Do Not Disturb vs Silent vs Airplane Mode on Android: Know the Difference

The beauty of a smartphone is that you get many features for similar purposes, each serving a different kind of user base. Not everyone likes to keep the ringer on all the time. Thankfully, Android devices come with three different modes to put the phone on silent.

Silent Vs Do Not Disturb Vs Airplane Mode Fi

We are talking about three options — silent, do not disturb (DND), and the airplane mode. While the silent and do not disturb mode are accessible under the sound settings, the airplane mode is available under the network and internet settings.

That’s not the only way how these three differ. There are many differences between them and here we shall try to understand them better.

So let’s begin.

What Do They Do

The silent mode is the basic form among the three. It simply turns off all the notification sounds; be it incoming calls, messages, or app notifications, you won’t hear any of them.

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Do not disturb mode does exactly what its name suggests. Activating this mode bars any random calls and notifications from interrupting you. Of course, you can further customize it to allow the ringer only for specific contacts, important apps to push notifications and so on.

Lastly, the airplane mode blocks all network connectivity for your phone, but that doesn’t mean you cannot access other features. You can still check photos, play offline games, listen to music, and do other things that don’t require a cellular connection. Technically, it has nothing to do with sound notifications.

Calls, Messages, and Notifications

Airplane mode turns off all the connectivity services on your device such as Wi-Fi, the cellular network, GPS, Bluetooth, etc. Still your phone can do everything except make/receive cellular calls. You can enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth later after activating airplane mode. Once you turn off the mode, you will receive all the messages and app notifications. If you have missed call alerts enabled for your number, you will receive an SMS for missed calls as well.

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In both the silent and do not disturb mode, your phone remains connected to the network. While you will get calls, messages, and app notifications, your phone won’t play notification sounds if it is in the silent mode. You will have to check your phone manually to see them. Same is the case with the do not disturb mode, but here you can customize it to allow certain tones.

Lock Screen and LED Notification Light

Every time you get a notification when the silent mode is enabled, your device will wake up, and the LED notification light will also glow. Same happens for the airplane mode as well (if you get a notification somehow).


However, if do not disturb mode is activated, the screen won’t turn on and neither will the LED light. This mode is perfect for night time when one doesn’t want to wake others up.


It’s crucial to know about the vibration setting in each of the three options. What if you use the wrong option in a meeting or a lecture?

In the silent mode, by default, your device will vibrate for calls, messages, and similar notifications unless you have disabled the vibration setting. However, it’s slightly different for the do not disturb mode as it turns off vibrations as well. Basically, the do not disturb mode turns your device completely silent. On the other hand, the airplane mode has nothing to do with vibrations or sounds.


The do not disturb mode offers many customizations such as creating exceptions for calls, messages, reminders, alarms, and similar things. You can even select specific contacts to override the mode. These will be considered as whitelisted contacts.

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I use the mode when I don’t want to be disturbed by app notifications. If I put my phone on the silent mode, that would mean I will not get call notifications as well. So with this mode, I silence my app notifications without silencing the ring volume and alarm.

You cannot customize or create exceptions for the airplane or silent mode.


Another thing that you can do exclusively with the do not disturb mode only is to schedule it. You can schedule both the on and off timings to enable and disable it automatically. You can use this feature to enable the mode at night and it will be turned off automatically in the morning.

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Again, this is not possible with either the silent or airplane mode. You have to enable and disable them manually.

Choose Your Options Wisely

Since all the three features are very different from one another, their use case is also different. The silent mode is used when you want to silence everything without creating any exception or schedule.

The do not disturb mode is used when exceptions play an important role. For instance, if you put your phone on this mode at night, you can allow alarm in the morning. Similarly, you can whitelist certain contacts for emergency purposes.

Lastly, the airplane mode is helpful when you need a break from calls and internet. You can also use this feature when you need to save battery as your device won’t be connected to any cellular network.

Now that you know the difference between them, go ahead and use them wisely.

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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