Receive Emergency Calls When Phone Is On Silent

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you’ll have seen that very recently we had to evacuate our home due to a forest fire that was pretty close to our house. Luckily, when the evacuation order came through from the Sheriff’s department, I happened to be looking at my phone and I see the call come through. However, usually, I have my phone on Silent when I am asleep and would have missed it. Many of our neighbors missed the call to evacuate, as like me, they have their phones on silent when they are asleep. Luckily the Sherri’s department sent officers to our community to knock on door to make sure everyone was evacuated safely.

So I decided to try and figure out if it was possible to have my phone on silent, but still have Emergency calls ring the phone so I don’t miss them. It turns out, it is possible and it’s pretty straight forward. I’ve documented the steps for both Android (Oreo, v8) and Apple iOS (v11) below. (This post assumes you know your way around your phone. If you are not confident with your phones settings, please ask someone to help you).

Android

The first thing you’ll need to do is add the emergency numbers into your phone’s contacts. I also added in my close family, so if they are calling me, I’ll hear their calls even if my phone is on silent. Once you have your contacts added, you need to ‘Star’ those contacts.

  1. Go to the ‘Phone’ app
  2. Go to the ‘Contacts’ section
  3. Select the contact(s) that you want to allow to ring even when your phone is on silent.
  4. Tap the ‘Star’ in the top right hand corner

Once you have your contacts starred, you now need to edit your ‘Do not disturb’ settings

  1. Open the ‘Settings’ on your phone
  2. Select ‘Set Do Not Disturb rules’
  3. Select ‘Priority only allows’
  4. In the ‘Call’ section select ‘From starred contacts only’
  5. If you want messages from those contacts to also reach you, in the ‘Messages’ section select ‘From starred contacts only’

android do not disturb

Now when you go to bed at night, you need to make sure you enable ‘Do not disturb – Priority Mode’.

  1. Swipe down twice from the top of the phone
  2. Located the ‘Do not disturb’ icon and click the text below it to open the ‘Do not disturb’ settings
  3. If ‘Do Not Disturb is off’, toggle the little button on the top right hand corner
  4. Select ‘Priority Only’
  5. Select ‘Done’

Now run some tests to make sure everything is working as expected. Get someone to call you who isn’t a ‘starred contact’ to make sure the phone stays silent. Then get one of your ‘starred contacts’ to call you to make sure the phone rings as expected.

Apple iOS

The first thing you’ll need to do is add the emergency numbers into your phone’s contacts. I also added in my close family, so if they are calling me, I’ll hear their calls even if my phone is on silent. Once you have your contacts added, you need to add those contacts to your ‘Favorites’

  • Go to the ‘Phone’ app
  • Go to the ‘Contacts’ section
  • Select the contact(s) that you want to allow to ring even when your phone is on silent.
  • Select ‘Add to Favorites’ from bottom menu

Once you have your contacts add to Favorites, you now need to edit your ‘Do not disturb’ settings

  • Open the ‘Settings’ on your phone
  • Select ‘Set Do Not Disturb’
  • Under the ‘Allow Calls From’ section, select ‘Favorites’

ios do not disturbNow when you go to bed at night, you need to make sure you enable ‘Do not disturb’.

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the phone
  2. Select the Moon icon – Your phone will tell you that ‘Do not disturb” On’

Now run some tests to make sure everything is working as expected. Get someone to call you who isn’t a ‘starred contact’ to make sure the phone stays silent. Then get one of your ‘starred contacts’ to call you to make sure the phone rings as expected.

I hope that all makes sense. Please let me know if something isn’t clear and I’ll try and add in some additional details.

 
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