With never-ending alerts and frequent phone calls, it becomes hard to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. While iOS already offered ways to keep unnecessary phone calls and notifications at bay, there wasn’t a centralized feature to let users control alerts from one convenient spot – up until now. With iOS 15, you can use Focus mode on your iPhone or iPad to minimize distractions and concentrate on the things that matter to you. Whether you want to dive deep into gaming without any interference, sleep with complete peace of mind, or binge-watch TV series on Netflix, read on to learn what is Focus mode and how to use it in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

How to Use Focus Mode in iOS 15 on iPhone and iPad (2021)

To get going, let’s first learn what exactly is Focus mode in iOS 15 and how it works for iPhone and iPad users. Then, we will explain how to create different types of custom Focus modes, including one for gaming, reading, work, and many others, depending on your needs. So let’s dive right in.

What Is Focus Mode in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15?

Focus mode in iOS 15 aims to help you concentrate on the things that matter to you by getting rid of all the distractions like unwanted app notifications and phone calls. You can consider Focus mode as the more expanded form of Do Not Disturb mode that has existed in Apple’s mobile OS for several years.

To ensure you don’t miss out on important alerts and stay committed to your task, it uses four effective principles:

  • Silence Notifications: Focus mode silences all the notifications except those you allow.
  • Don’t Miss Out: All important people are allowed to send notifications without any restrictions so that you can catch up with important things.
  • Share a Status: Your Focus status informs apps and people that you have silenced notifications. If people try to message you while Focus mode is turned on, they will see a message saying you have notifications silenced. 

focus mode in ios 15

  • Turn On Automatically: For a simplified experience, iOS 15 automatically turns on your created focus at a set time, location, or while using an app so that you don’t have to enable focus mode manually.

What Type of Focus Modes Can You Create on iPhone and iPad?

For enhanced control, Apple has included both sleep tracking and Do Not Disturb in Focus mode. So, apart from creating a focus for your work or personal tasks, you can also fine-tune DND and sleep tracking right from inside the Focus mode.

As to what type of focus modes you can create on your iOS 15 device, it all depends on your needs and the tasks you want to take on with the desired concentration. Here are the focus modes you can create in iOS 15:

  • Personal
  • Work
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Gaming
  • Reading
  • Driving
  • Fitness
  • Sleep
  • Custom (enables you to better adjust the Focus mode in iOS 15 as per your needs)

Thanks to seamless syncing, your created focus mode is shared across all of your Apple devices linked with the same iCloud account. That means when you turn on your Focus Mode on your iPhone, it will automatically be enabled on your iPad, Mac, and even the Apple Watch as well.

What Sort of Customization Does Focus Mode in iOS 15 Offer?

Probably the best part about Focus mode is that it is fully customizable. If you ever feel the need to tweak your focus, you can choose to allow/ disallow any apps from sending notifications. Besides, you can even customize the home screen pages, dim lock screen, and hide notification badges when Focus mode is turned on.

For better control over apps that have requested to share your Focus Status, Focus mode lets you stop apps from seeing your Focus Status. So, if you ever happen to put privacy over everything else, you can take advantage of this essential feature to hide your status. And when a focus becomes unnecessary, you will be able to delete it.

How to Create a New Custom Focus Mode in iOS 15 on iPhone and iPad

Now that you know you can create a focus mode for all sorts of purposes, let’s learn how to create a new focus mode in iOS 15.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and choose Focus.

Choose Focus

2. Now, tap on the “+” button at the top right corner of the screen.

Tap on the + button

Note: Alternately, you can access Focus modes from the Control Center. Swipe down from the top right and find the “Focus” tile. After that, long-press and hold the Focus tile to expand, and tap on the New Focus (+) button.

New Focus

3. On the next screen, select a focus to get started. You have multiple options to choose from – driving, fitness, gaming, or custom. If you want to focus on something else, tap on “Custom” and then name your focus. For the purpose of this guide, I’m going to choose the gaming option. As steps are identical, you can choose any option depending on your needs.

What you want to focus

4. On the next screen, you should see a brief guide. Tap on Next to proceed.


5. Next up, choose the people you want to receive notifications from when the Focus mode is enabled. Simply tap the “Add Contact” button and select the preferred contacts from your address book. After that, tap Add “X” People. If you don’t want notifications from anyone, choose the “Allow None” option.

Add contacts

6. Up next, choose apps you want to get notifications from when the Focus mode is active. Tap on the “Add App” button and then select the preferred apps from the list. After that, tap the All “X” Apps. Again, if you don’t want to receive alerts from any app, choose the “Allow None” option.

Allow X apps

7. Finally, allow people and apps to provide important notifications immediately even when the Focus mode is active. Tap the “Allows Time Sensitive” notifications button.

Enable time sensitive alerts

Customize Focus Mode in iOS 15 on iPhone and iPad

Once you have created a focus, you can customize it as and when you want to suit your needs better. For instance, you can fine-tune the home screen pages, lock screen, and even hide notification badges when the Focus mode is turned on. So lets’ take a look at the steps you need to follow to customize a focus mode to your needs:

  1. Navigate to the Settings app -> Focus and then select a focus.

Select a focus

2. On this screen, you can choose to allow/ disallow notifications from people/ apps, turn off/ on Focus Status, and time-sensitive notifications as per your needs.

Focus Status

3. Notably, you can also customize the home screen to keep the unwanted home screen pages away when the Focus mode is active. Under the “Customization” section, choose Home Screen.

Choose Home Screen

4. After that, turn on the toggle next to “Custom Pages” and then tap the Chooses Pages. Next, select the home screen pages you want to show in this Focus Mode and tap Done at the top right corner to finish.

