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How to Set Focus Mode on iPhone

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Ryan Haines/Android Authority

If you have a concentration-demanding task, having your iPhone constantly bothering you with notifications won’t help. An obvious solution is to completely disable all notifications, which can be tedious, by continuously disabling them and then re-enabling them. Focus mode on iPhone is the best solution. It temporarily suspends all notifications and phone calls when certain conditions are met. It can be a game-changer if you want to improve your productivity.

Read more: How to silence your Apple Watch


Go to Settings > Focus on your iOS device to start using Focus Mode on your iPhone. Configure one of ten available focus modes to trigger when certain conditions are met. You can still let phone calls and texts from certain people through, and you can still allow notifications from certain apps, while blocking everything else.


What is Focus Mode?

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Focus mode is a set of ten categories that you can customize to temporarily suspend calls and notifications in any type of situation. The old Do Not Disturb feature has been integrated into Focus, making it more powerful, flexible and customizable. As the name suggests, Focus Mode is uniquely designed to help you focus better by cutting the ringer and ping when you least want it.

Types of focus modes

ios focus modes

There are ten Focus Mode categories – nine “official” and one Custom mode that you can use for other scenarios.

  • Conduct — if the phone detects that you are moving at high speed, it will assume that you are driving and start driving mode.
  • Aptitude – it can be triggered at a certain place (eg gym) or if you start a fitness app on your device.
  • Games — lights up when a game starts on your device and/or when a wireless controller connects to your phone.
  • mindfulness – if you’re using a mindfulness app or using mindfulness on your apple watch, it triggers.
  • While reading – once you open the Books app or the Kindle app, the phone will put you into reading mode. Now you can really get into War and peace without your phone interrupting your intellectual thoughts.
  • Work — Having this switch turned on at certain times of the day or in certain places (requires location services to be turned on.)
  • Sleep — If you set a bedtime in the Health app and set an alarm to get up, Sleep mode will ensure that you are not interrupted by your phone during the night.
  • Do not disturb – You can specify times, locations and app usage when you don’t want to be disturbed.
  • Personal – you can designate certain times of the day as “family time” and your phone will silence everything, so things like work don’t get in your way.
  • Custom – with this one, you can name it whatever you want, for any situation you want. Then give it all the conditions it needs to meet to light up.

The Difference Between Focus Mode and Do Not Disturb

The difference between Focus Mode and the old Do Not Disturb is that DND shuts down all your notifications regardless of location, app usage, time, and other factors. It was an all or nothing proposition. Focus, on the other hand, allows you to specify which mode activates when, and what passes and does not pass. It’s much more flexible and useful.

How to activate and deactivate Focus mode

By default, Focus mode is disabled; therefore, you need to configure it the first time. You can easily activate and deactivate any of the modes outside of the specified conditions. Swipe down from the top right corner of the screen. This opens the control center. Faucet To concentrate.

focus control center

You will then get a list of the focus modes you have already configured. Tap the one you want to use.

focus control center options

How to configure Focus mode

If you haven’t set up a focus mode yet, let’s see how to do it now. It’s extremely simple, and we’ll use Reading mode to illustrate it.

On your device, go to Settings > Focus. Tap the + icon in the upper right corner or select one already on the screen.

ios focus setup

Select the focus mode you want to configure. For this example, we will choose While reading.

full list of ios focus modes

The screen is quite long, so let’s look at it in two parts. The first section deals with notifications – which ones you want to allow and which ones you want to block. Faucet People begin.

ios reading focus part one

You can either turn off notifications from certain people or allow notifications from certain people. I’ve found that it’s often better to create an “allow list” and let the device block everything else by default. Tap the + icon and select the contacts from your device’s Contacts app that you’ll allow to interrupt.

ios focus mode allows people

Now go back to the previous screen, tap apps, and do the same for the apps installed on your device. Which ones do you want to allow to send you notifications? Obviously, be very selective here otherwise it defeats the purpose of using Focus mode on your iPhone in the first place.

ios focus mode allow apps

Smart activation is the next section. You can set a mode to activate when a certain condition is met. Faucet Add a schedule.

ios reading focus part two

Decide whether the mode should activate at a time, a location, or when you open an app.

focus mode ios add conditions

Since this is the reading mode, I chose the app option and pressed Books and To light up.

focus mode ios add apps

You will see on the screen that the Reading mode will activate when I open books or Kindle. You can add as many “programs” as you want.

ios read focus mode set schedule

The last part is Focus filters. Here, some apps will be notified when the focus is active. For example, anyone sending you an iMessage will be notified that you have enabled Focus Mode. Therefore, they will know not to expect a response from you anytime soon.

focus mode ios add filter


Do Not Disturb is now integrated into Focus Mode, making it more powerful and flexible.

Apple gives you six categories, but there’s a seventh Custom category where you can configure whatever you want.

Yes, when any of your Focus Modes is enabled, it automatically syncs with all Apple devices signed into the same Apple ID. You can, however, disable Focus mode on one or more Apple devices by turning it off in Focus settings.

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