What is Apple's Focus feature on iPhone and iPad and how does it work?


Apple announced a whole host of new features coming to iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch when it launches its latest software builds later this year, including something called Focus. 

Here is everything you need to know about Focus, including what it is, how it works and when you will be able to use it.

What is Apple’s Focus feature on iPhone, iPad, Watch and Mac?

Apple’s Focus is a feature designed to help you automatically filter notifications and apps on your Apple devices based on your status, in order to help you “find Focus” – hence the name.

The idea is to reduce distractions and it works across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. You can set your device to a certain Focus, such as Personal, Work, Exercising, Gaming or Sleep, and your device will automatically hide distractions, signal to friends that you are not available and filter notifications.

How does Apple’s Focus feature work?

The Apple Focus feature works by using on-device intelligence to suggest a Focus – like Working – based on a user’s context, such as working hours for example. The feature will then suggest people and apps that are allowed to notify you when a Focus has been set.

You’ll also be able to create a custom Focus though, and for each Focus, you’ll be able to create Home Screen pages with apps and widgets that apply to the respective Focus you have chosen and only display relevant apps to reduce temptation.

When a Focus is blocking notifications, Messages will display the status to users who contact you, showing that you are unavailable at the moment. Contacts will be able to reply with urgent if they want a message to get through though, similar to how Do Not Disturb when Driving kicks in.

Once a Focus is set on one of your Apple devices, it will be set across all your Apple devices.

How to set up the Apple Focus feature

We will update this section as soon as we have used the iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and macOS 12 public betas to figure out how to set up the Apple Focus feature on all Apple devices, but we’d expect to find a shortcut to it in the Control Centre, given this is where Do Not Disturb is found.

We’d expect you to be able to tap on the preset Focus options to get started on each of them. We’d also expect that a tap on the three dots to the right of each of the Focus options will allow you to schedule, customise or change what you want to see when using that Focus and what you don’t in terms of apps and notifications.

When will the Focus feature be available?

Focus is part of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and macOS 12 – due out in the “fall”. We’d expect this to be sometime in September 2021, so you should be able to use Focus at some point towards the end of the year on your iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

Want to know more?

You can read our iOS 15 feature, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 features for more about the features coming to iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch later this year.

We also have a feature on macOS. 


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