iOS 16 Focus Guide: What’s New With Apple’s Focus Mode

Apple in iOS 15 introduced Focus Mode, an extension to Do Not Disturb that lets you set up different permissions for apps, contacts, and more, depending on what you’re doing. You can have separate tasks when you are at work, when you study, when you are at home, etc.

In iOS 16, Apple enhanced Focus with new features, and this guide covers everything you need to know about using Focus in iOS 16.

Improved focus setup

Setting up a Focus is easier than before, with a new custom setup experience for every Focus you create.

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Apple used to drop you straight into a confusing array of options to do things like allow people and apps for notifications, but now there’s an explainer that lets you know how all of Focus’s features work , and a streamlined process for selecting your options.

With the Silence Notifications section, you can choose which apps and people can contact you when a Focus is on, and Apple has added options to allow or mute notifications from certain people, which wasn’t an option before. . With iOS 15, you could only choose allowed apps and allowed people, rather than specific people and apps to silence.

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To note: Mute Lists are only available on devices running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. Devices running iOS 15 and earlier cannot access silence lists.

Apple also walks you through choosing who to allow calls to, and you can go through the Customize Screens interface, set tune-up times, and add filters to block certain inboxes in Mail, Groups, and more. Safari tabs, etc., which we describe in the topics below.

Customize screens

With iOS 16, you can customize everything on your Focus, including the appearance of the Home screen, Lock screen and Apple Watch face. You can select any of the lock screens you have created, linking it to a focus mode. You can also create a new lock screen from the gallery.

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For home screen customization, you can select one of your existing app pages to serve as the main home screen for Focus mode. So if you want to create a home screen with specific apps for a Focus, you must first set up an app page by rearranging your apps.

As for the Apple Watch, if you are an Apple Watch owner, you can select one of your Apple Watch faces to activate on your wrist for a specific Focus mode.

If you’ve set up a lock screen, home screen, or custom Apple Watch face for your Focus and you change your mind, just tap the “-” symbol to clear it.

Lock screens and related focus modes

You can create custom lock screens in iOS 16, and each lock screen can be associated with a different focus. This means you can set a lock screen to coincide with a focus, making your phone look different throughout the day.

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If you focus on work, for example, you can set up a lock screen with the style and widgets useful for your work, then at home you can have an entirely different setup.

To pair a Focus with a lock screen, open the lock screen interface by long pressing on the lock screen of an unlocked ‌iPhone‌, scroll to the lock screen of your choice, then tap “Focus” to choose the focus mode to associate the Screen lock with.

After that, the lock screen will have a small icon at the bottom that will let you know which focus it is linked to. Then to enable focus, you can just switch to this lock screen, so it’s very easy to switch focus mode.

Note that you can also follow this setup process in the Focus section of the Settings app. Just open it, select the focus you want to use for a lock screen, and choose the “Customize Screens” option described above.

Lock screen and home page suggestions

When you create a Focus, Apple says iOS can suggest lock screens for the Focus option, like a photo lock screen when you’re at home, and a more data-centric set of options when you’re away. at work. Apple also offers suggestions for home screen pages containing the most relevant apps and widgets for the focus you select.

Focus filters

Focus filters are a brand new feature in iOS 16. With this option, you can choose to filter content in apps, showing a specific email account or calendar, if you have more than one. When using a Focus with a set of filters, the app with the filter will only display what you have selected, hiding everything else.

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Here’s what you can filter with focus filters:

  • Calendar – If you have configured different calendars for work and family, you can associate a single calendar with a focus so that you only see relevant events when this focus is activated.
  • Mail – You can choose any of your email accounts to associate with a Focus, and with this enabled, when you are in that Focus, the Mail app will only show the accounts you have selected. This is useful if you want to filter personal emails while you work, and vice versa.
  • posts – The Messages app can be set to hide all messages except messages from the people list you created for the particular Focus mode. So, if you have a “personal” focus that filters out all contacts from work, you won’t see their messages in the Messages app with personal focus enabled.
  • Safari – Safari can be configured to show only a specific group of tabs when a focus is activated. You will need to configure the tab group in advance in the Safari app.
  • dark mode – You can choose dark mode or light mode for focus.
  • Low power mode – You can choose to activate or deactivate the Low Power mode with a Focus.

Focus Filter API

Apple has created a Focus Filter API for developers so that third-party apps can allow the same specific filter options in a Focus as Apple’s own app. If you’re using a third-party email app, for example, you’ll be able to select a mailbox to display in that app provided the developer adds the Focus Filter API.

Focus status

Apple has made it easier to control whether apps can let people know you’ve turned on a Focus and turned off notifications. With the “Focus Status” section, you can choose which focus modes are allowed to share that your notifications are silent.

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You can prevent a Focus Mode from sharing this information, so people won’t be told your notifications are turned off if they try to message you. This was possible to set in iOS 15, but in iOS 16 it is easier to access and manage.

Silence and Allow Lists

As mentioned above, Mute and Allow lists are available in the Focus app in iOS 16, which may be one of the most noticeable quality of life improvements. Rather than just selecting people or apps that are allowed to notify you, you can also select people or apps that are not authorized to notify you with a specific Focus.

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If you wanted to block a specific person or app before iOS 16, there was no easy way to do that because you could only allow contacts and apps. For example, if you wanted to block only the Messages app in iOS 15 while leaving everything else accessible, you would need to “allow” all other apps. That’s not the case in iOS 16, as you can choose which apps (or people) to silence.

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Article link: iOS 16 Focus Guide: What’s New with Apple’s Focus Mode

Harry L. Blanchard