Is There a Need for Apple to Block its Devices When Their Owners Drive?

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Is There a Need for Apple to Block its Devices When Their Owners Drive?

For big problems, there are big remedies. Distractions are one of the biggest problems behind the wheel of a car and one of the most common causes of traffic accidents, often serious. And in an increasingly connected world, our mobiles have become one of the main sources of distraction. When awareness through road safety campaigns and the fear of being sanctioned are not enough, Apple has had a brilliant idea that will be one of the novelties of iOS 11, will block your iPhone while driving. But how will you know you are driving and that you are not a passenger? How will this block work? Can it be deactivated?

Please, Do Not Disturb the Driver

Apple has wanted to extend the functionality in a way, already present in the iPhone and in the previous versions of the iOS system, the “Do not disturb” mode. So now there will be a new “Do not disturb while driving” mode that will continue blocking calls, text messages and notifications and that will make our iPhone show a beautiful black screen while driving, as it showed Craig Federighi (VP Software Engineering of Apple) at the presentation of their developer event at WWDC 2017.

But, evidently, this mode has to go beyond the “Do not disturb” mode that we already knew. So the great novelty and the contribution of this new way to not disturb the driver will be its ability to interpret that the user of an iPhone is driving and dissuade us from taking the phone including, among other things, automatic response systems for those who contact us.

This mode will not only block notifications from the iPhone, but it will also automatically detect that we are driving, and warn our contacts that they should not bother us.

But, How Will My iPhone know that I am Driving?

In the absence of testing and a more advanced technical description, Apple explained that it will resort to different techniques to interpret whether the user of an iPhone is driving. Techniques that will actually go through to analyze any indication that can be interpreted as a driving user. Indications such as, the analysis of the Wi-Fi networks that surround us, our position and our movements according to the GPS system, or that we are connected to our car via Bluetooth.

The most effective method to detect that we are driving is probably to keep the Bluetooth connection of our mobile phone always synchronized with our car. We must bear in mind that in the end, the objective of this mode is not to disconnect us, but to take advantage of the security of systems such as the “hands-free” device of our car, or CarPlay.

People worry about being disconnected from their devices for periods of time because they fear that someone cannot communicate with them in case of an emergency or other urgent situations. Although somehow we managed to survive before smartphones were ubiquitous, it is almost impossible to return to that state. We are always connected, and it seems that we cannot be connected, even if it is during a short trip to work or school.

Parents can also choose to enable the new Do Not Disturb function while driving for their teenage drivers by enabling it in the Restrictions menu (parental controls) in the iOS Settings. You can also turn it off and on from the newly renovated Control Center, where there is a widget available that allows you to enable the function at the touch of a button.

While it is on, your phone’s screen is dark and only critical alerts are activated. The configuration of the function also allows you to customize the text that is sent and specify who will receive it (Contacts, Favorites, etc.)

What If I am Not Driving?

When you try to unlock an iPhone that has automatically activated the “Do not disturb while driving” mode, an option will appear that allows you to unlock this mode so that the notifications reappear. Once we deactivate it, our iPhone will work again as before. The “Do not disturb while driving” mode can also be deactivated completely, to prevent it from activating automatically.

Our iPhone will use Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS connections to analyze indications that the user is driving. Also, if you are a passenger, you can choose to temporarily disable the function

How Will Siri Automatically Respond To My Contacts?

Another of the most interesting options will be a system that, while we have activated this mode, will notify those contacts that write us that we are driving, and that will receive a response when we arrive at our destination. It is also interesting that these contacts can skip the protection, at a given moment, if the message they have to communicate to us is urgent. In any case, again, the safest solution to contact a driver while your iPhone has been blocked will be to make a call, assuming that driver has synchronized with your car the “hands-free”.

In short, it does not seem that Apple has solved a really serious problem, that of distractions at the wheel, and that of the growing dependence on our mobile devices. What is clear is that with this mode, whose operation is not much less complex, we have fewer and fewer excuses to continue manipulating our mobile phone while driving.


This version of iOS 11 comes with iMessages redesigned and synchronized with iCloud, and end-to-end encryption. Apple Pay, the company’s mobile payment system, now supports transfers between contacts through iMessages and the security offered by Touch ID.

The company uses deep learning technology to improve interaction with Siri and make the voice sound better. Now, the digital assistant offers instant translations in German, Chinese, French, Spanish and Italian, although the company hopes to extend it to other languages.

As for the Camera, iOS 11 introduces the HEVC format (high-efficiency video encoding). Another novelty that offers iOS 11 is a complete redesign of the control panel, now on a single page and with support for 3D Touch.

Apple Music lets you see what our contacts have been listening to. App Store celebrates 9 years and celebrates it from Apple with a complete redesign of the online store. Enter the Today tab, which allows you to discover new applications and games. The games, in addition, show the integrated purchases broken down.