the iPhones “Do not disturb while driving” is possibly its most underrated feature. How does my phone know I’m driving (or at least in a moving vehicle)?


Title. I added the parentheses because DND will activate even if I’m in the passenger seat of a friends car, let’s say, or on the train, with no CarPlay or Bluetooth trigger.

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5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

GPS. The phone assumes you’re in a vehicle if it tracks you hauling at 65 mph. It wouldn’t think you’re running that fast.

Anonymous 0 Comments

GPS, accelerometer, and speed? Just an uneducated guess.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Accelerometers(sensors that sense movement), and GPS are pretty easy ways for devices to see what someone is doing. It’s how smart watches track steps, and workout reps as well.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So…the iPhone has a relatively large number of sensors and software integrations. It is easily possible to simply program DND to react to GPS. And that’s great for speeds over, say, 30mph. But…it’s not good enough. Pedal bikes go over 30mph (it’s tough, but doable by the average rider). Planes go waaay over 75 mph and *don’t * trigger DND, even when getting up to speed. So, what gives? Programming and coordination. GPS is as good a place to start as any, but, if you add in the accelerometer (to determine whether your body is in motion independent of a vehicle) AND the Cell Tower hand-off speed (the speed at which the phone has to ping new towers as it moves from one area to another, not related to the presence or absence of WiFi signals) AND the rate at which WiFi signals appear and disappear (for greater accuracy because WiFi has shorter range than Cell signal) AND Bluetooth devices coming in and put of range (for secondary verification), you start to see how all of these sensors work together to figure out whether your walking, biking, driving or flying and can, therefore activate DND mode as needed. Notice that no matter how many sensors are involved, your phone still can’t tell whether you’re the driver or a passenger, though. That’s on you. (Boating adds in GPS location, instead of just GPS motion to determine whether you’re on land or water).

I’m forced to wonder whether DND would activate if you took a train (a real train, not a Metro or Subway)

Anonymous 0 Comments

On my phone, the driving mode is activated when the phone is connected via Bluetooth to the car audio.

It stays in driving mode even if I’m parked (if the stereo is on)