A complete guide to Microsoft Teams Priority Access

You might set your status to ‘Do not disturb‘ when a project demands your concentration or when you want to prevent pop-up notifications while presenting in a Teams meeting. But being unreachable can cause a problem when important matters arise. That’s where priority access comes in, allowing specific people to contact you while your status is set to ‘Do not disturb.’

To use Microsoft Teams Priority Access:

  • Click the three dots next to your profile image.
  • Select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu.
  • Then go to ‘Privacy’ > ‘Manage priority access.’

Please continue reading for a complete, step-by-step guide on everything you need to know about priority access in Microsoft Teams.

What is Microsoft Teams Priority Access?

Microsoft Teams is excellent for collaboration via public and private chat. However, communication within large groups can sometimes become a distraction. That’s why some people choose to set themselves to ‘Do not disturb,’ which disables pop-up notifications.

How does priority access work in Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams priority access is a feature designed to allow specific people to reach you when something important comes up. That could be your boss or your manager. But before we talk about managing priority access, it might be helpful to discuss presence states.

How to set your status in Microsoft Teams Priority Access

Your status or presence state will indicate your current availability to your team members. Teams will change your status automatically depending on how you use the app. The ‘Do Not Disturb‘ status will be automatically activated when you’re in a Teams meeting or in scheduled ‘Focusing‘ time.

  • Open up your Teams app.
  • Click on your circular profile image in the window’s top right corner.
  • Then click your current status to set your presence state manually.
Current status.
  • Click on ‘Do not disturb‘ to stop message notifications.
Do not disturb.

What does the Do Not Disturb status do in Teams Priority Access?

When you set yourself to ‘Do not disturb,’ messages sent to you by your team members will continue to appear in your Teams chat. However, you will not receive pop-up notifications from messages unless they are marked urgent. You will only receive notifications from standard messages sent by people who have priority access.

After you turn on ‘Do not disturb,’ you will see a notification box at the top of the window:

Your status is set to do not disturb. You’ll only get notifications for urgent messages and from your priority contacts.

How to send urgent messages in Teams

Click the exclamation mark to send an urgent message in Teams. Urgent messages will repeat every 2 minutes for 20 minutes or until the message has been read. Messages marked as ‘Important‘ will not be seen by people whose statuses are set to do not disturb.

Mark as urgent.
  • Click the arrow icon to send the message.
Send message.
  • A notification will appear in the corner of the recipient’s screen.
Pop-up notification.

How to set status duration

In Microsoft Teams, the default expiry time for do not disturb is one day. However, you can easily customize the expiry duration to any date of your choice. Please follow the steps below to learn how.

  • Click on your profile image in the top right corner of your Teams app.
  • Then click on your current status.
Current status.
  • Click ‘Duration‘ in the drop-down menu.
  • Set or leave your status as ‘Do not disturb.’
  • Click the select bar under ‘Reset status after‘ and select ‘Customized.’
Customize duration.
  • Click on the date and time boxes to set a custom expiration date.
  • Finally, click the ‘Done‘ button.
Set date and time.

How to manage Priority Access

If you want to give people priority access, start by opening your Teams app and clicking the three dots next to your profile image. Then click on ‘Settings.’

Three dots > Settings.
  • Click on ‘Privacy‘ in the settings menu.
  • Then click the ‘Manage priority access‘ button.
Privacy > Manage priority access.
  • Click on the search bar and type in the names of people to add to your priority list.
  • Then click on ‘Back to settings‘ in the top left corner to close and save.
Add members to priority access.

You will now be notified when people on your priority list message you in Teams. If you want to remove priority access, click the x button across from the person you wish to remove.

Stop notifications without changing your status

You can customize your notifications in Teams without having to change your status. This is particularly useful for people who need to remove distractions from their workspace covertly. Please follow the steps below to learn how to modify your notifications.

  • Click the three dots next to your profile image.
  • Then select ‘Settings‘ from the drop-down menu.
Three dots > Settings.
  • Click on ‘Notifications‘ in the settings menu.
  • Toggle off ‘Show message preview‘ and ‘Play sound for incoming calls and notifications.’
Toggle off.
  • Then click on the ‘Customized‘ box located under the ‘Teams and channels‘ heading.
  • Set ‘Personal @mentions‘ to ‘Only show in feed.’
  • Turn everything else ‘Off.’
  • Click ‘Back to settings.’
Note: You can click ‘Reset defaults‘ to return the settings to their original values.
Turn off all notifications.
  • Now go down to ‘Chat‘ and click the ‘Edit‘ button.
Chat > Edit.
  • Set ‘@mentions‘ to ‘Only show in feed.’
  • Turn everything else ‘Off.’
  • Then click the x button icon in the top right to save and close.
Turn off messages and reactions.

The effect of disabling notifications will be similar to setting your status to ‘Do not disturb.’ It will act as a permanent ‘Do not disturb’ status without changing how you appear to other members. The benefit of disabling notifications is that there is no expiry date for these settings, and you can continue to appear as available.


Priority access is a permission you can grant to other team members. Microsoft Teams will notify you when people on your priority list send you a message, even while you’re set to ‘Do not disturb.’

When you set your status to ‘Do not disturb,’ messages sent to you by team members who do not have priority access will continue to appear in your chat box. However, you will no longer receive pop-up notifications unless the messages are marked as ‘Urgent.’

Messages marked as ‘Important will not appear when you are set to ‘Do not disturb’ unless they are sent by people in your priority list.

Thanks for reading.

John Gleave

John Gleave has been a researcher, content writer, and senior editor at Business Tech Planet since 2022. John was formerly a data analyst and web designer with expertise in several programming languages, such as JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, CSS, SQL, and more! With a passion for writing and technology, he has now focused his skills on crafting tech guides for BTP. You can connect with John on LinkedIn.

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