Focus Modes are one of the key new features available in iOS 15, set for release later this year. In conjunction with the Notification Summary, Focus helps you to minimise distracting notifications and apps when you need some quiet time.
It’s much like Do Not Disturb, a staple of iOS for years, but with the ability to receive notifications from specific contacts and apps, and you can hide entire Home screen pages to keep you distraction-free too.
While iOS 15 isn’t out until later this year, you can get the iOS 15 public beta right now if you’re keen on trialling the new features before anybody else. Here’s how to set up and use Focus modes in iOS 15.
How to set up Focus modes in iOS 15
The first step is to access the new Focus menu in iOS 15 – simply head to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and tap the new Focus menu.
Once you’ve accessed the Focus menu, you’ll find preset modes for Do Not Disturb, Sleep, Personal and Work, with the latter two options ready to be set up.
You’re not limited to just those four modes though; tapping the + icon in the top right allows you to create an entirely new focus mode for exercising, meditating or whatever else you’d like to concentrate on.
There’s also an option to share your focus modes across your devices, meaning when you set Work mode on your iPhone, it’ll automatically toggle the mode on your iPadOS 15-enabled iPad and macOS Monterey-enabled Mac too.
Let’s set up the Work mode.
- In the Focus menu, tap Work.
- Pick the contacts you want to receive notifications from while working. Siri will auto-suggest contacts, but you can add more by tapping the Add Contact button. Alternatively, hit Allow None if you don’t want to be disturbed by anyone.
- Next, it’s time to select which apps you’d like to be able to send notifications during work hours. As with Contacts, Siri will auto-suggest some apps based on past usage, but you can browse for others or allow none depending on your preference.
- You’ll then have to decide whether you want to allow time-sensitive notifications that’ll override your focus mode – things like doorbell alerts and delivery notifications.
Your work Focus mode will then be saved and ready for further customisation.
You can tap the Home Screen menu to display custom Home Screen pages while the Focus is active – perfect if you want to hide distracting social media apps and games during work hours – and Smart Activation allows your iPhone to automatically enable or disable the mode based either on your schedule, current location and app usage.
To get back to this menu later on, tap the Work focus mode in the Focus section of the Settings app.
How to use Focus Modes
Once you’ve configured your Focus, it’ll automatically turn on when any of the Smart Activation triggers are activated – that could be a time, location or app depending on what you set up.
If you decided to forego the Smart Activation triggers, you can enable your Focus mode in the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right of your display and long-tapping the Focus button.
You’ll also be able to activate different Focus modes using Siri at full release, but the functionality isn’t available in the iOS 15 public beta just yet.
Once active, you’ll see an icon representing your active Focus mode on your lock screen, Control Center and Status bar. Long pressing the icon on the lock screen provides quick access to the Focus menu to disable your current focus or select a different one.
You can also modify your schedule from this menu by tapping the three dots next to the Focus mode in question.