How to Set Up and Use Focus Mode on iPhone in iOS 15

How to Set Up and Use Focus Mode on iPhone in iOS 15

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Guide: How you can Set Up and Use Focus Mode on iPhone in iOS 15

In the past few years, Apple has been focusing on offering several digital wellness features on iOS and iPadOS to help users better manage their screen time on their iPhones and iPads. Features such as Screen Time and Sleep Tracking happen to be the most notable ones in this regard.

Now, with its latest operating system releases, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, the company is stepping things up with yet another feature. Called Focus or Focus Mode, the feature is essentially a group of settings that allows you to filter incoming notifications from people and apps at different times of the day according to your priorities and contexts.

If you’ve updated your iPhone or iPad to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15, respectively, you’d have likely already seen the option on your device. In which case, here’s a guide on how to set up Focus Mode and use it on your device.

What is the new iPhone Focus Mode in iOS 15?

Focus or Focus Mode is a hypernym to Do Not Disturb on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that unifies three different modes: Do Not Disturb, Sleep, and Driving, to help you focus better on your work and life by customizing notifications from people and apps based on your preference.

By default, Apple bundles a bunch of Focus presets in the operating system, such as Do Not Disturb, Personal, Work, Sleep, Driving, Gaming, etc. Plus, you get the ability to create your own presets for different activities/contexts occurring in your everyday life, which you can use to manage the way people and app notifications come through in a day.

If you’ve got multiple Apple devices, you can configure your Focus Modes such that they apply simultaneously across all your devices. Similarly, there’s also the ability to schedule modes based on time, location, or some other trigger.

How to Set Up Focus Mode in iOS 15

Of all the different Focus Modes Apple offers in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you have the option to customize every single one of them. However, we feel you should leave out the Do Not Disturb mode as is to retain the old Do Not Disturb functionality, which comes in handy when you don’t want to be bothered or reached out by anyone.

Aside from that, though, you can customize the Sleep, Work, Personal, and other default Focus Modes to suit your requirements.

Configuring a Preset Focus Mode

Follow the steps below to customize a Focus Mode on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Open Settings and select Focus.
  • Click on the preset you want to customize.
  • If you’re doing this for the first time, hit the Next button and follow these steps:
  1. On the Allowed People for Notifications screen, click on Add Person under Allowed People, choose the contacts whose notifications you’d like to receive, and hit Done.
  2. Hit the Calls From button under OTHER PEOPLE to choose who can call you when the Focus Mode in question is active.
  3. Click on the Allow button.
  4. On the Allowed Apps for Notifications page, click on Add App under Allowed Apps and select the apps whose notifications you’d like to receive.
  5. Hit Allow and tap on Done to save your preferences.
  • If you’ve already fiddled with the Focus presets, you’ll be greeted directly to the Focus settings. To choose people and apps, in this case, tap on People or Apps under ALLOWED NOTIFICATIONS and follow steps 3 (i) and 3 (ii).

Next, you can choose to customize other aspects of this Focus further or create a schedule (or automate it) to turn on automatically.

Focus Options

Every Focus Mode you have (or create) offers the following three options:

  • Focus Status – Allows you to let people who contact you know that you’ve silenced your notifications. To enable it, tap on Focus Status and toggle on the Share Focus Status button.
  • Home Screen – Allows you to hide notification badges on home screen apps and pick specific home screen pages to show when the Focus Mode is active.
  • Lock Screen – Allows you to dim the lock screen appearance and show silenced notifications on the lock screen.

How to Enable/Disable a Focus Mode in iOS 15

Once you’ve configured a Focus Mode to your preference, you can enable it via Control Center or Lock Screen.

1. Enabling/Disabling Focus Mode via Control Center

Control Center is home to several controls that offer quick and easy access to different tools and functionalities. Focus also happens to have a control in the Control Center in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, which you can access using the following steps:

  • Swipe down from the top-right of the screen on your iPhone or iPad to bring up Control Center. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad with a home button, swipe up from the bottom to get the Control Center.
  • Tap on the Focus control (or icon) and select the Focus you want to enable. To disable it, tap on it again. Moreover, if you’d like to view the settings for the Focus Mode, hit the three-dot menu next to it.

2. Enabling/Disabling Focus Mode via Lock Screen

Unlike the Control Center, you can’t enable/disable a Focus Mode from the Lock Screen unless one is already active. So, if you’ve got a mode active on your iPhone or iPad, you can simply click on the Focus icon in the Lock Screen and tap on it to disable it.

Alternatively, you can click on any other Focus Mode, too, to activate it right from the Lock Screen.


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