How to Turn OFF Driving Mode on iPhone

By John Adebimitan

iPhones have evolved so much in recent times, and with the iOS 16 rolling in with lots of new and amazing features, there’s no telling what future iOS updates will bring. While some are already getting acquainted with the newly added features, others are still stuck trying to figure them out, and the rest don’t even know they exist.

Questions about how to use some of these new features have been flying about. One of which is how to turn off driving mode on iPhones. If you don’t already know the answer to this, you’re in luck. This article answers the question and even has something for Android users.

How to Enable Driving Mode On iPhone

To enable driving mode on iPhone iOS 15, go to Settings >> Focus >> Driving and toggle it ON. Alternatively, you can enable or disable driving mode on iPhone by swiping down from the top right corner of your screen to access the control center. Next, press and hold the Focus button and select Driving to enable it – tap it again to disable it.

The same method works on iOS 16, but if you have customized a lock screen for driving focus, you can press and hold your lock screen and swipe right or left to select the lock screen you customized for the driving focus. This action will turn it on, and you can turn it off by switching to another lock screen.

To customize a lock screen for driving mode on iPhone iOS 16;

  1. Go to Settings >> Focus >> Driving
  2. Under the Customize screens section, tap Choose under the screen you want to customize (you can also customize your Apple watch screen)
  3. You can create a new screen by tapping Gallery under Create a New Lock Screen or choose from the existing ones
  4. After customizing, you can simply switch to the driving mode lock screen to enable it
  5. To disable it, try unlocking your phone and click on I’m Not Driving to disable it
  6. Another way to disable it is to tap the Driving icon at the bottom of your lock screen and then tap Driving again to disable it

You can also customize the settings of driving mode on iPhone. For example, you can choose for it to turn on automatically based on motion, when you connect to your car’s Bluetooth, when connected to CarPlay, or manually. You can also choose whose notifications and calls come in and set an auto-reply message and who to send them to.

To set an auto-reply message and who to send them to, go to Settings >> Focus >> Driving >> Auto-Reply. You can choose to use the default message or type in yours. In addition, you can select Recents, Favourites, or All Contacts to send auto-replies.

To customize the allowed notifications, go back to the Driving page and tap People under Allowed Notifications. Next, tap the plus sign to add people whose notifications can come in while in driving mode and tap Calls From under Also Allow to allow calls from either Everyone, Favourites, or All Contacts while in driving mode.

Think of the driving mode as a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode specifically for driving. It is part of the new ‘Focus’ feature on iPhone that allows users to customize a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode for different purposes.

Top Ways To Turn Off Driving Mode On iPhone iOS 12, 11, 10, 8

To turn off driving mode on iPhone iOS 12 and 11;

  1. Go to Settings >> Do Not Disturb
  2. Scroll down and tap Activate under Do Not Disturb While Driving
  3. Select Manually
  4. You should now see a car icon in your control center
  5. Swipe up from the bottom of your phone screen to access the control center and tap the car icon to turn it off or on

If you don’t see the car icon in your control center after following the above steps, you will need to add it yourself. To do that;

  1. Go to Settings >> Control Centre >> Customize Controls
  2. Tap the plus sign next to Do Not Disturb While Driving
  3. Swipe up from the bottom of your phone screen to access the control center; the icon should be there now
  4. You should note that if you chose Automatically instead of Manually, as explained in the steps above, this method will only disable driving mode temporarily – if your phone detects a driving motion, it will automatically turn it back ON. And if you select When Connected to Car Bluetooth instead, it will be turned back ON accordingly.

NOTE: Driving mode on iPhone is only available on iOS 11 and later.

Use Driving Focus On Your iPhone To Concentrate On The Road

Driving focus or driving mode on iPhone is a focus feature that helps you to fully concentrate on the road ahead – leaving calls, texts, and other notifications silenced till later. This feature is available on iOS 15 and later. Once turned on and properly set up, it silences all notifications as per your preferences and allows you to ask Siri to read replies to you. In addition, you may choose to allow calls/texts from some people, allow repeated calls, or silence all notifications.

Additionally, the driving focus feature can send auto-replies on your behalf. You can use the default auto-reply message or type in your preferred message. It also allows you to choose who to send the auto-reply to.

