Focus Mode is a game changer for iPhone - here's how to set it up and use it

In iOS 15, Apple introduced Focus Mode, a feature that expands the functionality of Do Not Disturb. With it, you can select which apps are allowed to be used during different times of your day. Plus, you can create custom Home screens, add different wallpapers and Apple Watch faces, and turn notifications on or off from specific apps or people.

With iOS 16, Apple has taken it a step further by allowing you to customize even more Focus Mode options, such as setting different browser tabs for each time of your day, choosing which email account will show notifications, automatically switching between different Focus modes , and more.

While it may take a while to set up this feature properly, I guarantee it will improve your iPhone experience, help you relax at night, and stop annoying notifications from annoying you during your workouts or zen moments.

How to set a focus mode

Image source: José Adorno for BGR

On your iPhone’s Control Center, tap “Focus” or your current Focus mode, then select “New Focus.” Let the fun begin!

  • You can create a custom focus or use some of the built-in options. Let’s try “Game”;
  • During my gaming sessions I don’t like to be disturbed, but on “Choose people” and “Choose apps” you can be notified of the people/apps you select;
  • You can choose a lock screen you’ve already created — or choose from a suggestion made by Apple — a home screen and even the Apple Watch face;
  • You can also “set a schedule”, for example if you play Pokémon Unite every day from 19:00 to 21:00, you can automatically activate this Focus mode. Three options are available: time, location, or on opening an app;
  • Last but not least, you can set Focus Filters for the notifications you want to receive from Mail, Messages, and Safari. And even add system filters, like turning off the always-on display, setting the appearance to dark mode, or turning on power saver mode. In this case I prefer not to add any.
  • Now you’re good to go.

You can even share your Focus Mode across devices and with your contacts in “Focus Status”. I think Apple is just missing a few changes to this page. For example, you need to set a focus mode, so you can create a whole new home screen page, change the location of each app, or add a new watch face.

Focus mode helps me concentrate and organize my day better

Different customizations Focus Image source: José Adorno for BGR

In total, I have six different Focus mode settings: Do Not Disturb, Fitness, Game, Personal, Sleep, and Work. I use the most personal, work, fitness and sleep.

I have a sleep schedule of 11pm to 7am. Starting at 10.30pm, I will only receive notifications from my family members or time-sensitive notifications from the app. My screen goes dark automatically and my alarm goes off the following day.

When I wake up, my Focus mode automatically switches to Personal. With that, everyone can message me and I turn on notifications from social media. I also have custom lock screen and home screen pages and a unique watch face. I only receive messages from my personal email accounts.

When I start working, the Work mode starts. Notifications from social media, except Twitter, go off and I enable popups for my banks, newspapers, etc. I have a specific watch face that shows my calendar during my working day and a personalized Home screen with the apps I use the most: Slack, Outlook, Shortcuts, etc. I also focus on the drinking water widget, supplies and fitness.

When my working day ends, I returned to Personal. Then I go to the gym. When I start a workout or Fitness+ workout, this mode turns on automatically, my screens change background, and I don’t get any notifications, except for some family members, for emergencies. After that, I go back to Personal and so on.


These focus mode settings are handy so I’m not distracted by notifications I don’t need to see in a given mode. This also helps me hide applications I don’t need at the moment, which could make me anxious or prevent me from relaxing after a long day full of screens.

The possibilities are endless; you can create modes for Driving, Mindfulness, Reading or, who knows, cooking, walking your pet, spending some time with your friends and so on. Thankfully the custom modes offer several nice icons and different colors. Name what you want to focus on and create your own custom mode.

I hope this guide helps you stay focused and enjoy your Apple devices to the fullest.

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