Focus is a new feature in iOS 15 that filters notifications and apps based on what you want to focus on.

On 20th September 2021, iOS 15 will become generally available and one of the most sought after features we’ve all been waiting for will make its debut – Focus mode.

Focus helps users filter notifications to reduce distractions, using a customised Focus or a suggested Focus like Work or Sleep.

Particularly since working from home, many people find they are unable to escape technology. There’s no more excuses when replying to friends late like “Sorry, I was out for the day and just got home” or “I was doing some research on the computer” because in reality, everyone is on their devices now, all the time.

Source – Apple

What is Focus mode

Focus is essentially a refreshed “Do Not Disturb” feature in iOS 15.

With Focus mode enabled, you can set your device to either a Custom Focus or Suggested Focus.

Humans aren’t designed to multitask, and despite how much we try, you can’t do everything all at once.

With Focus Suggestions, your iPhone will intelligently observe your working hours, or realise when you’re normally winding down for bed, and will make recommendations so you can avoid unnecessary distractions.

How many times have you tried to go to bed, and then your favourite YouTube channel posts a new video?

If you’re a software developer or an accountant immersed in coding and excel formula chaos, a simply message can completely derail your train of thought.

Once you create a Focus mode with custom settings, it automatically applies to all your other Apple devices too.

Home Screen

You can also create Home Screen pages with apps and widgets that apply to specific Focus modes, an excellent way to reduce temptation from Social Media apps.

If you’re using your phone for focus (e.g. listening to a podcast, or doing photography, etc) you can also turn off Notification Badges, so even if you’re looking at your home screen, you won’t be tempted to check a notification.

Focus Status

The best feature of all, is when you’re blocking incoming notifications, your status will automatically display to others in Messages, showing that you’re unreachable, or taking a break from technology, a feature many of us have come to appreciate in work tools like Microsoft Teams ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Busy’ status.

It’s better than Auto-Reply, because someone may actually choose to not send you something that is irrelevant, if they know you’re not available. Which means when you come out of Focus mode, you won’t feel bombarded with unnecessary notifications (probably memes).

Of course, if there’s some special people in your life, you can put those people in a VIP list for allowed notifications.

Time Sensitive Notifications

Another great feature is to specify whether you want to allow Time Sensitive Notifications to bypass Focus mode. Developers can use this to identify urgent notifications – such as food deliveries, or ride sharing driver has arrived, etc. These will gradually be updated as app developers adopt this new capability in the coming months.

Auto reply

Even better, there’s an additional capability to activate Auto-Reply, just so your friends don’t think you’re actually ignoring them.

Lock Screen

For those who want to feel even more ‘in the zone’, you can also customise whether you want to Dim the Lock Screen so it appears that your phone is in night mode, and you can also turn off Lock Screen notifications for the duration of you Focus mode.

Focus Automations

You can customise your Focus mode to activate when you arrive at particular locations (e.g. work, university) or when specific apps are opened. Imagine opening the Books app and it automatically turns off notifications!

How to activate Focus mode

  1. Open the Settings app and open Focus options
  2. Select a predefined Focus mode, or tap [ + ] to add a new custom Focus
  3. Give your Focus a name and an icon
  4. Next, specify which apps or people can send you notifications
  5. Then, also choose whether you want to allow Time Sensitive Notifications
  6. Finally, to activate a Focus mode, toggle it on using the Control Centre
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