How to create and customize Focus modes in iOS and iPadOS 15

By

Create and customize Focus modes in iOS 15
Keep your iPhone quiet when you're busy.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 ship with a brand-new feature called Focus mode that lets you set up different notification profiles based on your activities. You can have one for work, one for play, one for sleep, and more.

Here’s how to create and customize new Focus modes on iPhone and iPad.

Focus is a little like Do Not Disturb — which is still available in iOS and iPadOS 15 under your Focus settings — except it gives you greater control over your notification preferences and allows you to create multiple notification profiles.

You can set up as many as you like for different activities — each with their own settings — and you can toggle them to activate and deactivate automatically based on things like time, location, apps, and more.

How to customize default Focus modes

iOS and iPadOS 15 offer a number of default Focus modes — Do Not Disturb, Sleep, Personal, and Work — that you can customize to suit you. To edit any one of them, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Focus.
  3. Select the Focus mode you want to set up or customize.
Create and customize Focus modes in iOS 15
Tap an existing Focus mode to customize it.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

If you want, you can choose to continue receiving notifications from certain contacts or apps, add them to the People and Apps sections. Tap Focus Status to choose whether other people can see you have Focus mode active when they message you.

If you want to hide Home screen icon badges as well as notifications when your Focus mode is active, tap Home Screen, then Hide Notification Badges. You can also hide certain Home screen pages by tapping the Custom Pages toggle, then selecting the pages to hide.

Create and customize Focus modes in iOS 15
You can receive notifications from certain people and apps while Focus mode is active.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

To have your Focus mode enable and disable automatically at certain times, tap the time icon. To enable it or disable it based on other factors — such as location or the apps you’re using — tap Add Schedule or Automation.

How to create a new Focus mode

To set up a new Focus mode, simply tap the + button in the top-right corner of the screen when you’re inside the Focus settings menu. Choose one of Apple’s presets, or tap Custom to create one from scratch.

Give your Focus mode an icon and a name, then follow the steps on screen to set it up however you want it.

Create and customize Focus modes in iOS 15
To create a new Focus mode of your own, tap Custom.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

There are some amazing things you can do with Focus modes. For instance, you can create one for reading that automatically activates when you open Books, Kindle, or another reading app. Or one for gaming that activates when you connect a Bluetooth controller.

We recommend playing around with your Focus modes to find some setups that work well for you, depending on how you use your iPhone and iPad.