Windows Phone 8 has been upgraded with the released of Update 3 (previously known as GDR 3). While there are not too many major changes or additions to be found here — these are reserved for Windows Phone 8.1 which will be released next year — the new Driving Mode is both interesting and useful.
If you are using your Windows Phone to navigate whilst driving it is a good idea to keep distractions to a minimum. To stay safe on the road, you don’t want to have alerts sounding every couple of minutes as emails arrive or calendar reminders are triggered.
Driving Mode makes it possible to silence alerts so you can concentrate on what you are supposed to be doing — driving.
Swipe from right to left and then tap the Settings icon in the list of apps. Scroll down and locate and tap the Driving Mode entry. At the Welcome screen that appears, tap the Next button.
You can choose between turning off notifications for phone calls, text messages, or both. It makes sense to disable both by switching both toggles to the On position but if you are waiting for an important call, you might want to leave the Ignore calls settings at Off.
Click Next and you are given the opportunity to configure automatic replies to texts and phone calls you have opted to ignore. If someone calls or texts you while you are in Driving Mode, a text message can be sent out letting them know that you are unavailable.
You might want to configure a standard message that you will use all of the time, but you can also tweak the message for individual journeys — perhaps to reflect how long it will be before you are able to respond.
Use the toggles to indicate whether automatic replies should be used to texts, phone calls or both, and then enter the message that should be sent out before tapping OK.
If you use a Bluetooth headset, it can be used as trigger to enable Driving Mode. Tap the ‘add a device’ button, switch Bluetooth on if necessary, make sure that your headset is discoverable and then select it when it is detected in order to pair.
That’s all there is to it. Just click Finish and everything will be take care of for you automatically from now on.