Focus mode is Apple’s way to help users do the task at hand to filter out the noise. It’s available in iOS and for iPads and Macs and can be a real productivity booster – if you know how to fix it properly.
Here’s how it works.
From iOS 15, Focus is visible as an option i Control Centeror via Settings> Focus.
In iOS 16, due this fall, it can recommend relevant Lock Screens for the Focus options you provide, such as a data-rich Lock Screen for work.
Apple has suggested four types of focus:
- Do not disturb
You can also create new Focus groups, including those for Driving, Fitness, Gaming, Mindfulness, Reading and Customization.
Apple (in iOS 16) provides suggestions for Focus Mode that include relevant apps and people within that focus, according to your device, but you can edit these, change them or create your own. Likewise, the best way to learn the principles of personalizing and managing Focus is to tap the Custom button.
How to Create a Custom Focus
Apple has packed all the Focus creation tools in one very busy page. To understand the controls on the page, we will create a Custom Focus. To do so, open Settings> Focus and then select Custom. In the next screen, you can name this and select a color and icon for that Focus. Then tap Next.
You will now see a long page with the name and icon of your Focus test at the top of the page. The sections on the page include:
- Customize Screens.
- Turn on Automatic.
- Focus Filters.
- Delete Focus.
Let ‘s review each of these in turn.
In iOS 16, you can now choose which people and apps you want to continue receiving alerts from.
- Sconna People to select the person you want to allow, then tap the Add button to add another one.
- Sconna Applications To select apps, tap Add to go through all your apps and (strictly) add all of them.
You will see an Options button. Tap this and toggle to show the following three ways to handle Notifications while in the Focus group you are creating:
- Display on Lock Screen: This will display silent notifications on the Lock Screen instead of the Notification Center.
- Dim Lock Screen: This setting reduces the Lock Screen when Focus is on.
- Hide Ads Badges: Notification badges will not appear on Home Screen app icons for any apps other than those you allow. In other words, the apps you want to use will act while you are in the Focus space, others will usually be suppressed until you leave the Focus.
These optional tools should help you build a Focus that works better for you.
In this area, you can select the Lock Screen face or select a specific Home Page to help reduce the number of distractions from what you are trying to do. Sconna Select Lock Screen to select an existing screen or create a new one from the Apple Lock Screen Gallery. You can also select a relevant homepage.
NB: You can link a Green Screen to a separate Focus from the Green Screen. All you have to do is press and hold that screen, swipe to the specific one you want to link to Focus mode, tap the focus button and select the mode you want to use. Tap x when done.
Focuses can be smart enough to launch themselves at a set time of the day, when you arrive at a particular place, or when you first open a particular app. You control all of these options on this screen. Apple can also use information on the device to try to figure out when focus can be enabled using what Apple calls smart automation. You can automatically set your iPhone to Work Focus when you arrive, or when you open a specific work-related app. You can also set your device to return to Personal Focus (no work apps allowed) when you return home.
Focus Filters help you filter out attention-grabbing content in apps that support the feature, such as Apple apps like Calendar or Messaging and some third-party apps, thanks to Apple’s new API. In Mail, for example, you can filter out all messages by selecting those from the most important contacts or specific Tab Groups to be available in Safari in Work Focus. These are implemented in the Focus Filters section, where you will find filters for Calendar, Email, Messaging, Safari, and dark and low power modes. It is hoped that as soon as iOS 16 is released, you will find similar filters available at some third – party apps.
How this works is simple enough – if you click Calendar, you can select one or more of your calendars to display, or select Email to receive the email accounts from which you want to receive messages. set while in specific Focus mode. Tap Add to create the Focus filter.
To delete a Focus filter you have created but no longer need, tap on the specific Focus management page, select the filter you want to delete, and tap Delete.
Tap this to delete the current focus you worked on, or any existing focus setting you no longer need.
What about third party apps and Focus?
Apple has introduced an API that developers can use to link their apps to Apple Focus. We’ll probably see this being embraced by social apps and messaging first, but this will probably be adopted over time.
What about your other devices?
Yes, since iOS 15 it’s possible share your Focus settings over all your devices; IOS 16 extends this to iPads and Macs. To check that this is activated on your iPhone, open Settings> Focus and then make sure the toggle Share across Devices is switched to On (green).
What about Swipe for Focus?
An interesting new feature in iOS 16 means that your iPhone can act as if it were multiple devices, thanks to the introduction of support for multiple Lock Screens. This allows you to swipe between different screens, each of which may have different features or images, and which can be linked to different types of Focus. All you have to do is touch your Lock Screen and hold it to swipe between your different screens, each of which can have different widgets.
Can you schedule Focus?
Yes. In addition to swiping between different Focus settings via the Lock Screen, your Focus types can be automated; you may have a work focus that becomes apparent during working hours, or a research focus within that. You can also use Spotlight search to turn Focus on, or switch to a new Focus. To do so, type in the name Focus, tap the appropriate icon and change your Home and Green Screen to match the Focus settings.
This short guide should help you get started using Focus in iOS 16, but it should also help iOS 15, as many of the features and tools described above are also available in that iteration of the OS.
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