Calls can now be filtered out with an iPhone |

Calls can now be filtered out with an iPhone

Rocky asks: I would love it if I could set my iPhone up so it never rang between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., unless a family member is calling–I don’t want to miss those calls. Can I filter out some calls for a set period of time, but let others through?

This has long been one of my pet peeves with the iPhone. For years, there was no way to filter calls based on time. But finally, in IOS 6, you can do this.

Once you have a phone with IOS 6 on it, you can choose Notifications from the Settings menu, and then choose the Do Not Disturb option.

There you can turn on the option to Schedule Notifications and choose a period of time where you don’t want to be notified. You can also select to allow calls from one group including everyone, no one, favorites, or a “named group” that you’ve created. Ken has a group named Family that includes his father, partner, and siblings, and those calls are always allowed through. (Ask Ken about the time he was in Houston helping his father through surgery, and at 4 a.m. his father had to go the emergency room after the surgery and Ken’s phone was in silent mode. That certainly triggered setting up scheduled notifications and allowing calls from the family through!)

You can also set it to allow a call through if a person tries to make multiple calls within three minutes, assuming that it must be an emergency. That way, even calls from folks not on the “preferred” list can get through in the case of an emergency.

In any case, it’s really useful being able to filter calls overnight so you can leave your phone on at night, get emergency calls, and not be bothered by all the rest. Ken’s phone no longer goes into silent mode overnight.

Bank deposit with my SmartPhone?

My bank is offering an app that allows me to make check deposits with my smartphone. How does this work? Is this safe?

Recently, Doug’s bank closed the local branch that happened to be situated right across the street from his PO box. (Of course, the mailbox service closed, too, but that’s another story.) It used to be really convenient to pick up checks at the PO box, and then walk across the street to deposit them directly into the bank. Now, he has to drive somewhere to deposit the checks, and that’s a pain.

We share the same bank, and recently noticed that our bank, like lots of others, was offering the option to deposit checks online, using the camera in our smart phones to snap a photo of the front and back of the check. Although our bank is a little late to the table with this option, we find that the smartphone app works perfectly. You snap a photo of both sides of the check, enter the amount, and the app whisks the information off to the bank with the check immediately deposited. You don’t need to send them the check: We just mark ours as “deposited” (so we don’t try to deposit them again) and file them away.

Always suckers for new technology, we’ve been trying this technique for several months, and it appears to work great. There are limits to the amount of money you can deposit monthly using the smartphone app, so as long as you’re aware of the limit, you’ll be set. The lighting also makes a difference, in terms of the success of taking the photos, so ensure you have plenty of lighting and no glare when you snap photos of the checks.

As with any online service, you need to be aggressively aware of your password and its ability to get stolen when using any online banking app. We suggest you set up a strong password (at least 12 characters, including numbers and symbols, and a mix of upper and lower-case letters) for your banking account. The smartphone app uses the strongest encryption it can, and it is itself safe, but your password is the weakest chain in the security link. Make sure you select one that’s unique to your bank (don’t use it anywhere else) and make sure it’s a strong password. (These suggestions have nothing to do with depositing checks via the app, but are all about online banking in general.)

Doug Behl and Ken Getzspent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at Submit your own technical questions to

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