iPhone User Setting a Focus Mode.
Khamosh Pathak / How-To Geek

As mobile devices have become deeply integrated into our lives, we’ve started to think more about how we use them. Apple’s approach to healthier iPhone and iPad usage is called “Focus,” and you should set it up.

What Is Focus Mode?

“Focus”—commonly called “Focus Mode”—was introduced in iOS 15 and it builds upon the existing “Do Not Disturb” features. In short, Focus Mode is specialized Do Not Disturb modes for specific situations.

Rather than have one Do Not Disturb mode for everything—which is still included, by the way—you can create modes for things like work, fitness, gaming, reading, and more. It provides more fine-tuning to match those specific activities.

RELATED: What Is Focus on iPhone and iPad, and How Is It Better Than Do Not Disturb?

How to Set Up Focus

First, launch the “Settings” app from the home screen on your iPhone or iPad.

Open the "Settings" app.

Select “Focus” to get started.

Tap "Focus."

Apple has a few pre-loaded Focus modes for you to set up, including the old “Do Not Disturb” mode.

You can select one of the pre-loaded modes to set it up or tap the + icon in the top right to create a new one. The set-up process is the same for all modes.

Select a Focus mode to set up.

If you’re adding a new mode, there are some pre-loaded ones to choose from, or you can make a “Custom” mode and name it whatever you want.

Focus Modes.

Whichever Focus mode you’re using, the setup is the same. First, tap “Add Person” to select the people you want notifications from.

Tap "Add Person."

Select all the people you want and tap “Done.”

Select people and tap "Done."

Next, select “Calls From.”

Select "Calls From."

You can choose who will be able to call you when the Focus mode is active. Select from “Everyone,” “No One,” “Favorites,” or “Everyone.” Also, decide if you want repeated calls to get through.

Choose who can call you.

When you’re done with that, tap the blue button on the bottom that says “Allow # People.”

Tap "Allow People" to finish.

The next step is to choose which apps will be allowed to show notifications. Tap the “Add App” button.

Select "Add App."

Select all the apps you want and tap “Done.”

Select apps and tap "Done."

Lastly, you can toggle on “Time Sensitive” notifications to be allowed in the Focus mode. This is a special class of notifications for important apps.

Toggle on "Time Sensitive."

Tap the blue button at the bottom that says “Allow # Apps.”

Tap "Allow Apps."

Certain Focus modes can start automatically. For example, the “Fitness Focus” mode can start when you do a workout with Fitness+ or on your Apple Watch. You’ll have the option to enable this or skip it.

Choose automatic starting or skip it.

The last step is to tap “Done” on the final screen.

Tap "Done" to finish up.

RELATED: Apple's New Fitness+ Is an Affordable Subscription Service for the Whole Family

How to Configure the Focus Mode

We’ve set up the Focus mode, but there’s still more we can do with it. On the settings screen for the mode, there are a number of options. We’ll start with “Focus Status.”

Tap "Focus Status."

If you enable this, apps will display to people who message you that you have notifications silenced.

Toggle on "Share Focus Status."

Next, go back to the previous screen and tap “Home Screen.”

Tap "Home Screen."

There are two options here. You can “Hide Notification Badges” when the Focus mode is active and select specific home screen pages to show when the mode is active.

Hide badges or choose custom pages.

Go back to the previous screen and tap “Lock Screen.”

Tap "Lock Screen."

You have two options here as well. You can “Dim Lock Screen” when the mode is active and show silenced notifications on the lock screen.

Toggle on "Dim Lock Screen" or "Show On Lock Screen."

Return to the previous page one more time. The last thing to do is set up a schedule or automation for the Focus mode. You don’t have to do this if you just want to turn it on manually.

Add a schedule or auomation.

You can automate the Focus mode with a time, location, or an app. Follow the steps to set up whichever method you would like to use. You can use more than one.

Choose one of the automation methods.

That’s all there is to setting up and configuring a Focus mode!

How to Start Focus

Okay, you’ve got all your Focus modes set up, maybe some of them are automated, but others require manual starting. To do that, swipe down from the right-top of the display.

Swipe down from the top right.

Tap the “Focus” button from the Control Center.

Tap the "Focus" button.

Select the Focus mode you would like to start and it will be enabled.

Select the Focus mode.

You can also tap the three-dots icon for more options.

That’s all there is to it! Focus is one of the coolest features introduced in iOS 15. Not every situation requires the same level of notification and app blocking. Sometimes you just want to limit a few distractions, other times you need a more full-blown approach.

If you ever find that Focus isn’t for you, you can easily delete a Focus period on your iPhone or iPad.

RELATED: How to Delete a Focus From iPhone and iPad

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Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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