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How to block your phone from interrupting you

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You just want to get some work done, that budget spreadsheet, your novel, or even a nap, but your smartphone keeps distracting you with notifications, text messages, and the pull of social media.

Sure, the Do Not Disturb setting can help you have some peace and quiet when you need it, but newer versions of Android and Apple’s new iOS 15 provide a more flexible focus mode with additional concentration capabilities. Here is a simple instruction to help you.

Find your focus

On Android 12, look for the Digital Wellbeing2 icon in your app drawer. If you don’t see it, open the Settings icon and select Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls; you can also download the app. For the hands-free approach, just say, “OK, Google, open the Digital Wellbeing settings.”

On an Apple device with iOS 15, open the Settings icon and scroll down to Focus; Saying, “Hey Siri, open my settings” works too. On the Focus screen, you’ll see that the previous Do Not Disturb settings have been moved and you have a button to share your settings with other Apple devices, including Macs.

Block interrupts

On the Android Digital Wellbeing screen, tap Focus Mode. Choose the option Set a schedule to block the waiting time you need from your phone. In the “Your distracting apps” list, select the programs you would like to disable when Focus Mode is on. (The Manage Notifications controls in the Digital Wellbeing settings let you decide what kind of alerts you receive first.)

To temporarily silence most calls, return to the main Digital Wellbeing screen and select Do Not Disturb. Touch the People option and choose the contacts that can annoy you when you have the Do not disturb option enabled; you can do the same with apps and turn off alarms. (Some Android phones have a Turn to Shhh setting, which places your phone on Do not disturb when you place it face down.)

The iOS 15 Focus settings provide various scenarios (Work, Personal, etc.) to configure and customize based on the situation. Touch a category and select the apps and people who can interrupt it; Contacts can see their Focus status displayed in the Messages app. You can set a timed schedule for each focus category or have it activated automatically by location; for example, the Focus “Home” setting stops Slack notifications and work email when you arrive at your apartment. (If you’re working from home, use the schedule timer instead.)

Tap the plus icon on the main Focus screen to configure even more situations, like when you want uninterrupted reading time; you can even have Reading Focus activate when you open your e-book application. If you don’t want to automate things, you can always scroll down to the Control Center screen and tap Focus to hide or disconnect from the world.

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James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.


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