually for some time.

Go to the “Settings” app and choose the “Do Not Disturb” option. If you just want to turn on the feature, for now, tap on the toggle next to the “Do Not Disturb” option.

Alternatively, tap on the toggle next to “Scheduled” to put this on a schedule. Choose the “From” and “To” timing, and leave the rest to your iPhone.

Or alternatively, you can open the Control Center and tap and hold on the “Do Not Disturb” icon (crescent moon icon) to see contextual options. Here, you can choose to enable Do Not Disturb mode just for one hour, until this evening, or until you leave the current location.

Open the Control Centre and enable Do Not Disturb.

What if I failed to Make the phone silent or even put on do not disturb?

Here are the emergency tricks you can use which are very effective. At least they are effective to an extent to save your skin. You might just go un-noticed.

3. Switch on the Attention Awareness Feature

  • Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone
  • Go to the “Face ID & Passcode” section
  • Locate the “Attention Aware Features” option and turn the switch to the ON position
  • Exit out of Settings

All you need to do is to pick up the phone the moment you hear the ringtone. The Attention Awareness feature will lower the sound immediately, which may save you from ‘Switch off your Phone, please!’ embarrassment especially at places which are loud.

4. Use your hand over Apple watch

Those of you using Apple Watch, you are in for some luck. Apple Watch provides you with a lovely feature to just put your hand over your watch and viola! The iPhone will go on silent. That’s super cool!

Some additional suggestions

Those above are definately great ways to control your ringer and also your notifications, but let me also add few extra bit of tweeks.

Notifications are the annoyance

More than ringer, now a days the notifications are the annoyance. If you have apps in default status, you are going to install and enable notifications for all the apps. No app will leave you without sending you notifications.

It is always good to take control of the apps from the beginning. Here are a few tips.

  • By default, deny the notification permissions to all app you install. If you really would like to have few notifications, then configure it later. Remember, the app will still work if you have denied the permissions for notification.

Don’t allow notification when you install an app.

  • Minimize the apps with Lock Screen Notification. If you have already opened up your iPhone and using it, perhaps you are in a frame of mind to read all notifications and alerts. However, when you allow each notification to show and allow the iPhone to light up when your phone is locked, it is going to create a lot of disturbance. It will reduce your productivity at the office also.

In the above screen go to Notifications> App> and disable Lock Screen. This way, you can configure your important lock screen notification to work for you instead of against you.

Notifications are ubiquitous. Every app is competing to grab your attention by sending your periodic notifications.

Many a time, not only they are uncalled for like a telemarketing call, but they also deeply obstruct the productivity. Keep then under your control all the time.

I am sure, if you follow these simple 4 advise, you shall be commanding your phone and never hear Switch Off your phone, please!

I will cover how to manage Notifications on Android devices separately. If you have anything to add above, kindly email me at

This article is also published in Medium here!