How To Use Focus Mode on iPad & iPhone

Last Updated on May 10, 2023 by Ernests Embutnieks

Have you ever wondered how to make the Focus mode in your iPad or iPhone work? If yes, you’re at the right place. Apple’s newly launched Focus mode looks promising and seamless from the outside but can be really troubling if and when you lack the required knowledge. Dedicate a few minutes of your life to reading the following write-up, and trust me, you’ll never have to seek answers related to it ever again.

Focus Mode in the iPad and iPhone: A Brief Overview

With Focus Mode in iPad and iPhone, you’re looking at a more enhanced variant of the Apple Do Not Disturb feature. The Focus Mode reflects Apple’s deep-diving effort to make the “notification thing” more vivid for the users. As per the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, the main motive behind the introduction of Focus Mode was to make sure people don’t need to peek at their phones even when they don’t want to.

Shifting our attention from why to what, Focus Mode is a utility that allows iPhone and iPad users to set notification filters, whether related to calls or messages. The iPad and iPhone owners can decide how and when they want notifications to hit their device using Focus Mode. Focus lets you set an environment for any ongoing activity by blocking out all the notifications that you consider are unrelated to the concerned tasks.

Getting Inside Apple’s Focus Mode

Before I tell you how to set up and customize Focus on your iPad and iPhone, debating what’s inside is crucial. To help you with a better understanding, I decided to segment this discussion into the following two elements:

  • Focus Mode Profiles
  • Focus Mode Filters

Focus Mode Profiles:

As soon as you get yourself inside the Focus page, you’ll get introduced to a list of profiles that stretches from basic level utilities like the DND to the more personalized solutions that include Sleep and Work. Tapping on the plus sign that sits in your screen’s upper right corner will bring up other vivid options like Driving, Fitness, Gaming, and more. If none of the listed profiles seem to fit your requirements, you’re blessed with the ability to even create one. 

iphone focus mode profiles - driving, fitness, gaming, mindfulness, reading

Focus Mode Filters:

Apart from profiles, Focus loads up with a variety of filters that users are meant to tweak and determine how they want the magic to happen. These include allowed notifications, allowed apps, and allowed people. Just what the terms suggest, you can employ the respective filters and decide the installed apps and the contacts from whom you’re open to receiving alerts. 

Isn’t it amazing? Well, there is more to it. Keep reading as I unfold everything.

focus mode filters

How to Set up and Customize Focus Mode: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you’ve got enough information revolving around Apple’s Focus Mode, it is time; I guide you on setting the feature up and customizing it as per your needs. Make sure you’re well prepared as the tutorial is going to be lengthy.

Getting Started with Focus:

how to set up focus and do not disturb mode on ipad and iphone step by step
  • Right from your iPhone or iPad, launch the Settings app.
  • Have a look at the section above the Screen Time, and you’ll see something called Focus, tap on it.
  • You’ll then get navigated to the main screen of the Focus utility.
  • Under the menu, you can see four different options named, Do Not Disturb, Sleep, Personal, and Work. To begin setting up your Focus, you’ll need to select one or else simply add a desired custom Focus mode by hitting the + icon. The + icon sits in the top right corner.
  • Before moving any further, keep in mind that the “Share Across Devices” feature is enabled by default. Tapping the toggle next to it will turn it off in seconds.

Setting up the Focus

Until this point, it is pretty evident for you to understand that the Focus Mode primarily aims at silencing selected forms of alerts and notifications. You usually start by deciding who you want to allow the reach-access to. By reach-access, I mean the apps and the people picked will be able to get in touch with you and send alerts.

But what if you need someone to share something anyway? Well, in that case, you can make the “Notify Anyway” option come into play. It will forcefully push the notifications through the apps like Messages.

  • At first, it is essential to pick the contacts and the apps from which you want to continue getting notifications.
  • Head over to the very bottom of the Focus page. From there, you can opt to either allow all the suggestions at one go or “Allow None.”
  • However, you also have the freedom to add or remove more contacts/apps.
  • Once you’re done with the selection, you’re ready to choose whether or not you want to allow the “Time Sensitive” notifications.

Customizing your Focus

As soon as you conclude picking the desired apps and contacts, you can go ahead and customize your Focus. You can do that with your home screen custom pages, lock-screen and more. Here is how:

Creating a Custom Focus:

how to create a custom focus mode on iphone and ipad

Although you’ll find a list of vivid pre-optimized options under the Focus mode, you can always select a different path and create a custom Focus.

  • Go to the Settings menu
  • Hit the Focus option
  • Tap on the Add button (+), followed by clicking on the option that says, Custom or Browse Additional Options.
  • Input the desired name for your Focus.
  • Pick the color and an icon of your liking and tap Next.
  • Customize the list of options and proceed with your Focus.

