How to use Do Not Disturb automatic rules in Marshmallow

Gain more control over how and when your Android device goes into silent mode by using automatic rules.

Image: Jack Wallen

The Do Not Disturb feature arrived in Android Lollipop, and many users weren't impressed. Google heard the cries, and made some changes with the system. One improvement is the ability to create automatic rules for Do Not Disturb. With this new addition, you can create rules that will automatically govern when Android goes into Do Not Disturb mode.

Say, for example, you want your Android device to go into Do Not Disturb mode at bedtime, or during meetings, or during calendar events. The Android developers have made preventing your device from disturbing you during important moments automatic and incredibly easy.

Let's walk through the process of creating automatic rules.

SEE: Android Marshmallow: The smart person's guide

Getting to the rules

The first thing you have to know is how to get to the screen where you set automatic rules. If you pull down the notification bar twice and tap the Do Not Disturb icon twice (Figure A), you'll see the basic settings window.

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen
The Total Silence Do Not Disturb icon on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.

Once you're in the basic settings windows, tap the MORE SETTINGS button, and you'll find yourself in the Do Not Disturb settings. Tap Automatic Rules, and you're ready to create your first rule.

Creating rules

You need to decide if you want to create a time- or an event-based rule. As the time-based rules are self-explanatory, let's set up an event-based rule using events from a Google Calendar.

  1. Tap Add Rule.
  2. Give the rule a name and tap Event Rule.
  3. Tap OK.
  4. In the next window, tap During Events For (Figure B).
  5. From the drop-down, select the Google account to be used.
  6. Tap Where Reply Is and tap Yes from the drop-down.
  7. Tap Do Not Disturb and tap Total Silence.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen
Creating an event-based automatic rule for Do Not Disturb.

Your rule is set, and any time you have an event on your Google calendar where you replied Yes (for attending), the device will automatically go into a Do Not Disturb mode of total silence.

Every automatic rule you create will be in effect while it is on. You can turn a rule off from within the rule settings (just tap the enable/disable slider to Off). When you need the rule again, just turn it back on.

What this feature still lacks

A really nice addition to the automatic rules would be the ability to create rules based on recurring calendar appointments. You can do this by creating time-based rules for regularly scheduled events, but if the event time fluctuates, you're out of luck.

Regardless of what the feature lacks, the ability to create automatic rules for Do Not Disturb solves a lot of issues with regards to silencing your device. Start making use of these regular rules, and you'll see how handy Marshmallow's take on Do Not Disturb can be.

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