Using Focus Mode to control annoying iPhone notifications

Notifications. Whether it's your GP calling or your friend sending over a funny video, we need them. But according to scientists, even a single phone notification can draw your attention away from an important task.

Luckily, smartphone manufacturers are trying to give people more options for filtering out less important notifications. Android phones like the Pixel let you activate a 'do not disturb' feature which is great for the evenings or when you're asleep.

But the AppleiPhone goes even further with its sophisticated new 'Focus Mode', which gives you a much greater degree of control over which notifications you receive⁠—and from who.

What is Focus mode on iPhone?

Introduced this Autumn with the launch of iOS 15 and the iPhone 13, 'Focus' mode is Apple's new tool for letting you minimise distracting or unimportant notifications. IT lets you choose exactly when you want to receive notifications, who can send you notifications, and which apps are permitted to send you alerts.

This means you now have the option to permanently restrict your notifications to only the most important, so you can get away from being pulled off-task by the latest instalment of that email newsletter you forgot you signed up to last year.

It also lets you activate 'Time Sensitive' notifications from apps, so apps can send you things that are particularly urgent.

You won't be blanking people either. Focus Mode will automatically inform your friends or contacts that you're busy so you can come back to their message later on.

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How do I put my iPhone on Focus mode?

To activate Focus Mode on iPhone or iPad, tap the settings icon on your home screen. Then, hit 'focus'.

You'll be presented with four options. 'Do Not Disturb' disables all notifications for a set period of time.

If you want to customise your Focus mode though, tap 'Personal, 'Sleep' or 'Work'. These are the different Focus settings and each one is customisable.

Tap 'Set Up' next to the one you want to use. It will let you choose apps and people to allow notifications from. It will also allow you to set your 'focus status' on iMessage.

You can even press 'Hide Notification Badges', which will prevent notification icons appearing on your home screen apps.

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How do I turn off iPhone Focus?

To turn off Focus entirely is easy enough. You can open the Control Center and tap Focus, then whichever Focus mode you want to switch on and off.

An easier way of managing Focus mode is to just use the built-in scheduling features though. This will let you time Focus mode for specific times of day so it will switch on and off automatically.

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