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Apple introduced a new “Focus” mode with iOS 15, combining Do Not Disturb with a few more options to better manage distractions on your iPhone or iPad. If you’ve been digging around in the Settings and Messages app, you may have noticed the “Share Focus Status” toggle.

Share Focus Mode Explained

“Share Focus Mode” really only affects Focus modes like Do Not Disturb, Work, Personal, Sleep, and any others you have set up. If you don’t use these modes, you don’t need to worry about this setting since it won’t affect anything.

Focus modes in iOS 15

The whole point of these Focus modes is to silence non-urgent notifications and contacts. You can choose to allow notifications from certain apps and contacts when setting up Focus mode under Settings > Focus. Tap on a Focus mode and you’ll see an option for “Focus Status” which is how to manage whether your current status is shared.

Share Focus Status toggle in Settings

When the “Share Focus Mode” option is enabled, apps will be able to see that you have notifications silenced. They won’t be able to see why you have notifications silenced, and won’t be able to share the name of the current Focus mode you are using.

Example of notification sent when Focus mode is engaged

When you share your status in a particular mode, contacts that try and message or call you using apps like Messages will see a “<Name> has notifications silenced” with an option to “Notify Anyway” if the contact deems the message important enough.

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

You Don’t Have to Share Everything With Everyone

It’s unclear how many apps support Focus status features beyond Apple’s Messages app and the iMessage platform. There doesn’t appear to be an option to share Focus status in WhatsApp or Slack, for example.

Share Focus Status with specific contacts

Messages lets you choose whether to share your Focus status on a contact-by-contact basis. To access this setting, open a conversation with a contact and tap on their name or contact photo at the top of the screen. Scroll down until you see the “Share Focus Status” toggle and enable or disable it.

Focus Is Useful Once You’ve Set It Up

Focus can help prevent distractions by grouping notifications, hiding distracting apps from your Home screen, and cleaning up your lock screen. Settings sync between iPhone, iPad, and macOS so you can stay focused regardless of which devices you are using during your most productive hours.

If you’re having trouble staying focused on your computer, you can go one further and block distracting websites like Facebook on macOS, Windows, or Linux.

Profile Photo for Tim Brookes Tim Brookes
Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He's invested in the Apple ecosystem, with experience covering Macs, iPhones, and iPads for publications like Zapier and MakeUseOf.
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