How you can Customize a new ‘Focus’ Mode in iOS 15

How you can Customize a new ‘Focus’ Mode in iOS 15

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Overload (and automate) your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode.

When people (usually on the internet) start fighting on a new front in the iPhone vs. Android wars, the latter seemingly always has a trump card in the form of its ultra-customizable Do Not Disturb mode, but nothing more. In iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Apple has supercharged the iPhone’s own distraction-limiting capabilities in a major way by introducing “Focus” mode that you should start using right away (your drained brain will thank you).

What is Focus mode in iOS 15?

Do not disturb mode is now called Focus (of which Do not disturb is now only a small part). Here’s what a focus mode can do (Apple gives you some preset options, but you can customize your own menu of functions as well).

  • Allow notifications only from certain people and apps: Do not disturb is no longer a black and white switch. You can select which people or apps to let through even when in focus mode.
  • Urgent Notifications: Apple has created a new hierarchy of notifications, with urgent notifications at the top. If Apple decides that something is really important, it will automatically let it go through its filters.
  • Presets: There are presets for different parts of your day: work, personal time, workouts, and more. All contextually enabled and preconfigured for you.
  • Dynamic Home Screen: Actually, you can choose to only display certain pages of the home screen when focus mode is enabled.
  • Synchronization between devices – Focus mode automatically syncs between iPhone, iPad, and Mac (but don’t worry, this can be disabled).

Finally, you can customize your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode. We’ll get to the other focus modes, but first, let’s start with the canonical Do Not Disturb mode.

Finally, you can customize your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode

We’ll get to the other focus modes, but first, let’s start with the canonical Do Not Disturb mode.

Finally, you can customize your iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode

We’ll get to the other focus modes, but first, let’s start with the canonical Do Not Disturb mode.

Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad and go to the “Focus” section. Here, choose the “Do not disturb” option. You will see a new interface to customize all aspects of DND mode.

In the “Allowed notifications” section, you can choose the people or apps you want to let through. Choose the “People” option, tap the “Add” button, and then select the contacts you always want to hear from, no matter what. You can do the same in the “Applications” section. From there, you can also choose if you want to allow urgent notifications.

From the “Options” section, you can choose to define a Focus Status (to be shared with your contacts in the Messages app). From the “Home Screen” section, you can choose to disable all notification badges (a blessing) and enable the Custom Pages feature to hide specific home screen pages during Focus.

The “Lock screen” section will allow you to automatically dim the lock screen while in focus mode. You can also choose to see muted notifications on the lock screen if you want.

And finally, we come to the “Activate automatically” section. It seems that Apple has integrated its shortcut automation feature directly into focus mode.

You can choose to automate any focus mode at a particular time, when you arrive at a particular location, or when you open a certain application. In addition, you can create multiple automations, for different times or circumstances, all of which will be activated automatically.

This may seem like a lot of settings to play with, but you don’t need to do more than choose a criteria to create an automated mode. But if you like, you can tailor some really specific, complex automations for a host of different focus modes.

How to enable a focus mode

It’s probably more useful to set a focus mode to turn on automatically (as explained above), but you can also enable or disable a focus mode manually using the Control Center or the lock screen.

Swipe down from the upper right corner of the screen to open the Control Center. Here, tap the “Focus” button to expand and see all your focus modes (tapping the icon will enable the most recently used focus). Choose a focus mode to switch to it. You will now see the Focus icon on the status bar.

There’s also a new focus indicator on the lock screen, just below the time. Hold down this indicator to switch to a different focus mode or to exit focus mode entirely.

How to create a custom focus mode

The real beauty of Focus mode is how customizable it is. While Apple offers you preset modes, we encourage you to create a couple of your own custom focus modes with your own names, icons, and settings.

Apple has designed an intuitive step-by-step wizard to create a custom Focus, so the process shouldn’t be overwhelming. To get started, go to the “Focus” section under “Settings”, tap the More button at the top and choose the “Custom” option.

Give the Focus a name and follow the instructions in the wizard to customize it to suit your needs. Congratulations! Now your iPhone is … significantly less distracting, anyway.

Final words: How you can Customize a new ‘Focus’ Mode in iOS 15

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