How about a timed phone un-silencer?

I’m sure all of us with mobile phones do the same thing. When we go into a meeting, a movie, chruch or whatever, we silence our phones. And then forget to un-silence them when we’re done. Then, after too much time has passed, we remember — or are reminded by means other than the phone, such as a spouse saying “Why didn’t you answer when I called? — that we’d turned it off.

So I suggest an un-silencer option. You would set the silencer to snooze for one, two, three or some other number of hours, and then return to normal.

Maybe some phones have this already.

Yes, I know that on some phones, such as the i, the silencer is a physical slider. But it can still be done in software on phones that allow it.

And yes, I know this is a trivial issue, but it’s how I’m dealing now with three missed calls.


  1. Dan Guy’s avatar

    Android has several apps for free in the Market that do this.

  2. Marie Ysais’s avatar

    Hi Doc,

    There are several apps on the market for the Android phones and they seem to be pretty good. I have not used any of them but I did just read up on them and look at several of their features. I am not sure which phone you have but let me know if you try any of the apps out or find they don’t have one for your particular needs. I am always looking for great phone app ideas. You are speaking my language as this is what I do for a living! Have a great day.

  3. Tristan Louis’s avatar

    I’d go further by having the phone actually look at the GPS data and, based on your location (within a given range) turn the silencer on or off automatically. The user would define whether the phone turns itself off in movie theaters, restaurants, conference rooms, and other (user-specified location with a range). Now that would be an awesome app…

  4. JR’s avatar

    WebOS also has free apps that allow for this. Good idea, shared by others.

  5. JR’s avatar

    @Tristan Louis

    Another good idea covered by WebOS homebrew apps. There must be similar free or paid apps on other phones that allow for location based tasks.

  6. //Mark’s avatar

    I was thinking of a variant of this yesterday; using busy status from a calendar…

  7. Bruce Fryer’s avatar

    I solved this problem years ago. I never silence the phone. I turn it off when in a meeting. Sometime within 20 minutes after the meeting I look at my phone and realize it is off. If it was important, they left a message. Don’t care about missed calls.

  8. Scott’s avatar

    I set it to vibrate. Silent, but I feel it ring. (I rarely have it set to ring aloud anyway.)

  9. Randeep Melhi’s avatar

    old school nokia phones all had that. I now use an iphone and its not as sophisticated.

  10. Russ Nelson’s avatar

    I have a program on my Android phone that lets me do that.

  11. Petar’s avatar

    My old Nokia 3510i used to have this feature. You could just use a time-out for any profile. It also had a battery that lasted for a week, keyboard that you could type really fast on, and it never dropped calls….

    I kind of miss it…

  12. Paul Valach’s avatar

    I would go a step further. I teach and have a strict phone policy in class..if your phone ring you owe me a Pepsi. Simple. I get roughly 8-10 Pepsi’s a semester. Sometime, one time was more. But that also means my phone has to be off, can’t be owing 25 Pepsis no can I. I do forget its off, so perhaps a schedule for some of us.. vibrate mode 10am-1pm MW. I don’t think this would be that hard, after all we have alarms that can be set for all times and multiple ones at that. I have an iPhone, if someone know of an app..please send me a note…thanks!

  13. Tristan Louis’s avatar

    @ Russ Nelson

    What program are you using? I’d love to use it…

  14. Gee Ranasinha’s avatar

    For iOS users there’s an app called “Ring Reminder” that’ll set the device to vibrate after a user-selected timeframe. Not as good as what you’re proposing, but better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick…;-)

    The developer is currently offering it for free for the next few days:

    (Hope you’re keeping well, Doc! Best Wishes from Strasbourg!)

  15. Jeremy’s avatar

    Hey Doc (and others),

    On Android, I have paid for the Locale program. It’s a hefty $10, but it does the things you ask.

    I set a default volume level, and rules that whenever I’m at work, or at church (measured via GPS and time/date) the phone will automatically silence, and un-silence. The problem I run into is when events run long. Church might run seven minutes over, yet I get a call two minutes after the hour.. But you can adjust.

    When I go to bed and dock my phone, I also have it turn off the ringer and rsync my SD card with my server. And in the morning when my alarm goes off, the ringer turns on as well.

    Now if this phone could only set custom ringtones per application per contact just like my old BlackBerry did…

  16. Charles Frith’s avatar

    Interestingly the first phone to have this feature was a Shanzai brand I bought in Beijing.

Comments are now closed.