How to Set Up and Schedule Focus Mode on iOS 15

iPhone Running iOS 15 Showing New Focus Modes Credit: Elijah Fox
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With iOS 15, many new features came to the iPhone. New quality of life improvements, a complete redesign to Safari, and of course, an entirely new feature called Focus. 

Focus helps you mute notifications in order to, well, focus on the important things you’re doing. At its core, Focus is basically Do Not Disturb. But it also comes with more features like the ability to create your own Focus depending on the activity you’re doing, such as going to the gym or driving. 

iOS 15 comes with two Focus profiles from the get-go: Work and Sleep. For the most part, they work great, but you can do plenty more with Focus than that. 

How to Access Focus on Your iPhone and Apple Watch

You can access Focus mode pretty easily from both your iPhone or your Apple Watch. It’ll only take a few taps for you to get started.

How to Turn on Focus on iPhone

  1. Open the Control Center. If you have an iPhone with no Home Button, swipe your finger down from the top right corner. If your iPhone has a Home Button, swipe your finger up from the bottom of your screen.
  2. Press the word Focus in Control Center. 
  3. Tap the Focus mode you want to use.

Tip: If you want to turn on a Focus mode even quicker, tap the icon next to the word Focus in Control Center. That will automatically turn on the last Focus mode you used. 

How to Turn on Focus on Your Apple Watch

  1. Open Control Center on your Apple Watch. You do this by swiping up from the bottom of your screen.
  2. Tap on Focus. That is the little moon icon. 
  3. Choose the Focus mode you want to use. 
  4. Choose how long you want your Focus mode to be on. 

Focus Across Devices

Focus is available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Macs. And a cool feature that Focus has is that, once you turn it on on one device, all your other devices will automatically turn on Focus mode as well. So you won’t have to worry about any Apple devices bothering you while you’re working or exercising. 

How to Create Your Own Focus Mode

In iOS 15, you can create up to ten different Focus profiles on your iPhone. You can create your own profile from scratch or use one of the options Apple gives you. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Focus.
  3. Tap the plus icon (+) on the top right corner of your screen.
  4. Choose the Focus you want to create; if you want to create your own, tap Custom.
  5. If you choose a custom Focus, you’ll need to enter a name for it and choose an icon and its color. If you chose an existing Focus mode, tap Next.
  6. Choose the people you want notifications from while you’re in that Focus mode. You can remove people by tapping the minus button on the top left corner of the app. If you don’t want any notifications, choose Allow None
  7. You may also need to choose which apps you want notifications from. So, you can remove them by tapping the minus button on the top left corner of the screen or tap Allow None if you don’t want any app bothering you.
  8. Tap Done.

And you’re set! If you chose an existing Focus mode, you might also need to choose if you want to turn it on automatically or not. Don’t worry; you can automatically turn every Focus mode, but we’ll talk about that later.

How to Edit a Focus Mode

You can always change the settings of any Focus mode available, including the ones Apple already made. 

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Focus.
  3. Tap the Focus mode you want to edit.
  4. Make the changes you want and then exit Settings.

Here you can change many things about the Focus mode. You can add apps and people you want to get notifications from. You can also hide notifications and even delete the Focus mode. Unfortunately, we can’t look at all of them individually, but there are some things you might want to change. 

How to Schedule or Automate Your Focus Mode

You can make it, so your Focus mode automatically turns on at a certain time, when you’re using an app, or when you’re at a certain location.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to Focus.
  3. Choose the Focus mode you want to edit.
  4. Tap Add Schedule or Automation.
  5. Select Time, Location, or App and follow the instructions.

You’ll notice that there’s also a Smart Activation option. This option will automatically trigger your Focus mode throughout the day based on things like your location, the apps you’re using, and more.

How to Turn on Auto-Reply in Driving Focus

The Driving Focus mode has an extra auto-reply feature that will let people know you’re not available at the moment. You can customize the message and decide who will receive this auto-reply message.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Focus.
  3. Select Driving.
  4. Tap on Auto-Reply.
  5. Choose who will receive the message. 
  6. Customize your Auto-Reply message.

How to Share When You’re Using Focus

If you want people to know you’re not available at the moment, you can share your Focus status, so people who try to send you an iMessage will know you have your notifications silenced. Don’t worry; people won’t know which Focus mode you’re using or anything like that.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to Focus.
  3. Choose the Focus mode you want to change.
  4. Tap Focus Status.
  5. Toggle Share Focus Status on.

How to Make Focus Change Your Home Screen

Focus has this cool feature that lets you automatically change the pages on your Home Screen when you turn a Focus mode on. That’s extremely helpful to avoid getting distracted by “accidentally” opening Instagram instead of working.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select Focus.
  3. Choose the Focus mode you want to change.
  4. Tap on Home Screen.
  5. Toggle Custom Pages on.
  6. Choose the pages you want. 
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