One of the most powerful new features in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey is Focus Mode.
What is Focus modes?
Basically, Focus Mode is a more customizable version of Apple’s existing Do Not Disturb mode, accessed from the same menu in iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. But the focus modes are much more customizable, allowing for more granular triggering when you filter notifications.
How to use Focus modes
- To adjust focus, go to Settings > Focus and click the plus button to add a new focus. You’ll also be able to view the current focus modes you’ve configured and edit them.
- Apple offers a variety of preset focusing modes to get you started, including Personal, Work, Health, Games, Reading and more. You’re not limited to Apple’s offering of presets, although some presets – like driving, fitness, or gaming – offer additional features and triggers that aren’t available to user-created ones. For example, Apple’s Fitness Focus Mode might turn on automatically when you launch the Fitness Plus Workout program on your Apple Watch, and Game Mode might turn on every time a Bluetooth controller is connected.
- You can create your own focus by choosing Custom, which will allow you to choose a name, icon, and color for that particular focus.
- You will then be asked to choose which of your contacts (if any) you want to see when focus mode is activated – this is how Do Not Disturb mode works.
- On the next screen, you’ll be asked to select which apps (if any) you want to allow notifications to be sent when focus is active. For example, if you’re focused on work, you may want only your email and Slack apps to be able to send you pings.
- Finally, Apple will ask if you want to be able to receive special “time-sensitive notifications,” a new class of high-profile notifications that applications can send and which may not be able to wait later.
Once you’re done adjusting your focus, you will be taken to the focus mode settings menu where there are a few additional things you can tweak. You can come back here at any time by going to Settings> Focus and then choosing the focus mode you want to edit.
- The focus status menu lets you decide whether contacts will see a notification if you’re in active focus mode and their messages are muted. (Although the only app to support this feature at this time is Apple Messages.)
- The Home Screen menu allows you to hide certain home screens on your iPad or iPhone while in focus mode. With the iOS 15 app library and the new ability to make multiple copies of app icons, you can use this feature to customize the look of your phone in a variety of situations.
- The Lock Screen menu offers the option to show or hide silenced notifications on the lock screen or to dim the lock screen when the Focus mode is active.
Finally, the actual activation of focus mode occurs. Apple offers two ways to enable Focus Mode: you can select it manually using the moon icon in the Control Center, or schedule it automatically (the settings for which can be found in the Focus menu).
The simplest option is “smart activation,” in which your device automatically activates focus. But you can also add smaller manual controls by activating focus for a specific time, when you are in a specific location, or when using specific apps.