Turn Off Raise to Wake and Tap to Wake When Running with the iPhone to Prevent Accidental Emergency Calls

I have been getting back in shape after losing some fitness two and a half years into the pandemic. Today marks the 12th consecutive week that I have done a long Saturday morning run of over thirteen miles. Most of my self-supported half marathons have taken me along the San Tomas Aquinos Trail from Santa Clara to Levi’s Stadium and Highway 237.

On short runs, I usually carry my iPhone Ina Flip Belt, but for these long runs, I bring an Osprey waist pack. In it, I place my iPhone, AirPods Pro case, keys, water bottle, snack and a powered energy drink mix.

The Waking Problem of Convenience

The iPhone jostles a lot during my run when in the Osprey, and having the Raise to Wake and Tap to Wake feature frequently turns on the device. Even though the device is locked, some of the interface becomes tappable when the device wakes up, including music/podcast playback controls. Worst of all in this particular case is when the emergency call feature appears after the device displays the unlock screen after a failed FaceID authentication attempt. At 5am today, my phone made two emergency calls, which I could hear starting on my AirPods Pro.

I stopped and (tried to) quickly take out my phone to stop the calls. I guess I could have pressed my AirPods Pro stem, but if it happened twice, it was likely to happen again.

Disabling Raise to Wake and Tap to Wake

There are several settings to disable on the iPhone to prevent this kind of accident:

  • Tap to Wake
  • Raise to Wake
  • Unlock with Apple Watch

To disable Tap to Wake, perform the following:

  1. Open iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Accessibility.
  3. Tap Touch.
  4. Disable Tap to Wake.

To disable Raise to Wake, follow these steps:

  1. Open iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Display & Brightness.
  3. Disable Raise to Wake.

With Tap to Wake and Raise to Wake disable, I have to physically press the side button to awaken the display. And with the Fitness focus mode (described below), most notifications will be disabled, further lessening the amount of times the device will wake up. This reminds me how the iPhone used to work before Apple added all these conveniences.

Unlock with Apple Watch

I don’t do this, but if you wanted to disable Unlock with Apple Watch, go and do this:

  1. Open iOS Settings.
  2. Tap Face ID & Passcode.
  3. Enter your passcode.
  4. Disable Unlock with Apple Watch next to the watch you are wearing.

Unfortunately, there are no Shortcut actions in iOS 16 and prior to let you set these settings automatically, so you will have to manually enable and disable these features. I created the following shortcut that opens iOS Settings to the pages for changing Raise to Wake and Tape to Wake.

Get Modify To Wake Settings shortcut
Get Modify To Wake Settings Shortcut

In addition, I created a Fitness Focus Mode that displays the workout apps that I used, a Home Screen icon for my Modify To Wake Settings shortcut, and some widgets for playing podcasts, viewing my Activity rings.

My Fitness Focus Home Screen

I will try this workflow the next time I go running, which should eliminate any more false emergencies.

1 thought on “Turn Off Raise to Wake and Tap to Wake When Running with the iPhone to Prevent Accidental Emergency Calls

  1. ndlxs

    Thanks for this. I’ve had the emergency phone call experience, too. I don’t like to be interrupted with watch notifications on new cat photos from relatives, so normally I just Set Focus on the phone. As you say, that is not enough.

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