You can easily become distracted by work calls or random notifications from apps. You haven’t even taken into account that casual game you have at your fingertips. As a way to combat this distraction problem, Focus mode in iOS 15 helps people regain control over their devices.
The fact that I can lock down the options in various ways appeals to me. As an example, I only allow texts from my wife and Slack messages from our VP of sales to get through to me,” explains Relay FM cofounder Myke Hurley. “I also have a Work Out focus that blocks all but the Activity app. In the Shortcuts app, I set up an automation to run whenever I start a small set of workouts – so it wouldn’t go off when I was just walking, but only when doing specific exercises.”
Apple’s new Focus feature for iOS 15 expands Do Not Disturb. Prior to this, when you focused on a specific task, notifications were blocked. Users can now customize iOS devices at a finer level. This should make them more useful to a wider audience. At first glance, Focus may seem confusing, so let’s break it down.
How to set up focus mode
You can get started with Focus as soon as you have iOS 15 installed by going to the Settings app. The Do Not Disturb, Work, and Personal modes are available right out of the box from Apple. You can modify the Do Not Disturb setting. It will suggest certain people and apps for Work and Personal, but I find that they primarily revolve around recent usage.
You can add your own custom focus areas in the Focus section by clicking the plus sign in the top right corner. Additionally, Apple offers suggestions such as Driving, Gaming, Exercising, Reading, and Mindfulness.
There will be a few options to configure once you choose an area of focus. When the mode is on, select the people who will be able to send and receive messages. If any apps are allowed through, select them second. Time-sensitive apps can also be filtered. After setting up the Focus mode, additional settings are available.
Additionally, you can set a status that informs people that incoming notifications are being silenced. So people don’t feel ignored, it acts like an away message.
Similarly, you can hide all red circle badge numbers on your phone’s home screen, or you can create a custom home screen page instead. While the Focus mode is active, the option will show all of the home screens available to be used. Additionally, you can dim the lock screen and choose whether notifications appear there or not.
Focus modes are by default synchronized across devices, so if it’s active on a phone, it’ll also be active on an iPad. For status messages to be sent, this needs to be enabled. My first experience with Focus was a bit confusing since the previous Do Not Disturb feature didn’t work this way.
Different modes of focus
Being more productive with Focus modes is a great idea. The problem is that even the modes Apple provides can be ambiguous or existential—what is “work” and what is “personal” today? Individuals will have different answers.
Getting started with Focus was easier when I created really detailed modes for what I wanted. You can even create multiple ones and divide up the “work” into specific tasks. The following ideas may spark your imagination.
- Focus is a great way to spend family time watching movies. This one is set to only allow emergencies to pass through. Everything else will be blocked until the movie ends.
- Working Day (Morning): Most mornings I write reviews, take pictures of products, and email. Due to the fact that I edit photos on my iPad, and I occasionally need to look up something about a product using my phone, I set up this Focus mode to block out distractions. Still, I don’t change my home screen and allow plenty of people to access it.
- Working Day (Deadline): This focus mode is similar to the previous one, but I only let my editor in. I also turn off and dim the lock screen notifications when I’m on deadline and really need to get something done.
- Aviation: Flying has different implications from driving. It allows me to display a home screen of my frequently used travel apps, such as airline, hotel, rental, and email apps, as well as display notifications from these apps. Entertainment apps like Netflix and Movies are also included in my list.
- The Daily Commuting Mode: Everyone’s daily commute will vary a lot, especially if it’s mostly between the bedroom and living room. While riding the train or taking an Uber, setting up a few news and social apps could be a convenient way to catch up on the day.
- During long runs (more than six miles): I rarely receive unexpected phone calls, except from solicitors. I make sure that all calls are turned off except those from a few selected people in this mode. A robot’s call halfway through a 6-mile run can ruin my running rhythm.
In terms of e-readers (electronic books): the iPad mini is a perfect device, except that it’s much more powerful than the E Ink Kindle. Long-form content can easily distract you. Configure Focus mode so that you can read at least a few chapters of a Kindle book or really long article.