Picture of sign with Do Not Disturb, Apple Focus Icon, Apple logo

How to Stop Being Disturbed: Apple Edition

It’s probably happened to you at least once, it’s late and you’re just starting to fall asleep and then your phone either vibrates or chimes with some type of notification. Luckily, there are ways to easily avoid your iPhone or iPad disturbing you when you just want some peace and quiet. Android users: there will be a future post detailing how to use a similar feature on Android devices.

Apple has a built-in feature on their devices (iPhone, iPad, and Mac books) called Do Not Disturb or Focus, depending on which version of iOS or mac OS you are using. For devices running iOS 15 and later, Do Not Disturb is incorporated into the Focus app. When Do Not Disturb/Focus is active, you won’t get app notifications, texts, or calls.

Getting Started

To get started on an iPhone or iPad, go into the Settings app. Focus can be used on a schedule, or on an as-needed basis. Tap on Focus to begin.

screenshot of main focus settings

From there, you’ll see several options. If you tap on Do Not Disturb, you will get options for how you would like to use Do Not Disturb. Set up different options for general do not disturb, sleep, or when you’re at work. There is also the option to add a custom mode such as when you’re driving, working out, and more. For people who have more than one Apple device, you can share your Focus schedule across your devices. This schedule will be shared if Share Across Devices is selected.

To set up and use do not disturb on a mac, follow these helpful instructions from Apple.

Sharing Your Focus Status With Others

If your Focus Status is on and someone tries to message you, there will be a message stating that you have notifications silenced, and they will be given the option to notify you anyway, in case of an emergency. If the person messaging you taps notify anyway, you will receive a regular text notification.

screenshot of text message screen showing notify anyway

What if you don’t want to give people that option or you want to turn it off for certain contacts? MacReports has written a helpful article with instructions on how to turn off that feature or turn it off for certain contacts.

Do Not Disturb Options

Tapping on Do Not Disturb will give you various options. You can select which people or apps you would still like to receive notifications from. For those with iOS 16, you can have a different lock screen picture when Do Not Disturb is on, as well as a different set of home screen icons.

Screenshot of main do not disturb screen

Scheduling Do Not Disturb

If you’re like me and you’re a set-it-and-forget-it kind of person, you can set a schedule for when Do Not Disturb turns on each day. You can even set a different schedule for different days of the week. Simply scroll down and set up your custom do not disturb schedule.

screenshot showing example of Do Not Disturb schedule

Smart Activation is basically Apple using past device behavior to determine when you would like to activate Do Not Disturb. Diving in even deeper, you can control the behavior of certain apps when Do Not Disturb is on. For example, you can choose which messages you would like to see, select if you’d like dark mode to come on, turn on low power mode, or more.

Driving, Fitness, and More

For more information about Do Not Disturb, Sleep, and Work modes. Apple has written up a thorough set of instructions. Included in those instructions is how to set up a custom mode that can include while you’re driving, exercising, and more.

screenshot of other types of focus modes

Have you tried out Focus? Let us know in the comments!

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