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Apple released iOS 15 and introduced a new Focus Mode. And you can use it to reduce distractions. We will show you how to use Focus Mode on iPhone running iOS 15 or later in this article.

What is Focus Mode

The new Focus Mode is the Do Not Disturb Mode on Steroids. Focus makes the iconic Do Not Disturb Mode better and more functional. Apple has made certain improvements to the good old Do Not Disturb Mode and added a couple of new features like creating filters for incoming calls and messages, setting auto-reply to let people know that you aren’t available, etc.

The main idea here is that Apple is looking to help users minimize distractions by setting up their own Do Not Disturb profiles, the way they want. This way, you can determine and change which notifications and alerts make it through to you and even which apps should be at the front and center to help you get your work done. Whether that’s at work or home, for driving, exercise, reading, creative time, sleep, or anything else, you can create a custom Focus for how notifications, calls, messages, and auto-replies work on your iPhone.

Now that the basic information of Focus Mode is out of the way, let us dive deep into its functionality and how to use it:

First, let’s see where Focus can be found, and how you can activate this new feature:

Focus Mode can be found in the control center.

how to customize home screen with focus mode
  • On newer iPhones that do not have a home button, scroll down from the top right side of the display to get to control center.
  • On older iPhones that have a home button, scroll up from the bottom of the display to get to control center.

How to turn on Focus Mode on iPhone

Now that you are in the Control Center:

  1. Tap on Focus (Not the Crescent Moon icon, tapping on this icon will enable Do Not Disturb).
  2. Select the Focus that you want to activate.
  3. Alternatively, you can tap on the three dots next to a Focus to reveal more options to set this mode for a specific time or until you leave your current location.
focus mode settings ios 15

Configuring Focus Mode:

To really get the most out of Focus, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your own Focus mode:

  1. Launch the Settings App on your iPhone.
    how to customize home screen with focus mode
  2. Tap on Focus.
  3. Tap on the Focus that you wish to Configure.
    how to enable focus mode on iphone
  4. To choose the people you want to receive notifications from while using that Focus, tap on the People section.
  5. Tap on Add Person.
    how to enable focus mode on ios 15
  6. Now, you can select and add the people who you want to receive notifications from when you are in that focus.
  7. To remove a person from contacting you, tap on the Minus (-) icon on the top left of their profile icon. Alternatively, if you want to remove all people, tap on Remove All.
  8. To choose the apps that can notify you, tap on the Apps header at the top-right.
    how to customize home screen with focus mode
  9. Now, you can select and add the apps that can send notifications to you when you are in that focus. You can search for an app using the search box.
  10. To remove pan from notifying you, tap on the Minus (-) icon on the top left of the app icon. Alternatively, if you want to remove all apps, tap on Remove All.

How to customize iOS 15 Focus Mode for Home Screen

iOS 15 enables you to select Home screens to be available for a particular Focus, so that you can hide potentially distracting apps during that focus to concentrate on the task at hand. Here’s how to set it up:

Note: You can only pick from existing home screen pages — you can’t create one that will only appear when a particular Focus mode is active.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Focus.
  3. Tap on the Focus you wish to configure.
  4. Tap on Home Screen.
    how to use focus mode on iphone
  5. If you do not want to see notification badges, toggle on the Hide Notification Badges switch.
  6. To choose which home screen pages should appear, toggle on the Custom Pages switch.
  7. Tap on Choose Pages.
    how to use focus mode on iphone
  8. Select the home screen(s) you wish to see during that Focus.
  9. Tap on Done.

How to customize iOS 15 Focus Mode for Lock Screen

If you want a particular focus to reflect on your iPhone’s Lock Screen, you can do that too. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Focus.
  3. Tap on the Focus you wish to configure.
  4. Tap on Lock Screen.
    how to customize home screen with focus mode
  5. To have the lock screen dim during a focus, toggle on the Dim Lock Screen switch.
  6. To see the silenced notifications appear on the lock screen, toggle on the Show On Lock Screen switch.

Set a Focus to activate automatically:

You can choose a specific focus to activate automatically, depending on instructions given by you, such as your app usage, a specific time or location, or while using a certain app. here’s how:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Focus.
  3. Tap on the Focus you wish to configure.
  4. To set instructions to activate this Focus automatically, scroll down to the Turn On Automatically section.
  5. Tap on the Plus (+) Add Schedule or Automation icon.
    how to enable focus mode on iphone
  6. Select Time, Location, or App, depending on the conditions you want to activate the Focus.
    how to enable focus mode on ios 15
  7. Under Time, you can choose a schedule, including days of the week and hours of the day.
  8. Under Location, you can choose a location such as your home or place of work, or search for another address, to have your Focus activate when you arrive at that location and deactivate when you leave that location.
  9. Under App, you can select an app that will activate this Focus mode automatically when the app is launched.
  10. To set multiple conditions to determine when a focus will activate, repeat the necessary steps between Step 6 and Step 9.
  11. To set your device to automatically activate Focus when it believes it’s needed, tap on Smart Activation under the Turn On Automatically section.
  12. Toggle on the Smart Activation switch to activate it.
  13. Tap on Done.

How to create a custom Focus:

iOS 15 includes some default Focus modes — Work, driving, Personal and Sleep. But you can also create your own custom Focus. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Focus.
  3. Tap on the Plus (+) icon in the top right corner of your display.
  4. Tap on Custom.
  5. Enter a name for the focus in the name field.
    how to customize home screen with focus mode
  6. Select a color and icon.
  7. Tap on Next.
  8. To select people who can contact you during this focus, tap on the Add Person button. (You can also tap on Allow None if you do not anyone to contact you during this focus.)
  9. Select the person or people who you want to be able to contact you during this Focus.
  10. Tap on Done.
  11. Tap on the Allow (N) People button.
  12. To select apps that can notify you during this focus, tap on the Add App button. (You can also tap on Allow None if you do not want any app to send notifications to you during this focus.)
  13. Select the apps you want to allow to send you notifications during this Focus.
  14. Tap on Done.
  15. Tap on the Allow (N) Apps button.
  16. To allow apps to send you important notifications, tap on Allow Time Sensitive.
  17. Tap on Done.

Delete a Focus:

If you no longer need a particular focus profile. You can delete it, here’s how:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go to Focus.
  3. Tap on the focus profile that you want to delete.
  4. Tap on Delete Focus.
  5. Confirm your decision.

You can also configure a Focus on one device, and share it across other Apple devices that you own. Just toggle on the Share Across Devices switch in the focus settings.

If you want to adjust your Do Not Disturb, Do Not Disturb While Driving, or your Sleep schedule, all of those also live within the new Focus settings in iOS 15.

Note: Driving is a suggestion under the + icon.

The Focus Status that will give an auto-reply to others when you’re using Focus, works with Apple’s Messages app and also third-party apps.

The new Focus mode is a welcome add-on to the Apple ecosystem. Apple took the usual DND experience to the next level with Focus. We are sure that users will appreciate Apple’s implementation of Focus on the phone.

For future updates to Focus mode, we would like to see a dedicated Focus widget that allows users to enable or disable a focus profile right from a widget. An Apple Music integration can be helpful as well, it should allow users to play a specific playlist when in a focus.

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