iOS Tip: ‘Smart Activation’ for Do Not Disturb Turns Off Notification During Screen Recordings

Earlier today I was making a screen recording on my iPhone to share with a friend, and during the recording, a notification for a text message arrived. It wasn’t particularly personal, but I made another take of the screen recording anyway. This has happened to me numerous times before — sort of a Murphy’s Law thing, like buttered toast always seeming to fall wrong-side down. It occurred to me that Do Not Disturb should turn on automatically when you’re recording your screen, and I posted the idea to Mastodon.

Glad I did. Because Cabel Sasser replied that it already worked like that for him, and then Jason Walke — my favorite person in the world today — explained that this is enabled by turning on “Smart Activation” for Do Not Disturb mode.

Go to Settings → Focus → Do Not Disturb, and under “Set a Schedule”, tap Add Schedule and enable Smart Activation. Now, when you start a screen recording, Do Not Disturb turns on automatically, and it turns itself off a few seconds after you finish recording. I’m not sure what else triggers Smart Activation — the description in Settings is pretty vague — but for screen recordings this is just what I wanted.

(Ryan Jones chimed in with a good idea: an option to automatically beautify the status bar in screen recordings: removing any extraneous icons (like the Do Not Disturb moon), showing perfect cellular and Wi-Fi signal strength, and having the battery show 100 percent. “Presenter Mode” more or less.)

Tuesday, 7 November 2023