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If my phone is sitting on my desk locked, something like a napkin is just covering the proximity sensor, and I get a notification or something, the screen will not turn on. Can this be disabled?

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Short answer

No, this is not possible with a standard installation of iOS.

Long answer

Yes, this is possible if your iPhone happens to be jailbroken. If so you can install software that allows you to create custom gestures. This is achieved through the installation of a couple of packages: Always on Proximity and Activator.

NOTE: This answer in no way supports or endorses jailbreaking your device.

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  • This must be a new feature, because my phone never did this before. In fact, my iPhone 6 plus on iOS 10 didn't even do this. All of a sudden I get a 7 and this crap starts.
    – timramich
    Jan 2, 2017 at 15:43
  • Okay, can you provide one or two specific examples of what is going on? Also provide details of whether it makes any difference if the Phone app was the last one used before your iPhone went into Auto-Lock? Finally, does it make any difference whether your iPhone is laying flat on the desk or sitting up on the desk? I ask these questions only to ensure I fully understand your question and so I can run some tests at my end to try and replicate your issue.
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 2, 2017 at 22:01
  • I can't elaborate anymore than I did in my original post. I've had no other phones behave this way before.
    – timramich
    Jan 2, 2017 at 23:22
  • Okay, but in your question saying I get a notification or something isn't very specific. Can you provide an example of the types of notifications you've noticed this behaviour with (e.g. iMessage, Reminder, a specific 3rd party app)? And can you test for the variables I asked about (e.g. flat on the desk as opposed to sitting upright, the phone being the last app used and not). If we can establish what's happening for you isn't happening elsewhere, then you have some sort of basis for speaking to Apple about it (re a potential fault).
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 2, 2017 at 23:33
  • Also, are you using a case? If so, have you tried testing it without the case? In my experience I've found that cases are the biggest culprits when it comes to proximity sensor issues, that along with the buildup of dust in the sensor area (which often happens because of the case).
    – Monomeeth
    Jan 2, 2017 at 23:33

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