Silence All Sounds During Meetings

As someone who commonly interviews people for podcasts, I’m writing this little article mostly for my own benefit – to share with potential guests. But I figure a lot of people will find this useful, so I’m going to make it public.

iPhone (and iPad)

On an iPhone, it’s the only switch on the device (as opposed to a button). It’s usually by the volume up/down buttons. Just toggle it so that you see the red. This will silence your phone, but sometimes even the vibration can be loud enough to hear in a meeting.

In iOS 15, Apple has introduced an even better way to silence your phone. It’s called Focus Mode – and it has the added advantage of controlling all your Apple devices at once. That is, if you put your iPhone in Focus mode, the settings will affect your MacBook, as well – and vice versa. (This will require Apple’s new macOS release called Monterey, which will be out any day now.) As this article says, it’s Do Not Disturb on steroids. Here is the official article from Apple on how to set up Focus. But from your iPhone (or iPad), go to Settings, then Focus, then select Do Not Disturb. You can customize this or any Focus mode from this same settings dialog, including creating your own specialized Focus modes.

Android Phone (or Tablet)

Unlike Apple’s iPhones, Android phones are made by several different manufacturers. Your phone may or may not have a dedicated “vibrate mode” switch. But the software should still have the vibrate and mute features. Hit one of the volume buttons. This should bring up a volume slider on the screen. At the right, tap the “Ring” icon (looks like a bell). Then tape either “Vibrate” or “Mute”. For more details and help, click here.

Mac Computer

As mentioned above, when you get macOS Monterey (11.7) installed, you should just use Focus mode. It will affect all of your Apple devices at once, which is great.

However, until then, assuming you’re at least running macOS Big Sur (11.6), you can use Focus’s little brother Do Not Disturb mode. To do this, open the Control Center by going to the upper right and clicking the icon that looks like two little sliders (one left and off, one right and on). Then click the Do Not Disturb button (with the little moon symbol), then select your option for how long you want it to last. (Note that if you click the moon icon, it will just make it always on – if you click the “Do Not Disturb” text, you’ll see timing options.) You can find more info here.

Windows PC

Windows 10 has a feature called Focus Assist (previously called “Quiet Hours”) that is similar to a do-not-disturb mode. Click the Action Center icon a the lower right of the screen (looks like a rectangular speech bubble). Click on the “Focus Assist” button to toggle through the modes. “Alarm only” is probably what you want here.

Windows 11 changed this setting for some reason. It’s not as easy to get to. Go to Start > Settings > System > Focus assist. Again, I’d probably go with “Alarm only”.

Microsoft has an article here that explains how to enable these modes.