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Google Pixel 2 will automatically enable Do Not Disturb if you're driving

The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL feature a lot of improvements and new features compared to their predecessors, but perhaps one of the coolest additions is Pixel Ambient Services. This is the application that allows the Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL to automatically identify songs that are playing in the background, but that's apparently not all it'll be able to do from day one.

Google listed the Pixel Ambient Services (opens in new tab) app on the Play Store right ahead of its unveiling for the Pixel 2, and while this offers a handful of screenshots for how the music ID feature will work, there's another screenshot that reveals a feature Google didn't mention at its big event – automatic Do Not Disturb while driving.

According to the screenshot, this new "Driving" mode "automatically turns on Do Not Disturb while you're in a moving vehicle, determined by device motion and Bluetooth connections." It appears that your Do Not Disturb profile is set to Total Silence by default, but there should be the option to change it to either Alarms Only or Priority Only if you'd like.

It can be far too easy these days to get distracted while on the road, so it's nice to see that Google is including a small touch like this to hopefully encourage people to leave their phone alone while zipping along at breakneck speeds. However, if you're a passenger in a vehicle and want to make sure that your phone doesn't think you're driving, you do have the option to toggle this Driving mode off to ensure you don't miss any notifications.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

62 Comments
  • I like this, it's too tempting to quickly check a notification. Make it an option across all Android phones!
  • I can't stand it when I get a call or a text while I'm driving. I mean I really hate it. There is no message that is important enough to disturb me while I am in route driving. I don't care who it is or the reason. This feature is most welcome. Thanks again Google for making things easier and better.
  • I would like a mobile app that I call “Can't speak”. How does it work? Before driving you hit the “Can’t Speak” button. The phone goes into hands free mode upon being called by a third party. Now the key. The phone automatically answers and works as a mobile phone with the Microphone muted. A message is played to the caller. “I am driving and I prefer not to hold a conversation but I can hear you so please briefly explain why you are calling and if necessary I will call you back as soon as it is safe to do so. Your message is also being recorded.”
  • Seems like a setting they should have added to android auto. It already limits texting. A complete call block could be optional.
  • Use voice command texting
  • Yep, been using it since launch...
  • Android Auto automatically puts the phone in DND, though there aren't any adjustable settings.
  • This is a feature I've been missing a lot since I switched from Windows 10 mobile to Android. Happy to finally have it back!
  • Yeah i also miss it reading my texts over Bluetooth which windows phone/mobile also did. Really hope Google bring this in as it was great when I was biking and be even better now I'm driving.
  • Why would you want a 3rd party to decide when you receive calls and messages? Are you not responsible enough to decide when to ignor a call and when to pull off of the road and take it.
  • Good. I hope everyone in New York buys this phone.
  • Nope. Going to be disabled right away.
  • Reason?
  • I'm a big boy, no babysitting needed. Principle of the matter. Oh, I also hate seatbelt laws.
  • You are just a rebel without a cause lol
  • He's going platinum too!!!!
  • Lol
  • I am not interested in an automatic Do Not Disturb mode. I'm a responsible driver, and I want to receive my messages immediately.
  • That is the opposite of being a responsible driver.
  • Savdini, you are a moron if you honestly believe that. Wanting to receive important alerts IS responsible. Responding to them while driving is the irresponsible part.
  • Taking your eyes off the road to read that important alert is responsible? How does that make any sense?
  • No one said that you have to read the alert! It's a notification. Responsible driver's will pull over and read and respond. Dnd is not the answer because it stops you from hearing that someone is trying to reach you.
  • I wonder how the world kept spinning before everyone became so important that they can't be unreachable for certain times during the day. Noting could have gotten done!
  • People in this wonderful era that you speak of, didn't buy $500-$1000 devices specifically designed to notify them.
  • You miss the point. Don't worry about it ;)
  • Oh, like trying to tell you you left without something you needed?
  • If it is voice, yes. By all means. If it is text, then no. You don't need one when behind the wheel. All I mean. Nobody should read a text EVER when driving. Ever.
  • I agree with your statement 100%, but just to play devil's advocate. How much worse is reading a text, than say searching through a hounded channels on satellite radio to find a specic football or baseball game to listen too. My point is that as technology improves, we will constantly have something to take our eyes off the road. "Texting and driving" has just become a catch phrase associated with much larger problem. The 8" touchscreen installed by my car manufacturer is just as dangerous as the 6 " display in my cupholder. But they all serve a purpose. We, as people need to be responsible as drivers to know when to use them and when not to. Or suffer the consequences.
  • The contradiction is strong in this one
