With the introduction of Notification Center in iOS 5 last year, Apple made it easier than ever to manage the ever-increasing volume of notifications—push and local—that land on our iOS devices. What Notification Center did not provide is a way to manage these notifications across multiple iOS devices and Macs. Thankfully, Apple added Do Not Disturb to iOS 6, a feature that can help mitigate the madness.

Apple’s Do Not Disturb support document is brief but begins with a key sentence (emphasis mine): “You can use the Do Not Disturb setting while your iOS device is locked to silence calls, alerts, and notifications.” This means that, if you unlock your device, notifications of all sorts will make sounds even with Do Not Disturb enabled. But when you lock the device, not a single ‘boing’ will be given.

If you’re tired of your iPad playing muffled Tri-tone, Fanfare, and Ding from your backpack with every iMessage, calendar alert, and new email, turn on Do Not Disturb and get on with your day, assured that you’ll only hear those notifications when you’re actually using the device. It’s not perfect, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.