Managing Contact Groups and Do Not Disturb in iOS 6

We’ve all been there. You set your iPhone next to your nightstand to either charge it or just in case an important text or call comes through while you’re sleeping. While we need to see the texts and get the calls from family members needing help or letting you know of someone’s illness, we don’t need to know someone is requesting you play Farmvillle with them. This is where Apple’s new “Do Not Disturb” feature comes in handy.

However, oddly, Apple changed the Groups feature in the Contacts app, making it not work as well with the “Do Not Disturb” feature. When they announced this feature, they said we could choose the people we wanted the feature to apply to, and it does work with Groups, but it doesn’t work as well as we would have thought originally. It will take an extra app, but there is a way around it.


“Do Not Disturb” really is a great feature and makes things much easier. It’s a struggle we all go through, trying to decide whether you should turn your phone off altogether or just mute it, or leave it on out of fear of missing a very important call. This feature is accessed by going to the Settings app and toggling the switch next to the words, “Do Not Disturb.” Not only will it turn off calls and texts, but it will also stop your Notifications from popping up on the screen with the sound and the light of the screen.


If you would like more control of the “Do Not Disturb” feature, click on “Notifications”. This brings you to a screen where you can control all the aspects of it. You can either just leave it where it’s turned on, or you can schedule the hours of when you want it turned on. You can also set the “Repeated Calls” feature. This will allow a caller to break through the block if they call twice within three minutes, as you never know when someone unexpected will call with an emergency. You can also set a certain group you’d like to be able to still allow calls from. Clicking on this allows you to select either everyone, no one, or the contacts you have favorited. Additionally, you can select a group from your contacts, such as Family.


Here is where it gets more difficult. If you go to the Contacts app, you can’t create groups to use for “Do Not Disturb” and can’t add or delete anyone in the groups. You can create a group out of just creating a contact and adding multiple emails, but this group won’t show up in the group list so that you can use it with “Do Not Disturb”. It only works for contacting the people all at once. To set this up using groups, you will need a third-party app.


GContact Lite is a third-party app that will handle creating, deleting, and editing groups, and it works really well in conjunction with “Do Not Disturb”. I was able to delete old groups that I created and no longer use, and also create a new group for Family. I added all family members, as these are the people I want to disturb me. I want to know if someone gets sick, goes into labor, etc. Once I created this group here, it then pops up in the settings for Do Not Disturb allowing me to allow phone calls and texts from them.

It’s not clear why the “Do Not Disturb” feature was short-sighted to not work together with the Contacts app anymore. Hopefully it’s something Apple will be correcting soon. but until then there is a workaround that works fine.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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