  • Non-optimal strategy! Android should, when you receive a text or notification, alert you through Bluetooth or speaker - COMPLETELY HANDS FREE - like this: "New message from Joe Maring. Would you like me to read it, call back or ignore?" If the message is read, Google Assistant (GA) should offer: "Would you like to reply, call back or are you done?" Again, completely hands free and screen free (why Android/Apple think that posting messages to a screen on the dash is any less distracting than having it on the phone is beyond common sense). Given that Windows Phone was doing it as I've just described since 2014, anything less - anything that requires more than voice commands - is criminally negligent.
  • You know, if they didn't make texting and driving illegal in VA (and other states I'm sure) we all wouldn't have to hid our phones in our lap and look down to check them. They would be right up there in front of our face just like the dashboard notifications currently are.
    It's like they made a law to resolve a problem, that didn't resolve it. Then made technology to put it in a front facing manner, which is what I was doing in the first place
  • Android Auto does something like this
  • I used Android Auto a little. It wasn't, to the best of my knowledge, completely hands free. You still had to select the messages section (instead of maps or music. But, I did get to use Waze over Android Auto and liked that.
  • Have you enabled Android Auto? It does exactly this, exactly as you described. Works on any Android phone as well.
  • Not all Android users have Android Auto.
  • My car does that for me
  • Your assuming that the car has Bluetooth. I would say the majority do not.
  • What if you are a passenger?
  • You would have to turn it off while in a car.
  • That is INSANE!
  • Sounds good in theory but not always in practice. imagine someone trying to reach you while driving "Don't worry about picking me up at the airport, my flight was cancelled" This after you spent 2 hours on your drive to the airport.
  • Ahh that would suck.
  • Hopefully Android auto will continue to works as it does today with messages and phone calls.
  • Well this would be disable on my phone, i don't text and drive but I do want to know when I get a phone call, I have Bluetooth enabled and can answer and make calls without looking at my phone with the push of a button. I don't want to miss an important or emergency call.
  • Agreed! I would never own a phone that decides when to and when not to alert me. You know, it's sole function.
  • "OK Google, read my last text message" works great. My stereo has great phone integration, so I can do pretty much anything using voice commands with the phone in the trunk or pocket. The stereo remote even has answer and hang up buttons on it, lol.
  • I laugh at people who crave oversight and government restrictions. I can here the slaves now saying how they would love it if this "feature" wasn't optional but majority.
  • Including ambient display and the always listening, pixel is slowly adopting the features of the Moto X
  • Remember when Google bought Motorola? There you go
  • Screw this! My livelyhood is based on an "on call" work schedule. A missed call or missed alert can literally cost me thousands of dollars. I will be the one who decides to take a hands free call in my car (which is no different than speaking to the person in my passenger seat), not Google. Not to mention the thought of having to turn this off every time I enter a vehicle as a passenger.
  • This is what I expected from Essential. Way to go Google
  • Its really stupid if this feature is on by default. So car passengers or people with hands free kits are missing calls on a their brand new phone.
  • What if u r a passenger??
  • I assume it will do the same as iOS, display a button that says "I am not driving" that turns of the DND.
  • Hmm.. I wonder if it will know if you're on a bus or train..? Living in a city and having public transport as my main method of getting around, it might get annoying to have to remember to turn off DND every time I go somewhere.
  • Google knows , trust me. Sometimes I drive to work or take public transportation. Google will tell me travel time both ways. Scary but awesome.
  • This will thrill Marc Lagace. https://m.androidcentral.com/three-features-id-steal-ios-11-next-android... Well, perhaps not as much as having it in P, but it is soon after he wished it so.
  • I use an app called SMS, my Car and Me - lots of configurability. I have it set up to enable when it detects my car's bluetooth. It reads out an incoming text message and sends an auto reply to say I'm driving and can't respond but will reply later (you decide what it says). You can get it to only send the auto-reply to contacts in your contacts list so it doesn't respond to marketing or other similar texts. You can include WhatsApp and other messages and also set it to ignore voice calls if you wish. Once set up it's completely transparent and just works.
  • When I'm driving the only thing I want is to receive voice calls on my Bluetooth unit. Not interested in SMS or any other messages.
  • There are Car Dock applications that can handle texts and calls correctly when driving - pretty much dedicated to hands free driving. Like voice reply to answer - reject calls and SMS messages optional with a default message when driving. (eCid, Ultimate Car Dock, Car Dashdroid etc. - may be worth a look). My Toyota pickup Bluetooth doesn't integrate well with my current Samsung 7 Edge on reading SMS messages when running those car dock Android applications. I have to disable the phone as a media source... Maybe going to the new Pixel 2 XL will help - don't know..
  • What about those that drive for Lyft or Uber. If they miss a call or text from a passenger they are in route too could lead to delays.
  • It seems optional, in that you can turn the switch off.