Using Focus on the iPhone

The iPhone is generally considered a “simple” smartphone to use, but it has become packed with features over the years. “Focus” is one feature that is particularly jam-packed with powerful tools.

iPhone Focus

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
January 12, 2023

The iPhone is generally considered a “simple” smartphone to use, but it has become packed with features over the years. “Focus” is one feature that is particularly jam-packed with powerful tools. Let’s take a look at this feature.

This is for the iPhone. Screenshots are from iPhone XR running iOS 16+

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What is Focus

Focus Mode, actually called just “Focus” on the iPhone, is essentially Do Not Disturb for specific situations. Rather than having a one-size-fits-all Do Not Disturb mode, Apple made it possible to create a bunch of specialized modes.

The long-standing Do Not Disturb mode is still present, by the way, but Focus makes it more useful. While you may have only used Do Not Disturb while you sleep, now it can be customized for a bunch of different situations.

Related

Five Great iPhone Features You Should be Using

Do Not Disturb

Focus 1
Do Not Disturb Notifications

Distractions management is still a core part of Focus, but it goes far beyond traditional Do Not Disturb. Each Focus Mode you create can be customized with which people and apps you want to allow to send notifications. Maybe you do not care about getting a text from your friend in the middle of your workout, but you might not want that distraction while studying.

The cool thing about Focus is it can go beyond just simply allowing certain people and apps to send notifications. It can actually filter out conversations from the Messages apps, hide calendars in the Calendar app, and limit you to specific Tab Groups in Safari.

That’s part of the reason why Focus is so useful. With other Do Not Disturb modes, you may be able to block notifications, but all the distractions are still on your phone if you look. Focus not only can block notifications, but it can also block the actual distraction too.

Different iPhones For Different Situations

Focus 2
Enabling Focus

Another big part of Focus is customizable screens. You can actually create a specific Lock screen and Home screen setup to use in different Focus modes. It’s like having a different iPhone for each situation.

Let’s say you have a Focus Mode you use while you are at work. You can create a Lock screen with Widgets that pertain to your job and set up a Home screen with the apps you use throughout the workday. You could also create a “Weekend” mode for unwinding with a plain Lock screen and a single Home screen page with only essential apps.

It’s essentially like switching between user profiles. Set up the Focus mode once, then it’s simply a matter of tapping a toggle and you are looking at a whole new phone.

So Much to Discover

If you have not noticed, a lot is going on with Focus. Apple has really fleshed out this feature into a powerful tool, but it does require some poking around to get the most out of it.

For example, you can set up an “Auto Reply” message to text messages when you are in Focus Mode. You can share your “Focus state” across devices, to let people know you are not ignoring them. Focus modes can be scheduled to come on automatically by time, location, or when opening specific apps.

Focus is packed with cool and useful options, and if you have not taken the time to dive in, you owe it to yourself to take a look. You can really make your iPhone more enjoyable to use by setting up a few Focus modes.

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Author: Raymond

I am Raymond Oglesby, an Information Technology (IT) specialist with 30 years in the field. I have taught Microsoft Applications and troubleshot computers in 15 countries and many States. My career was focused on mainframes and desktops from application development to implementation. I have written hundreds of programs for various architectures. I decided to start a blog to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I plan on updating this blog at least twice a week about smart phone apps to Windows. Please feel free to leave a Comment or Tweet. I would love to hear from you. Do you have a computer tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the app and version that you are using. To help me out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

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