A quick guide to the Samsung Blocking mode
Samsung has been very keen on adding extra features to their devices. Not only do they skin the interface with TouchWiz, they also include a multitude of Samsung developed features. Some of these features actually make it to the default Google Code. Google is always looking at developments from their OEMs and merging it to the code if they find it good enough to be on stock.
Samsung’s current flagship model, the Galaxy S3, began with Ice Cream Sandwich. Even then, the device has been jam-packed full of features, which undoubtedly set it apart from other devices with similar specs.
One specific feature we will get to know today is an evolution of a simple “notifications” toggle found on the ICS version of the Galaxy S3 – the Blocking Mode.
Blocking mode is a part of their new Jelly Bean ROM for the Galaxy S3 as well as the Galaxy Note 2. This feature evolved from the disable all notifications feature found on ICS and Honeycomb devices. It is a cool feature that allows you to block calls and other notifications without the need for Root access.
When you toggle this option and turn it off, all notifications stop with no exception. Your phone won’t ring nor vibrate when it receives a call. Other devices will achieve a similar effect by simply turning off wireless communications by using Flight mode, or placing the phone on silent mode. This feature allows you to still have sound, and still receive calls and texts even though you don’t get notified anymore. This is perfect when sleeping, or maybe when playing games or doing something important that you don’t want to be disturbed.
When Jelly Bean arrived for Samsung, they evolved the feature into Blocking Mode.
Blocking mode is a more customizable and intuitive mode of managing notifications on your device. Let’s go deep into this feature and discover how it works.
If you look at the images above, it will be painfully simple to realize how you activate blocking mode. Simply toggle it, and it will turn green. That means it will be on, and will start blocking notifications depending on your preferences.
Another way of turning the feature on and off would be to go to the settings app. The Settings app is accessible through the gear symbol on your notification panel, through the Settings app in your app drawer, or through your menu drawer while in the home screen.
When you reach the settings app, you will see the Blocking Mode option right away at the bottom. You can simply slide the option on or off as required.
Going back to the settings app, when you see the Blocking mode option, you have the ability to quickly turn the feature on or off. The setting menu hides a more significant function. Tapping on the option name would take you to the Blocking Mode preferences menu.
We’ll go through the many options found on this list and elaborate further on what they do.
The disable features menu is pretty straightforward. Unlike the previous notification mode, where everything is always just disabled, you can now customize which notifications you want to turn off.
Disabling calls is may seem very basic, but it isn’t. As the little snippet above the disable features list says, you can still receive calls from a special list of people you allow. That is called a “white list”, meaning you allow these people to contact you through calls anytime. We’ll touch more on that later.
Disable notifications is rather broad in my opinion. It disables every other notification not covered by the rest of the options in this list. This includes messages, Facebook notifications, Viber calls and messages, requests, and emails. This one is certainly useful and straightforward. In case you are waiting for an important email, don’t enable blocking of this feature.
Disable Alarm and timer is very useful when you want nobody to disturb you but still be able to hear alarms and timer notifications. You wouldn’t want to be late for a meeting, or fail to wake up because you simply don’t want to be disturbed during your sleep, right? For that purpose, when you have blocking mode on, you leave this unchecked. If you would rather not receive notifications about alarms and timers as well, then you can simply leave that ticked.
Turning off all LED indicator notifications is one step to saving a bit of battery life, but it doesn’t really eat up that much. If you want to stop notifications and calls, yet still have a LED light to look at just in case you want to check up on it, then you can disable this feature so that it will still blink when there is a pending notification.
In case it is not entirely clear, having a check mark means the specific feature is blocked, while having no check means that the feature will still run during blocking mode.
Setting Blocking Mode Schedule
The best thing about technology is the way it automates things for us. We are all fans of technology that performs automatically for our own benefit. Technology is built in a way that is convenient for the end user and leaving the operations and interactions out of the consumer’s mind space.
With this in mind, Samsung enabled blocking mode to be scheduled. While this may not be useful for those who live very varied lifestyles, those of us who live by a routine can get a kick out of this. Simply put, you can enable blocking mode for a set time period you desire.
This would be very useful when you have a specific part of the day that you normally need blocking mode on. Let’s take the earlier example of sleeping. Many of us with regular jobs usually sleep at roughly the same time every day, right? This option allows you to set blocking mode to be on during your sleeping hours automatically. Beyond the time set, none of the features will be blocked.
To set a schedule, simply untick the “Always” option, then proceed to set the time range you want Blocking mode to be active.
There is a slight hitch though. It would seem that the time range will not be followed if the blocking mode toggle is off. That means that if you want to take advantage of the automatic blocking of notifications during a set time period, you have to leave the blocking mode toggle on.
Setting up Allowed Contacts
This is the part I told you about back when we were disabling incoming calls. Sometimes, there are important people in our lives from which we will take calls regardless of the situation. Be it a meeting, or during sleep, calls from loved ones or immediate family is important to keep active.
With such thoughts in mind, Samsung enabled the creation of Whitelists where you can add people you want to receive call from even during blocking mode, while keeping any other call blocked.
To add a contact to the allowed list, simply tap on the option that says “Allowed contacts”. This will take you to a list of actions.
None: Basically means no calls get through at all during blocking mode.
All Contacts: This means that all calls from registered contacts will get through, but calls from unknown numbers will definitely be filtered.
Favorites: Only calls from your set of Favorite contact list can get through. Calls from other contacts and other unregistered number will not get through.
Custom: Allows you to make your own list of people you want to get calls from in case none of the other three options give you what you want.
Choosing custom from the menu allows you to choose a set of contacts you want. Maybe it is one number, maybe three or a whole dozen of them. You get to choose. If you choose custom, you get to a page that looks like this:
From here, you can press the add button to choose a contact you want. It will then take you to the following page:
Select which contacts you want to allow calls for during blocking mode, and choose done when you are finished with your selection. It will then display the previous page like this to reflect the changes:
Are you wondering how to remove a contact from this list? Well, Samsung failed to be simple and intuitive in doing this, because the option is not as obvious as the other options. You have to press and hold on any one of the contacts you have in this list, and it will take you to this page:
Simply select which contact you want to remove from the list, and choose delete. It will then take you back to the previous screen.
Now that you know more about this new feature in Jelly Bean, go right ahead and make use of it. It definitely is a very situational type of feature, much like many of the other features found in any smartphone. The important thing is that it is available and usable when the time comes for you to need it.