Can You Partially Silence an iPhone?

by Adrian Grahams
Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Many standard and third-party apps on the Apple iPhone include audible notifications for specific events, such as voicemails, SMS text messages, calendar appointment and reminder alerts. Moving the ring/silent switch on the side of the iPhone to the silent position typically kills alert sounds from all apps. Activating the iPhone's "Do Not Disturb" feature also silences the device, but you can set this to allow the phone to ring when it receives calls from specific contacts so you don't miss important calls. The iPhone also includes advanced sound settings that you can configure to partially silence the device by disabling audible notifications for selected apps and phone functions.

Configure Sound Settings

Step 1

Touch the "Settings" button on the iPhone's main screen.

Step 2

Tap the "Sounds" tab and scroll to the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section.

Step 3

Tap the app or phone function name that you want to silence; for example, choose "Text Tone" if you want to disable audible alerts for SMS text messages.

Step 4

Touch the "None" option at the top of the Alert Tones list.

Tap "Sounds" to return to the Sounds settings screen. Repeat this procedure for each phone function or app that you want to silence.

Do Not Disturb Feature

Step 1

Select "Do Not Disturb" in the iPhone's main Settings screen.

Step 2

Toggle the "Manual" option to the green "on" position to disable sound immediately; for example, if you don't want the phone to ring while you're in a meeting. Toggle the "Scheduled" option to the green "on" position and select a start and end time for the Do Not Disturb feature, such as overnight.

Step 3

Tap the "Allow Calls From" tab, and then select the contacts you want to include. This overrides the Do Not Disturb feature so that the phone rings when you receive incoming calls from the selected contacts only.

Step 4

Swipe the "Repeated Calls" tab to the green "on" position to allow the phone to ring if you receive a second call from the same person.

Select "Always" under Silence if you want the iPhone to remain silent whenever it's in Do Not Disturb mode. Alternatively, choose the "Only while iPhone is locked" option.


  • The information in this article applies to the Apple iOS 7 operating system. It may vary slightly or significantly with other iOS versions.


  • In the Sound settings screen, toggle the "Vibrate on Silent" option to the grayed-out "off" position if you don't want your iPhone to vibrate when on silent mode.
  • You can also activate the "Do Not Disturb" feature manually from the Control Center function, accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the iPhone's screen.


Photo Credits

  • Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.

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