Customize Home screen

5. You can dim the lock screen and hide notification badges while you have Focus mode enabled. Moreover, there is also an option to enable Delayed Delivery to get notifications delivered directly to Notification Center until the Focus is turned off.

Customize Lock Screen

With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Do Not Disturb has become part of Focus. With the addition of new features like the ability to share focus status and customize the home screen, DND has now become more functional. Plus, you can treat it like any other focus and tweak Do Not Disturb Focus Mode to your liking.

On the other hand, Smart Activation can play a vital role in helping you get the most out of Focus mode. More on this later.

How to Enable/ Disable Focus Mode in iOS 15

I know, you must now be wondering how to enable/ disable focus mode to ward off any distractions. Well, to get it done, you don’t need to look anywhere else but the Control Center or the Lock Screen. Yeah, you read that right! So without further ado, let’s take a look at both methods:

  • Turn on Focus Mode Using Control Center

You can turn on focus mode and choose how long it should be active right from the control center of your iOS device. Just follow the steps below:

  1. To get going, access the control center on your iOS device.
  • On iPhone and iPad without a home button: Swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to access Control Center.
  • On iPhone and iPad with home button: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the control center.

2. After that, tap on the Focus button. Do note that if you tap the crescent moon icon, you will instantly enable the Do Not Disturb mode.

control center on iPhone

3. Next, tap on a focus mode to enable/ disable it.

Enable or disable Focus Mode on iOS

4. If you want to choose how long a focus should be active, tap on the three dots next to a focus mode. Then, you have three options to choose from:

  • For 1 hour: Enable the focus mode for 1 hour.
  • Until Tomorrow morning: Enable the focus mode until the next morning. It could be useful for Do Not Disturb or Sleep modes.
  • Until I leave this location: Enable a focus mode until you leave a place (it will show a nearby place).

control a focus from control center - What is Focus Mode and How to Use It in iOS 15

  • Turn on Focus Mode from Lock Screen

Once you enable a Focus Mode from the Control Center, you will see the icon for that focus on the lock screen – just below the clock. You can use it to turn on/ off the Focus Mode or switch to another Focus Mode from the lock screen itself. To learn how it works, follow the steps below:

1. To turn off or change the Focus Mode, long-press and hold on the focus icon under the clock.

turn on focus mode from lockscreen 1

2. Then, you will see the same set of Focus Mode options as above on your screen. Pick the Focus Mode you want to switch to, and well, you are done.

focus mode on lock screen in ios 15 2 - What is Focus Mode and How to Use It in iOS 15

Enable/ Disable Focus Mode in iOS 15 Automatically

You can also choose to enable Focus mode automatically at a set time, location, or while using an app on your iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 devices. If you wish to remain committed to your schedule, Smart Automation could be the ideal way to go.

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, open Settings -> Focus -> choose your focus.

Select a focus

2. Now, scroll down and select Smart Activation. After that, turn on the toggle next to “Smart Activation“. Make sure to tap on “Done” at the top right corner to confirm the change.

Smart Activation

3. For a more personalized experience, you can also customize Smart Activation. Simply tap on the “+” button located right above Smart Activation and then choose when you want the said Focus Mode to kick in. You can choose to enable it at a specific time, when you arrive at a location or when you open a specific app.

Customize smart activation - What is Focus Mode and How to Use It in iOS 15

Manage Apps That Have Requested to See and Share Your Focus Status

Keeping track of all the apps that have requested to see and share your focus status is pretty straightforward. So, you can control which apps can access your focus status and stop the least important ones. Both in terms of flexibility and privacy, this is a well-thought-out feature.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, and head to Focus.

Choose Focus

2. Now, choose Focus Status.

Choose Focus Status

3. Next, you should see the list of all the apps that have requested access to your Focus Status. Now, turn on/off the toggle right next to a specific app as per your needs.

Manage Focus status

Allow Phone Calls from Selected People When Focus Mode is Turned On in iOS 15

To ensure you are not disturbed by random phone calls in the middle of an important task, Focus mode also lets you allow/ disallow phone calls. If you don’t want any sort of interference, you can completely disallow phone calls. But if you wish to let your friends and family members reach out to you, there is an option to allow phone calls only from favorites.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and move to Focus.

Choose Focus - What is Focus Mode and How to Use It in iOS 15

2. Now, choose Phone Calls.

Phone calls

3. Next, you can choose to disallow repeated calls or tweak the Favorites contacts list to receive phone calls from only a few special people.

Allow or disallow phone calls

NoteBear in mind that a second call from the same person within three minutes will not be silenced. 

How to Delete a Focus Mode in iOS 15

Should you ever wish to remove a focus mode that is no longer part of your schedule, you can do so from the settings with ease. Follow the steps listed below:

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, navigate to Settings -> Focus.

Choose Focus

2. Now, select the focus mode you want to remove.

Select the focus you want to edit

3. Next, hit the Delete Focus button at the bottom, and you are good to go!

delete focus mode in ios 15 -What is Focus Mode and How to Use It in iOS 15

Tips to Use Focus Mode in iOS 15 Like a Pro

That’s pretty much it! Hopefully, you have now got a better insight into how Focus mode works in iOS 15 on your iPhone and iPad. So times when you may wish to concentrate on your important tasks without being distracted by anything, Focus mode will come in handy. Give it a shot if you have installed the iOS 15 developer beta, and I’m sure you will come out pretty impressed with it. And, of course, if you ever hit a roadblock, be sure to reach out to us for help.

Moreover, iOS 15 has come up with a plethora of impressive features, including the much-appreciated ability to watch movies together on FaceTime, make a FaceTime call to Android and Windows users, and Safari web extensions. Take a look at the linked guides to learn all about newly added features in iOS 15.