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 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 just want some peace and quiet. It silences calls, alerts, and notifications while your phone is locked.

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.

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

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 your 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.

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

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 you want to share your location with. 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.

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

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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