Focusing on iOS 15 Focus feature

Published October 8, 2021, 8:52 AM

by Professor Rom Feria

Prior to iOS 15, my iPhone is set to Do Not Disturb from 7PM to 7AM every day. What it did was mute all notifications, except for those on my VIP contacts. With iOS 15, a new feature, Focus, was added, as an enhanced Do Not Disturb setting. Focus mode might help you keep sane during our work-from-home mode, when the line of work and home gets blurred.

When you check your iOS 15’s Settings page, you will see Focus. Opening it will provide you with different recommended Focus settings along with a toggle to share the different Focus modes to all your devices (iPad, Apple Watch, Mac) via Share Across Devices. Here’s how I setup my Focus modes.

First thing I setup was Work mode. This is enabled every weekday from 8AM to 5PM. I selected applications, such as 1Password, Fastmail, Messages, Signal, Mail, Protonmail, and Shortcuts, to be allowed to notify me of any event. All other apps are denied access to the notification. In addition, I also enabled my immediate family and some work colleagues to interrupt me during the day. I have yet to change my Home Screen or Lock Screen — something that you can customize per Focus mode. So, if you are not on the list of those allowed to interrupt, and you send me a message via iMessage, you will see a note that says notifications has been silenced. Pretty neat, huh?

Do Not Disturb Focus mode runs from 6PM to 830PM during weekdays. No other application can disturb me during this time, but family members can contact me.

From 830PM to the next day, Bedtime mode kicks in. This is set to have the same restrictions as Do Not Disturb mode. I have this setup so my Apple Watch can start monitoring my sleep and inform me if I reach my target 8 hours of sleep every night. I sleep early because I wake up early, too.

Next is a Personal mode. Weekend is automatically set to activate this mode. Family are allowed to contact me and iMessage is the only app that is allowed to notify — in other words, don’t bug me about work-related stuff!

Finally, I have one more setting configured, and that is Fitness mode. This gets triggered when I start my daily workout, obviously. Usually, this is around 5AM (didn’t I tell you I wake up early?) when I hit the treadmill. During workout mode, the only persons who can interrupt me are my wife and my mom! Ha! Also, the applications allowed to notify are the Apple Watch app and the phone app. Nobody can interrupt me when I’m in the zone, unless it is an emergency! 🙂

Whilst I have done my Focus settings, it is still not perfect. I still have to fix the Home Screen and Lock Screen settings to further customize the experience. I want to make sure that I don’t see work-related applications during weekdays after 5PM — so a dedicated Home Screen would be nice, right? Anyway, will need to think how to customize the different home screens for each mode, though.

How about you? Have you configured your Focus settings already? Can you share them with us, too?