Settings for the Home Screen:

how to allow notifications on home screen or lock screen on focus mode - ipad and iphone
  • Go to your iPhone’ or iPad’s Settings menu and head over to Focus.
  • Pick the desired Focus that you want to customize, followed by tapping the Home Screen option.
  • After that, turn on the Custom Pages, and select the desired Home Screen pages.
  • Finally, hit the Done button.

Settings for the Lock Screen:

  • Launch Settings on your iPad/iPhone and select Focus.
  • Choose the desired Focus, and then tap on the Lock Screen option.
  • At last, turn on the Dim Lock Screen toggle or Show On Lock Screen.

Customizing the Focus Schedule 

how set up focus mode schedule for time, location or app - iphone & ipad

Scheduling a Focus is as seamless as you might want it to be. You can activate at what times and in which particular location you want or don’t want specific apps to come up with notifications. 

  • Launch the Settings menu and head over to the Focus feature.
  • Select the Focus that you want to schedule.
  • Look for the option that says, Turn on Automatically. Once done, tap on the Add Schedule or Automation button.
  • Choose the time frame and proceed with the onscreen instructions.

If you want to edit your Sleep Mode schedule you will have to go to your iPhone open up the Health app and edit the schedule there.

Focus Mode Automation:

Using the Smart Activation feature to apply the desired Focus at relevant times during the entire day:

  • Go to the Settings menu.
  • Find and tap Focus and select the desired one.
  • Hit the option that says Smart Activation.
  • Tap Done, and you’re good to go.

Allowing Time-Sensitive Notifications:

  • Launch Settings 
  • Tap on Focus.
  • Select the desired Focus
  • Find and hit the Apps under Allowed Notifications.
  • Turn on the feature named Time Sensitive.

Allowing Contacts to Reach During Emergency:

  • Open your Contacts 
  • Scroll and select a contact you want to continue with.
  • Tap on the Edit button followed by clicking on the Ringtone or Text Tone, 
  • Find and turn on the Emergency Bypass feature
  • Tap Done.

How to Turn On the Focus Mode

Having talked about the entire process involved in setting up and customizing Focus on your iPhone and iPad, let’s learn how you can activate it.

1. Turning on the Focus Mode: The Control Center Method

  • Begin your process by accessing the control center on your iPad or iPhone 
  • After that, find and hit the Focus button. 
  • Next up, you’ll need to tap on the desired focus mode to enable it.
  • In case you want to choose the duration for which the Focus mode should be active, then tap on the three dots menu that sits right next to your focus mode. From the list that pops up, choose the desired option.
  • For 1 hour: Selecting it will enable the focus mode for the next 1 hour.
  • Until Tomorrow morning: It will enable the focus mode for the entire day. 
  • Until I leave this location: As the name suggests, it will activate the focus mode until you leave the place you’re currently in.

2. Turning on Focus Mode: The Lock Screen Method

  • Swipe up for iPhone and swipe down from clock on iPad
  • To turn on or even change the currently active Focus Mode, simply press and hold the focus icon located under the clock.
  • Pick the Focus Mode from the list, and you are done.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of customization does Focus Mode in iPad and iPhone offer?

The Focus mode is known to pack next-level customizable ability. The possibilities are many, from choosing to allow or disallow desired apps from sending alerts to tweaking the home screen pages, dimming your lock screen, and more. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that customization is the best thing about Focus mode on the whole.

Which is better, Do Not Disturb or Focus mode?

Both DND (or Do Not Disturb) and Focus Mode somewhat work towards the same purpose; however, with more flexibility, the latter seems to have the upper hand. Focus Mode is an enhanced version of DND that shelters more capability. But again, Focus can be troubling for beginners to get started with.

Wrapping Up

That brings us to the end of this informative blog post. Here, I’ve uncovered the most detailed guide for employing the iOS 15’s Focus feature. In case you’ve made it till the end, I’m pretty sure you’re now well exposed to everything that revolves around the Focus mode. Complexities resolved you can now seamlessly keep unwanted distractions away and keep yourself “engaged at the moment.”

Personally, I only use two modes – Sleep & Person set up focus mode. For me personally, so many options are overkill, but that’s just me. Hope that this article brought some clarity about focus mode and how to use it and how to set it up. If you read it, it should have. 🙂

Related Articles:

What Does the Half-Moon Icon Mean on Your iPad & iPhone?
How To Change Siri’s Voice on iPad & iPhone?
Why Is There No Calculator on the iPad?

+ posts

I love tech and all about it. I'm interested in finding ways how they can make my life more productive, and I share my knowledge with my blog readers. I'm an iPad Pro, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple Watch user, so I know a thing or two about these devices and try to write helpful content around these topics.