This iPhone trick lets you select contacts to bypass Silent and Focus modes — use your smartphone on silent without missing calls from the most important people in your life

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(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Notifications are key to the way you use your iPhone, alerting you of important information throughout your day. They can, however, bombard your life and cause anxiety by continuously spamming pop-ups that you don’t necessarily need to see all the time. One way of getting rid of notifications for a set amount of time is by using your iPhone in Silent mode or in a Focus mode like Do Not Disturb. But what if you still want to receive calls and text messages from the most important people in your life while on your notification detox? Well, you’re in luck and I’m going to show you how.

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Emergency Bypass is a must

There are a couple of ways to receive calls from contacts when using Focus modes like Do Not Disturb or even just iOS’s Silent mode. That said, this iPhone trick is specifically for those who just want to use their iPhone with no distractions but don’t want the faff of using the Focus mode feature.

By turning on Emergency Bypass for a contact you’ll get vibrations and ringtones for a contact even when your device is set to silent or a Focus mode is on. This is perfect for people who like to use Silent Mode but still want to hear ringtones from their loved ones or for important work calls. Here’s how:

  1. Open Contacts
  2. Select a contact
  3. Tap Edit, then Ringtone
  4. Toggle on Emergency Bypass

Now whenever the chosen contact phones or texts you’ll receive an alert despite your iPhone’s notification state. It’s a really great way to switch off from the world without worrying about missing those important people in your life.

While you can’t tweak and alter settings as much as you can by using Focus mode, this simple trick is easy enough for anyone to use and makes a huge difference to the way you use your iPhone.

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.