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How to turn on Do Not Disturb mode in macOS

Do Not Disturb in macOS

Do Not Disturb has been a feature of Apple devices since iOS 6, but Apple has since brought the feature to macOS. Here's how to use it.

Notifications can be a blessing and a curse. They help us know about important events, such as an email from the boss. But with multiple apps sending notifications, they can quickly become overwhelming, and important data can be lost.

With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple integrated Do Not Disturb into a new feature called Focus. Focus Mode works similarly to Do Not Disturb, but users can customize it for better fine-tuning.

Do Not Disturb works in the same way as it always has, and it's just in a slightly different place now.

Enable Do Not Disturb on Mac

There are several ways to enable Do Not Disturb on the Mac. The setting offers controls over notifications and phone calls, and users can configure it to turn on automatically.

  1. In the upper-right of the menu bar, there will be a square icon that looks like two toggles stacked on top of each other.
  2. Click on this and select Focus.
  3. Under Focus, Do Not Disturb is found. There is an option to turn it on for one hour or until "this evening," which may depend on the time zone. For Eastern Time, it shows 7:00 PM.
  4. Clicking on Focus Preferences opens the setting inside System Preferences > Notifications & Focus, which is the second way to find Do Not Disturb.

Do Not Disturb Options

Inside the view in System Preferences, the Focus tab has two menus, one called "Allow Notifications From." Clicking the Options button on the right shows options to allow time-sensitive notifications, allow calls from various contact groups, and allow repeated calls.

Users can turn on Do Not Disturb in System Preferences and in the menu bar
Users can turn on Do Not Disturb in System Preferences and in the menu bar

The Turn On Automatically menu allows for three types of automation when the plus button is clicked: Add Time Based Automation, Add Location Based Automation, and Add App Based Automation.

Adding a Time Based Automation creates a time and day range for Do Not Disturb to turn on automatically. For example, users could turn it on from 9:00 PM to 9:00 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Or, other times and dates can be chosen.

Adding a Location Based Automation will automatically turn on Do Not Disturb when a person travels to their chosen location, such as work.

Finally, adding an App Based Automation will turn on Do Not Disturb when chosen apps are in use. It's a great option to silence notifications when watching a movie in the Apple TV app, for example.

At the bottom of the window in System Preferences are two checkboxes. One, called Share Focus Status, will tell apps that the user is silencing notifications and allow people to notify them anyway if something is essential.

The second check box at the bottom-left of Notifications & Focus will share the Do Not Disturb settings across Apple devices with the same Apple ID. The box can also be unchecked to let each device have its own settings for Do Not Disturb.