Iphone app - bypass DND mode

Trying to find out if anyone has any suggestions for using the iphone app. I use do not disturb mode overnight, and I know I can allow phone numbers to ignore DND mode and I know I can configure PD to call my cell but was wondering if anyone else has a better (or different) way.

If not I can just change the order of notifications.

Hi David!

I’m an engineer on the PagerDuty mobile team. Firstly, thanks for using the PagerDuty mobile app :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, right now Apple’s APIs do not allow our app to override Do Not Disturb mode or the system volume on iOS. If this changes in the future and Apple exposes public APIs for this, we can investigate ways to implement the feature to override system volume for push notifications.

As a workaround, if you are on iOS 10, each individual contact in the Contacts app has a dedicated switch, called Emergency Bypass, which overrides the Do Not Disturb feature for that person. You could add PagerDuty numbers (you can find these here) as a contact and enable this bypass mode. This feature lets you permit sound for phone and text notifications even when Do Not Disturb is enabled globally in your Settings. You can enable it by going to a Contact -> Edit -> Ringtone -> Toggle Emergency Bypass.

Hope this helps!


It also appears that if you have Messages connected to your iPhone to receive SMS notifications, that may prevent your iPhone from notifying you of an incoming message. I just discovered this because my SMS messages were STILL not coming through despite setting the contact to Emergency Bypass. iPhone was in Do Not Disturb mode, screen was blank, no SMS coming through … because my Mac intercepted it. As soon as I disabled the account in Messages on the Mac, my test SMS came through as expected.


I found the perfect workaround! I switched from iPhone to Google Pixel 2
and I just use their sensible settings to override do not disturb :slight_smile:

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I switched from iPhone to Google Pixel 2 …

So tempted … the ability to override DND for push notifications seems like a no-brainer, but I guess we’re not truly the target market for the iPhone. I’m squeezing every last penny out of my iPhone 5s, then we’ll see.

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I was annoyed at first also, but in fact defeating DND even in cases like this makes DND pretty useless. There are so many situations like concerts, many Doctors offices, and similar where DND has to work, Period. Defeating DND and getting a PagerDuty alert at, lets say, a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert would be very bad indeed. Our PagerDuty escalation policies take care of real DND situations. On our team we also try to make sure that the secondary knows when we are DND in case the call escalates.

So I no longer am worried that a single app like PagerDuty can defeat DND.

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Pete, it also has a work mode that let’s you turn off all work related apps
so you can pretend you don’t work in tech for weekends etc. It’s a huge
improvement to my life and I was apple all the way.

David, I assume, then, that there’s play mode to do the inverse and turn off all the crap I don’t need to consume during the day? :wink: Yeah, the Pixel 2 is really tempting, for sure.

It seems Apple does provide support for this these days: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/usernotifications/unnotificationsettings/2963116-criticalalertsetting

Please consider implementing this.

Please oh please do more than consider it :grinning:


Hi! Ryan from the mobile team here.

This feature has been on our roadmap since it was announced, and I know it will bring a lot of value to our users. We are in the process of applying for an entitlement to serve Critical Alerts (still waiting!) from Apple and then will release a build once/if it’s approved.

We agree with you… Critical Alerts is a perfect fit for our product and what we use it for. We are working on this as hard as we can!


It’s great to hear this process is already underway! Could you keep us posted in this thread when there are updates on this? (ie: when Apple approves (or not))

Count on it! I’ll let you know either way.


There’s a good (but not obvious) workaround in iOS. You can set Emergency Bypass on contacts for both SMS and phone calls, which allow those contacts to bypass Do Not Disturb.

First, ensure that you have a PagerDuty contact set up in your contacts list, and add the phone numbers that PagerDuty calls and texts from to that contact.

Second, follow the instructions here to enable Emergency Bypass on that contact’s ring tone and contact tone. https://www.tekrevue.com/tip/iphone-emergency-bypass/

Then you want to ensure that you have PagerDuty’s notification rules configured to notify you via text and/or phone call. My preference is:

  • Immediately: send a push notification via the app. This will use whatever sound you have configured in PagerDuty, but will honor Do Not Disturb.

  • After 1 minute (and again after 2 minutes): text me via SMS on my phone. I have a custom text tone for the PagerDuty contact which is a quick, subtle sound and vibration. This will bypass Do Not Disturb, but if it goes off sometime where silence is preferred, it’s really subtle. You could even set this to no sound, JUST vibrate. So you can get a very subtle notification even in Do Not Disturb.

  • After 3 minutes (and again after 4 minutes): call me on my phone. I have a custom ring tone for the PagerDuty contact which is a distinct sound and vibration. This will bypass Do Not Disturb. You could even set this to no sound, JUST vibrate. So you can get a very subtle (or not subtle) notification even in Do Not Disturb.


Unfortunately, for me the Emergency Bypass that is not an option. Half the time I receive a call from PagerDuty the number shows “unknown”, so those rules are not applied. This could be due to me being in Japan, or the phone carrier I’m on (AU), or whatever other local reason. I don’t know.

But I like your approach :slight_smile:

Any news on the Critical Alerts entitlement?



Hey all! Leena here from the mobile team. Thank you for your patience with us as we try to figure out our limitations and possibilities here.

We’ve applied for permission to override Do Not Disturb, and have also been talking with Apple and unfortunately we will not be able to offer this functionality at this time. Their API is not available for our use case - they are currently limiting it to “medical- and health-related notifications, home- and security-related notifications, and public safety notifications”.
We’ve gone ahead and sent in an enhancement request with Apple to expand the use case, and we’re using all your requests to justify our ask. We’ll be checking in with them every few months to see if the use cases have expanded and we assure you we will be incorporating it as soon as we can.

We’ll keep you posted here in the future with any updates as well.


Any new @rwalberg about the Critical Alerts entitlement ?

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What is the update on the iphone DND topic? I noticed the other chat was closed as “not commented on” in X days. But this features needs to become a reality.

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Hey Brian!
Leena here from the Mobile Team. Unfortunately we’re still not able to bypass Do Not Disturb. Trust me, we would also love for it to become a reality!
As of right now, Apple continues to have enforced limitations that only allows medical and health related notifications, home and security notifications, and public safety notifications to bypass DND.
We continue to stay in touch with Apple and provide our feedback, but you can help us out by providing Apple with your feedback here.

We’ll keep everybody posted if anything changes.

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