How to Silence Calls and Notifications on iOS 15

Your iPhone is the one thing you may have with you at all times so that you don’t ever miss out on what’s happening in and around you. While the whole point of notifications is to make sure you get alerted when calls or something important comes in, most notifications that you get on your phone these days are simply a source of distraction.

If you constantly find yourself looking every time it makes a sound for unnecessary alerts, you can silence them in various different ways, depending on how you want to avoid them. In this post, we’ll help silence notifications for calls and notifications for different purposes on an iPhone running iOS 15. 

Easiest way: Use Ring/Silent switch

Consider this the killswitch for all notifications you get on your phone. The Ring/Silent switch, present on the left edge of an iPhone can be the best way to silence calls and notifications on your device.

You can check whether your iPhone is on Silent mode by checking for the color visible on the Silent switch. If you see the orange color inside the switch, it indicates that your iPhone is on Silent mode. If not, Ring mode is enabled and all notifications and calls you receive will make sounds on the iPhone. 

When enabled, your iPhone will ring neither for phone calls nor for alerts from any app installed on your phone. This way, you have full control over when your phone calls and other alerts are silenced and you can decide to flick the switch when you deem it’s necessary. 

Using the Silent switch on your iPhone doesn’t silence the speaker for other apps on your device. You can easily play audio or video content on the iPhone and adjust its volume with Silent mode enabled without any problem. 

Related: 30 Less-known iOS 15 tips and tricks!

Silence phone calls only

Unlike other notifications, phone calls are generally always treated urgently but if you, for some reason, want to silence all the calls you receive on your iPhone, there’s one way you can do that. Although there’s no native option to toggle on the silent mode just for phone calls, you can silence all incoming calls by setting a silent ringtone from the Settings app. 

Since iOS doesn’t offer a silent ringtone by default, you will have to find it externally. The easiest way to do it is by searching the internet for “silent ringtone” and downloading it in .m4r format. For best results, make sure you download the ringtone on your computer. When downloaded ringtone gets downloaded, connect your iPhone to the computer and drag the ringtone to Finder > iPhone > Manage Storage. 

After you move the ringtone to your iPhone, you can set it by going to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Ringtone and selecting the downloaded ringtone from the list of available options. 

When you set a silence ringtone as your default option, your iPhone will no longer ring when receiving phone calls. This won’t affect notifications that you get from apps installed on your device as the ringtones for them will be set separately. This way, you can get alerts for app notifications and text messages but your phone won’t ring when there’s an incoming call. 

Related: How to Disable Focus on iPhone in 11 Ways

Silence some/all app notifications

If you don’t like app notifications to ring on your iPhone but want to continue receiving them at the same frequency as before, then you may want to turn off sounds for any/all apps on the device. This way, you’ll continue to get notifications from the app without any delay and at the same time, your iPhone won’t ring constantly every time there’s a message or alert. 

To silence an app notification without disabling them, go to Settings > Notifications, select an app whose notifications you want to mute, and disable the toggle adjacent to ‘Sounds’. When you disable ‘Sounds’ for an app, this app’s notifications will appear silently on the Lock Screen and Notification Centre. To silence notifications for all apps, you will have to disable the ‘Sounds’ toggle for each and every one of your apps by repeating the above process. 

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Silence all calls except for your favorite contacts

If you want to silence all your incoming calls except for a few chosen contacts you generally talk to, you can use the Do Not Disturb function on your iPhone and whitelist people inside it. Although you can use any Focus routine available on iOS 15 or create a new one, the Do Not Disturb mode is something people are familiar with as its core functionality has remained the same throughout these years. 

To silence all calls with some exceptions, you first need to enable the Do Not Disturb feature by going to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb and turning on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ toggle. 

Once that’s done, you can assign contacts to ‘Allowed People’ so calls and texts from them come to you as soon as they’re sent.

To whitelisted contacts, select the ‘People’ section under ‘Allowed Notifications’, tap on the ‘+ Add’ button under the ‘Allowed People’ section.

Scroll through your list of contacts and select the contacts you wish to whitelist here. 

If the contacts you want to whitelist are saved as favorites on your iPhone, you can add them as an exception by selecting the ‘Favorites’ inside the ‘Calls From’ option under ‘Also Allow’. 

Since the Do Not Disturb mode that you want to use is only to silence unwanted calls, you may have to add all apps installed on your iPhone to the whitelist so that you don’t silence them as well. To add your iPhone’s apps as exceptions, go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb > Apps.

On the next screen, tap on the ‘+ Add’ button under the ‘Allowed Apps’ section.

When a list of app appears, select all of these apps (if you want to get alerts for all of them) and then tap on ‘Done’. 

