How to reach your family in an emergency even if their iPhone is set to “do not disturb”

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

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

The versatile Find My app

The Find My app on your iPhone makes it easy to track your Apple devices. Everything from your Airpods to your MacBook can be located with this essential tool. If you lose or misplace an Apple product, you can view it on a map to find it. You can also play a sound to locate its location.

A new iPhone setting can help users reach family members in an emergency.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

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

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

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

How to start

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

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

Photo of a woman scrolling her phone.
You can share your location with friends and family through Find My App on iPhones and will be notified even when someone’s phone is in Do Not Disturb mode.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sending 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 device list.

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

  • Open the find my app and tap the device you want to send an alert to.
  • Faucet 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 Locate alert also appears on the device screen.
  • It works even if the device is in Do not disturb fashion.

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

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