iOS 15, which was launched back in June as part of WWDC 2021 comes up with a lot of new features around FaceTime, Messages and other apps as well. One major feature is the new Focus Mode which is supposed to be helping the users avoid distractions and be more productive. This feature works around the old Do Not Disturb Mode. Now that we have Focus Mode, Do Not Disturb works as a subset of the Focus Mode. This post will help you understand what does focus mode do and how to use it on your iPhone with the new iOS 15.
What does focus mode do on iPhone?
Focus is a new way to manage distractions in your iPhone. With Focus, you can set up a mode for a specific activity that you are planning to do like studying, or workout or meeting or any task and set up custom settings as to which apps and notifications to hide when you are in that mode. It's basically a DND mode with more options for your own taste and requirement.
As you can see, the Focus Mode can be used easily from the Control centre as you can see in the screenshot above. Let's get into how we can use Focus Mode in iOS 15 and we'll talk more about it later about how effective it is.
How to use Focus Mode in iOS 15
Before getting into using Focus Mode, please be aware that iOS 15 is needed for this feature to work because it's newly introduced. As of August 2021, we don't have a stable release of iOS 15. But, if you want to use it right away, you need to get public beta which works pretty decently. You can get it from beta.apple.com.
Once you have installed the iOS 15 beta, follow the steps below to start using the new Focus mode.
- Open the Settings app to access Focus Mode settings.
- Once you are in the Settings app, Choose Focus below Notifications.
- Under Focus, you will see the Focus modes which are available by default. In case if you want to create your own Focus mode, tap on the + button at the top right corner of the screen.
- In the new popup that appears, choose Custom to create your own Focus mode.
- In the next screen, Provide a new name, color and also emoji for your Focus Mode. These will appear wherever you choose the Focus Mode form either Settings or Control center.
- Once done, tap Next. As you can see I'm creating a Focus Mode to enable while writing for the Waftr Blog. You could do the same for anything you working on. It could be studying or a specific project which requires you to Focus without any distractions at all.
- The next screen is to choose the people from whom you would like to receive notifications from even while you are in the Focus Mode. So, this basically means when I'm in the Waftr focus mode, I would still receive messages from Thomas who runs the blog. You could call the Focus Mode as a glorified customizable Do Not Disturb mode which was there earlier.
- Also, when you are on the Focus Mode, all calls are blocked by default. So, you could choose whom you would get calls from. Tap on Calls From section. I have chosen Favorites. Also, you could add more people by tapping on Add Person.
- Once done, tap on Allow 1 person. In the next section you would choose which apps you would get notifications from. As you can see I have WhatsApp and Signal for the purpose for this article. Obviously, I wouldn't want to get messages when I'm in a Focus mode but you get the point of how it works.
- As you can see, you could choose like you can choose the apps allowed in focus mode. Once done, tap on Allow 2 apps or Allow None if you don't want notifications from any app.
- In the next section, you could choose to Allow Time Sensitive notifications. It means that even when you are in the Focus Mode, you would receive important notifications.
- Once done, you would see the summary of the settings you have chosen for the focus mode. If you want to trigger the Focus mode using an automation from the Shortcuts app, tap on Add Schedule or Automation.
- In the New automation screen, tap on the three types of Automation which you would like to set for this focus mode. Ideally what happens is whenever this automation is triggered, your Focus mode will be turned on. So, for example, you would say enable focus mode at 10am.
- There is also the smart activation which could be enabled at the Focus mode summary screen. Smart Activation is a way to automatically turn the focus mode at relevant times during the day based on location, app usage and other factors. Basically the app learns how you use the focus mode and enables it based on that.
- Once you have made all the required changes, the Focus mode will be ready and once you are happy with the settings, tap on Done at the bottom of the screen. Once that's done, the Focus Mode is created and is ready to be used anytime from the list.
Now, to use the Focus mode, the easier way is to enable it by the Control Center. To open the control centre, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen anywhere in the iPhone. You will see the control centre like this.
As you can see, the Focus Mode is highlighted. If you want to choose a custom Focus mode, press and hold on to the Focus icon until the screen in the image below appears.
As you can see, the custom Focus mode we created is there. You can tap on it to enable it. You could also go to the Focus mode settings by tapping on the three-dotted icon next to the Focus Mode.
You could also create a new Focus Mode directly from the Control centre by tapping on the + icon at the bottom of the list. It would take you to the Settings app but this is also a way to create a new Focus Mode.
Now, that you found what does a focus mode do on your iPhone and that's how you could use the Focus Mode of iOS 15. If you are a productivity nerd like me, a feature like this would be great to avoid distractions and put in some work. It's crucial to stop yourself from getting distracted when you are working on an important project.
Even in the first iteration, Apple has managed to make it decent enough for people to make good use of it. I wish to see more from the Focus Mode in the future iteration of iOS. Let's hope Apple gets to it right away.