The selected apps will appear inside the ‘Allowed Apps’ section.

This way, iOS will silence all phone calls except your favorite and selected contacts and none of your app notifications will go unread.  

Related: How to Leave a Group Text on iPhone

Silence all apps except for your favorite apps

If your purpose is to silence all notifications from unwanted apps but you continue to receive alerts from your favorite apps, then you can use the Do Not Disturb function on your iPhone and whitelist apps inside it. Following this method will not only ensure alerts from your favorite apps but your iPhone will also ring for the calls you receive on it. 

For this, you need to first go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb and turn on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ toggle. 

Since you’re only silencing unwanted app alerts, you may still want to be notified about incoming calls on your iPhone. This you can enable by selecting ‘People’ from under ‘Allowed Notifications’. 

Next, tap on the ‘Calls From’ option under the ‘Also Allow’ section. 

On the next screen, you can select the ‘Everyone’ option to get call alerts from everyone, including unsaved contacts. You can also choose ‘All Contacts’ if you wish to get calls from your saved contacts and avoid unwanted numbers. 

Once that’s done, go back to the Do Not Disturb screen. Here, tap the ‘Apps’ section under ‘Allowed Notifications’. 

On the next screen, select the ‘Apps’ tab at the top and then tap on the ‘+ Add’ button under the ‘Allowed Apps’ section.

Now, select the app you wish to whitelist from the list of installed apps and then tap on ‘Done’ at the top right corner of your screen.

This way, notifications from all apps except for your favorite ones will be silenced.  

Silence all alerts for a scheduled period 

If you wish to silence notifications for all calls and apps for a certain period of time, you can use the Do Not Disturb or any Focus’ Schedule option to do it. For this, go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb and turn on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ toggle. 

On this screen, scroll down and tap on the ‘Add Schedule or Automation’ option under the ‘Turn On Automatically’ section. 

Inside the New Automation screen, select ‘Time’. 

On the next screen, toggle on the ‘Schedule’ switch and choose the date and time you want DND mode to be enabled. You can set your desired time by selecting the ‘From’ and ‘To’ times and then choosing which days of the week you want this schedule to repeat from within the ‘Repeat’ section. When ready, tap on ‘Done’. 

This will enable the Do Not Disturb at your chosen schedule during which period all notifications will be silenced on your iPhone. 

Silence all alerts when you’re at a particular location

Just like you scheduled alerts to be silenced for a specific time period, you can also mute notifications from calls and apps on your iPhone based on a location you’re in. You can silence alerts this way using any Focus routine available inside iOS 15 but for the sake of simplicity, we’re using the Do No Disturb routine to set up notifications muting in this method. 

To silence all alerts at a particular location, go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb and turn on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ toggle.

On this screen, scroll down and tap on the ‘Add Schedule or Automation’ option under the ‘Turn On Automatically’ section. 

Inside the New Automation screen, select ‘Location’. 

Here, select the location from around you or search for the desired location in the search box above. When you find the location you want to set for automation, select it. 

The location will appear in a map preview at the bottom. Here, select the range for the DND mode to get activated by dragging the slider below. This is the area that your iPhone will remain silenced for unless you unmute it yourself. 

When you’re done choosing the location, tap on ‘Done’ at the top right corner. 

The chosen location will appear inside ‘Turn on automatically’.

You can add as many locations as you’d like in this section and when you’re at any one of these locations, all calls and notifications will remain silent for as long as you’re within the selected range. 

Silence all alerts when using a selected app

Similar to how you can schedule silencing of alerts at a particular time or location, you can also mute your notifications when a certain app on your iPhone is being actively used. This way, your calls, and apps won’t ring when the selected app is open on the screen. The minute this app is closed, your iPhone will switch off the silence mode and you should be able to see all kinds of notifications that you generally receive on it. 

To silence all call and app alerts when an app is active, go to Settings > Focus > Do Not Disturb and turn on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ toggle.


On this screen, scroll down and tap on the ‘Add Schedule or Automation’ option under the ‘Turn On Automatically’ section. 


Inside the New Automation screen, select ‘App’.

On the next screen, select the app you want to choose for the silent mode to kick in.

This will add the app to the ‘Turn On Automatically’ section and every time you open this app, the Do Not Disturb routine will be activated, thus silencing notifications for all the calls and apps on your iPhone. 

Silence notifications temporarily for one app

iOS 15 adds an easy way to temporarily silence app notifications without needing you to silence other apps or go to the Settings app every single time. The option to silence an app’s notifications temporarily can be accessed directly from the Lock Screen or Notification Center. 

To silence an app’s notifications on a temporary basis, make sure you have the app’s alert unread on the Lock Screen or Notification Center. When the app’s alert appears, swipe leftwards on it to reveal additional options.

