Windows 10’s Focus Assist feature temporarily hides incoming notifications. In Windows 10’s next update, Focus Assist can activate when you’re using any full-screen app, whether that’s YouTube in a browser, Netflix, or a desktop video player like VLC.

This feature will be part of Windows 10’s upcoming update, codenamed 19H1 and expected for release in April 2019. Microsoft just added this feature in Insider build 18277, released on November 7.

“Focus Assist” was added back in the April 2018 Update. Windows 10 can automatically enable it when you’re playing a full-screen game or projecting your display, or even just between certain hours. It’s like a “Do Not Disturb” mode for Windows 10. When you disable Focus Assist—so, when you stop playing a game or watching a video—any notifications you missed will be summarized for you. This is all customizable.

In Windows 10 19H1, Focus Assist is getting a new option that will hide notifications whenever you’re using a full-screen app. It’s named “When I’m using an app in full screen mode,” and is available with the other Focus Assist settings at Settings > System > Focus Assist.

So, whenever you’re using any sort of full-screen app—whether that’s a full-screen YouTube video in Chrome or another browser, a Netflix stream, or even a downloaded video played in VLC, Movies & TV, or another app—Focus Assist can automatically disable incoming notifications to avoid bothering you. If you use your PC as a media center, this could be very useful.

There’s just one catch: Many Windows applications use their own custom type of notifications and will ignore this setting. Focus Assist only affects Windows applications that use standard Windows notifications—the kind that appear in the Action Center.

Maybe you do want to see some notifications while you’re watching a video—that’s fine, too. You can set Focus Assist to “Priority only” mode and configure a list of priority applications. Focus Assist will let notifications from the specific applications you care about through.

And, of course, you don’t have to use Focus Assist if you don’t want it. You can just turn it off from its settings page and forget it exists..

How to Hide Notifications While Watching Videos Today

If you want Focus Assist to hide notifications while you’re watching videos today, you can open the Action Center by pressing Windows + A or by clicking the notification bubble icon on the taskbar at the bottom right corner of your screen. Click the “Focus Assist” tile to toggle it on. If you don’t see the tile, click the “Expand” link.

You’ll have to return here and toggle it off again when you want to see notifications. But, when the next Windows 10 update arrives, Windows 10 can automatically turn it on and off for you.

RELATED: How to Use Focus Assist (Do Not Disturb Mode) on Windows 10

This latest Insider preview build also adds some other cool features. In the Action Center, the brightness toggle tile has been turned into a slider bar so you can quickly adjust your display brightness. Microsoft is now enabling the “Let Windows try to fix apps so they’re not blurry” by default to help fix blurry apps when you change your display’s DPI settings.

And you can now customize Windows 10 Application Guard for Microsoft Edge settings straight from Windows Defender, so you don’t have to dig into Group Policy to customize Microsoft’s locked-down browser environment.

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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