To enable and customize your driving focus settings;

  1. Go to Settings >> Focus
  2. Tap the plus sign at the top right corner of the screen
  3. Select Driving >> Customise Focus

You can also choose to share your focus status in apps – this means that you can grant permission for apps to share that you have your notifications silenced while using the driving focus or any other focus profile. So, if someone wanted to reach out to you via one of the apps you have allowed to share your focus status, it will inform the person that your notifications are silenced, and you will receive them later.

To share your focus status, go to Settings >> Focus >> Focus Status and toggle on Driving.

Driving Mode Equivalent Features On Android Devices

One of the best and most popular iOS driving focus equivalents for Android devices is Google Assistant’s Driving Mode. This feature makes texting and making calls easier, so you’re not spending too much time on your phone while driving. It also sections all your music together and makes buttons large/more visible.

It can also read texts to you and let you know who is calling so you won’t pick up your phone when you don’t need to. You can also add a driving mode shortcut to your home screen. Once the driving mode is activated, the following shortcuts will be displayed on the homepage;

  1. A search bar to search your destination
  2. ‘Make a call’ widget
  3. ‘Send a message’ widget
  4. Media widget
  5. Google Assistant
  6. App drawer

If you open the app drawer, you will see that you can also make a call, send a message, or access your media from this page. You will also see driving-friendly apps that open into a simpler version of themselves.

To find and customize Google Assistant’s Driving Mode;

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down and select Google
  3. Scroll down again and select Settings for Google apps > Search, Assistant & Voice > Google Assistant
  4. Scroll to the bottom and select Transportation
  5. Scroll again and select Driving Mode
  6. Here, you can choose how to activate the driving mode; you can choose for it to be turned on When navigating in Google Maps, When connected to car’s Bluetooth, or When driving is detected. You can also choose the ‘Hey Google’ detection option; driving mode will be activated when you say, ‘Hey Google, let’s drive.’
  7. We recommend turning on the When navigating in Google Maps option and any of the other two.
  8. If you choose the last option, you can also choose for it to Ask before launching in cases where you’re not the one driving – this option is available for the second option as well
  9. On this page, you can also toggle on Allow incoming calls while driving and Get messaging help while driving to allow Google Assistant to read your messages out to you
  10. To stop driving mode from turning on automatically, toggle off When navigating in Google Maps, select Do Nothing for the ‘When connected to car’s Bluetooth’ and ‘When driving is detected’ options, and turn on the ‘Hey Google’ detection option

Some other driving mode equivalents for Android devices include;

  1. AutoMate

This might be the better option if you’re a fan of old-fashioned apps with older UI standards. While it might not look like it, AutoMate is a great Android Auto replacement. It offers a simple look with tabs at the bottom for navigation, phone, homepage, media, and shortcuts. However, it is important to note that it has some bugs and is unlikely to be updated.

  • AutoZen

AutoZen can be seen as a modern version of AutoMate, with a similar layout, better UI, and more features. It offers a dedicated panel for notifications, auto-reply options, a wider range of supported apps, and dedicated apps for weather and calendar appointments.

  • Drivemode

Moving on to a unique option, Drivemode went in a different direction with its UI and functionality. Instead of tabs, buttons, or widgets, Drivemode allows drivers to safely and easily access the most important features on their phones via a simple swipe or voice navigation. The app might take some getting used to, but if you can get used to it, it might be the better option for you.

  • Split-screen apps

This is not an app option but an already built-in Android feature. If you have a modern Android device, you probably have figured out by now that you can split your screen into two for two different apps. By doing this, you can make your phone more driving-friendly by having Google Maps on one side and your preferred music player on the other. This feature works with both portrait and landscape modes.

  • Android Auto App Mode/Android Auto

The Android Auto App Mode allows you to project your smartphone’s interface onto your car’s dashboard touchscreen display. This option is only available for compatible vehicles. If your car is incompatible, you can use the standard Android Auto with your phone screen.

Conclusion

Now that you are a little more conversant with the driving mode on iPhone, you can use it to protect yourself and stay focused on the road. You can also educate your friends, family, and colleagues on how to use and turn off driving mode on iPhone.

About The Author