How to Block Distractions on MacOS with Focus Modes

Written by Tanja - Reviewed by Emilija Gadgets / Apple Macbook

6 min read

Are you just done being bombarded with so many beeps, notifications and emails? If yes, you must take a look at this blog post, because here you will learn about Apple's recent feature known as Focus Mode which kind of stands like a superset of the Do Not Disturb feature.

Note: The Focus Mode features released by Apple are available for MacOS Monterey and iOS 15.

What is Focus Mode in MacOS

The Focus Mode feature works amazingly whenever you are trying to concentrate, and with it, you can choose which notifications you want to silence and which ones to allow. Basically, this option enables you to create more Focus Modes to suit different activities such as working, sleeping, driving and even studying.

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For instance, you may choose to be notified only about urgent messages and alerts from work or family.

How to find and set up the Focus Mode on MacOS Monterey

If you want to use the Focus Mode on your Mac, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Open Apple menu and go to Apples’ integrated app known as System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Next, click on the Notifications & Focus icon.
  3. Then, switch to the Focus tab that is at the top of the page and choose one of the present Focus Modes that are given in the sidebar.
  4. You will also notice the Allowed Notifications From where you need to click on the plus (+) button to add a contact under People.
  5. After that, choose a contact from the list and click on the Add button.
  6. To proceed, under Allowed Notifications Form, click on the plus (+) plus button to add an application under Apps.
  7. From the given list of apps select one or more and click on the Add button.
    You will see the option Turn On Automatically where you should click on the plus (+) button. Once you do that, you can choose one of the following options to set up the Focus mode automation such as: Add Time Based Automation, Add Location Based Automation or Add App Based Automation.
  8. Next, if you want to create customized Focus Mode automations, you need to follow the on-screen instructions and click on the check box that is right next to Share Focus Status so that your contacts would know that you are busy.

As long as you have a created Focus Mode that has been customized to your own needs, you don’t have to worry. From then on, you will be able to make automations for these modes and they will automatically turn on and off based on your locations, time of the day and also depending when an app is opened.

Quick info: Once created, these Focus Modes are all synced across your iPhone or iPad as long as you are using the latest version of iOS 15 or iPad 15.

How to enable Focus Mode manually

You can manually enable the Focus Mode on your Mac and to do that, you need to follow the below mentioned steps.

  1. First, open the System Preferences app on your Mac.
  2. Next, click on the Notifications & Focus icon.
  3. Then, switch to the Focus tab that is at the tip of the page and choose one of the Focus Modes given in the sidebar.
  4. Lastly, toggle at the top next to the name of the Focus Mode.

Another way to manually enable the Focus Modes is by taking the following steps as given below:

First, click on the Control Center icon that is in the top right corner of your menu bar.
Next, click on the Focus block and choose the Focus that you want to enable from the given list.

How to personalize Focus Modes on MacOS

You can definitely personalize Focus Modes on your Mac and here is how you can do that:

Choose a Focus from the right side of the window and go to Allow Notifications Form to choose one of the following options:

  • To add or remove people, you need to click on the People tab and then on Add, to select a contact you want to receive notifications from. To remove a person, select that person and click on the Remove button. You will receive notifications from that person/people while the Focus is turned on.
  • To add or remove apps, you need to click on the Apps tab, and then click on the button to add or remove an app by your choice. You will receive notifications from those apps only when the Focus mode is turned on.
  • To allow specific notifications to break through Focus, go to Options and tick Allow time-sensitive notifications. This will allow only high-priority notifications to reach you and it will be enabled only when the Focus mode is turned on.
  • To allow calls from specific people, select a Focus mode, then click on Options and tick Allow calls from as well as select from Everyone, All Contacts and Favorites.
  • To allow repeated calls, go to Options and choose Allow repeated calls. This feature allows the calls from the people you blocked to reach you, if they try for a second call in three minutes. This option is useful when it comes to urgent calls to pass through Focus.

These options will definitelly help you relax because now you will know how to block distractions on your Mac. On the other hand, you may also be intresteted in learning how to find forgotten passwords that you saved on your Mac, so check out that blog post as well. Useful tips and triks are just one click away.