How to Use Apple's New Focus Mode to Disconnect

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Image Credit: Jill Layton / Screenshot

Apple's new Focus mode can really come in handy if you need a break from your phone — whether it's while you're driving, working, spending time with your kids, on vacation, exercising, or staring at a wall. It's basically an updated version of an AIM away message and helps you focus on the things that matter to you.

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Focus allows you to set up customized profiles (up to 10) that control which notifications pop up on your phone. The feature also lets you rearrange your home screen based on which apps you need and when — like if you want all of your work-related apps easily accessible during your work hours and your social media apps hidden during those same hours, you can make that happen.

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Focus is available for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, WatchOS 8, and MacOS Monterey. To access Focus on your newer iPhone, swipe down from the top right corner to access the Control Center. If you have a model that doesn't have Face ID, you'll swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You can also reach Focus by going to Settings > Focus.

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When you turn on Focus, your status will automatically be visible to your contacts (like an away message). They won't be able to see the name of your Focus, only that you've silenced notifications. You can turn off the notification feature by going to the settings menu and toggling the Focus Status.

How to create a Focus

Image Credit: Jill Layton / Screenshot

Open the Control Center and tap Focus. The options include Do Not Disturb, Work, Sleep, and Personal.

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Each Focus has three main components: notifications, home screen or lock screen customization, and scheduling. You can select the people you want to allow to get in touch with you even when your Focus is turned on. The same goes for apps. From there, you can customize your home or lock screen to fit the Focus. You can also dim or hide notifications. Then you can schedule your Focus times, which can be the same or different every day. Each Focus can also be scheduled to turn on when you arrive at a certain location or open an app.

Play around with each component to figure out what works best for you. Once you have everything set up, you can choose to have Focus mode work across all of your Apple devices.

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