Here, tap on ‘Options’. 

In the overflow menu that appears, select either of these two options to mute alerts from the app for a short period:

Mute for 1 Hour: Will silence all notifications from the app for the next hour. 

Mute for Today: Will silence all notifications from the app until the end of the day. 

When you do that, the app’s current and future notifications will continue to appear on the Lock Screen or Notification Center but your iPhone won’t ring every time there’s a new alert. 

Silence app notifications with Scheduled Summary 

With iOS 15, Apple has brought an efficient way to get urgent notifications without being distracted by unnecessary alerts from apps and people. Apple calls the new option “Scheduled Summary” and it allows you to select a bunch of apps whose low-priority notifications will be silenced for a short period but you’ll still get any urgent or time-sensitive alerts from these apps when they’re available.

You can then choose to get the low-priority notifications at a convenient time of your choice and schedule them to appear at specific intervals. This way, you won’t miss out on seeing an app’s non-urgent alerts as you’d still get them at a delayed time without feeling left out. Scheduled Summary is a way to silence alerts as it disables unimportant alerts from apps altogether and shows stuff that you may have missed in summaries format.

To silence app alerts using Scheduled Summary, go to Settings > Notifications > Scheduled Summary and enable the switch adjacent to ‘Scheduled Summary’.

If this is the first time you’re using the feature, you should see a popup menu giving you a rough overview of what Notification Summary is all about.

It’s important that you read and understand what the feature is and then decide whether or not it would be important for you.

To proceed with setting up this feature, tap on the ‘Continue’ button at the bottom.

Next, you need to select the apps that you’re okay not receiving non-urgent notifications from.

Select the app from the list and then tap on the ‘Add Apps’ button at the bottom.

Now, you need to choose how you wish to schedule notifications from these apps. Set a time for notifications for different summaries by tapping the time adjacent to each summary.

To increase the frequency of Notification Summary, tap on the ‘Add Summary’ option and select the time you want to set for it.

Once you’ve configured the setting to your preferences, tap on the ‘Turn on Notification Summary’ button at the bottom.

When it is enabled, you should see the setting toggled ON inside the ‘Scheduled Summary’ screen.

After setting up Notification Summary, you can make further modifications to the schedule by adding or removing summaries, apps you want to get notifications from, and show the next summary in advance.

Silence notifications with Focus routines

Apple revamped iOS’ DO Not Disturb function with the new Focus option on iOS 15 that allows you to create a customized routine with a different DND schedule to match your workflow. With routines enabled through Focus, you can silence a custom set of apps for different conditions based on time, location, or app used so that you can silence different apps at different times without needing to alter the conditions every single time. 

Earlier in this post, we explained how you can configure the Do Not Disturb routine on iOS 15. You can use Focus in a similar fashion and not just that, you can set up multiple DND-like routines for various occasions. During any of these occasions, you can create a Focus routine to

  • Silence all calls (except favorite contacts)
  • Silence all apps (except favorite apps)
  • Silence all calls and apps for a scheduled time
  • Silence all calls and apps for a specific location
  • Silence all calls and apps for a selected app

To set up a routine on your iPhone, go to Settings > Focus. 

If you’re setting up Focus for the first time, you’ll get the following routines by default – Do Not Disturb, Personal, Sleep, and Work.

Just like DND, you can configure these routines for different scenarios like a specific time, location, or app and create exceptions for people and apps. You will have additional options to hide notification badges, create custom pages on the home screen or dim the lock screen. The rest of the setup is identical to how we set up Do Not Disturb in different ways above. 

In addition to the four existing routines, iOS allow you to create new ones from the Focus screen by tapping on the ‘+’ icon at the top right corner.

From here, you can add focus routines for when you’re driving, doing fitness-related activities, gaming, performing actives for mindfulness, or reading as well as create a custom routine from scratch.  

Silence chat threads inside Messages

If messages on iMessage are what’s annoying you, you can simply mute them permanently to no longer receive alerts from them on the Notification Centre. When you silence chat threads this way, you will continue to get the new messages but you will have to open the Messages app on your iPhone to view them.

To silence chat threads inside Messages, open the Messages app and select the thread you want to mute.

When the selected thread opens up, tap on the person or group’s name or icon at the top.

In the account/group info screen that appears, scroll down and enable the ‘Hide Alerts’ toggle.

That’s all you need to know about silencing calls, messages, and apps on iOS 15. 

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Ajaay

Ambivalent, unprecedented, and on the run from everyone's idea of reality. A consonance of love for filter coffee, cold weather, Arsenal, AC/DC, and Sinatra.

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