Of all the new features in iOS 15, focus mode may save the day.

   You’re hard at work. The Zoom meeting with the rest of the office is over and it’s time to buckle down and focus. But those Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Slack notifications keep popping up on your phone, keeping you from focusing on the task at hand.

   You could turn off the phone or put it in a drawer or another room, but what if it’s something you need to see? It’s a quandary. Or, it has been a quandary if you have an iPhone running iOS 15.

  The new operating system that’s now available for download includes a huge update to the iPhone’s “Do Not Disturb” modes. Now, you can set up different rules for different occasions.

   Swipe down from the right corner on an iPhone for the Control Center. If you haven’t taken a peek at the Control Center you really should, by either swiping down or going into the Control Center settings within the settings app. 


iOS 15’s “Focus Modes” allow users to set up different rules for notifications, phone calls, messages, and anything else you may want, or not want, coming to your phone.

Within “Focus” you can simply select “Do Not Disturb”. You may have used this setting before and while it’s great, you haven’t been able to set different rules for sleeping, working, or driving. 

For example, tap the “Focus” option within the Control Center and choose “Work”. You should see options for “Allowed Notifications”, “Focus Status”, “Home Screen” and “Lock Screen”. There’s also a place where you can choose which notifications to allow. Tap “People” and choose anyone you want to get through to your phone when “Work Focus” is turned on. You can add individuals from your contacts list as well as allow notifications from everyone in your “Favorites” or any other group you’ve set up prior.

You can also allow notifications from specific apps. When I’ve got Work Focus turned on, I decided to allow notifications from Gmail, Calendar, and Slack which I use for staying in touch with work.

Under “Home Screen” you can select a page to be displayed on your home screen (or turn it off completely. You have the same options for “Lock Screen”.

Another thing I like about “Work Focus” is when to turn it off automatically. Under “Turn on Automatically”, select “Add Schedule or Automation”. You can choose for “Work Focus” to start automatically at a certain time, or when you arrive or leave a location, such as an office. Or, you can choose to turn on Focus when you open a certain app such as “Books” or “Kindle”.

Note that the notifications I allow when I have “Work Focus” turned on are different than when I’m sleeping. In “Sleep Focus” I allow notifications from my Favorites list in contacts as well as notifications from my security cameras so if there’s movement in my garage after going to bed, the notification will come through. 

Within Sleep Focus you can also set it to go active at a certain time of night. I have my bedtime set and my wake-up time at 7 AM. Once that’s set I don’t have to do anything. It turns on automatically at 11 PM. 

But there’s more. When you choose Focus, tap the plus sign at the bottom of the page “New Focus” and create your own Focus and settings for Mindfulness, Fitness, Gaming, Reading or create an even more custom Focus.

I’m telling you, Focus Mode is a game-changer when you don’t want to be disturbed.

There’s another big change included in iOS 15 that takes some getting used to and many people are going to hate it. Apple moved the address bar in Safari by default. If you’re used to the address bar at the top of the browser window, you’ll notice it’s been moved to the bottom of the screen.

Yeah, I know. It’s confusing the first time you open Safari. I don’t know why Apple made the change and whether the developers just wanted to mess with Safari users or if they actually think it’s better. The fact it’s changed by default is frustrating the first time you go to a website.

The good news is you can change this quickly and put the address bar back at the top. On the left side of the address bar is an icon showing a lower-case A next to an upper-case A. Tap that to see Safari options. By tapping “Show Top Address Bar” it moves to the top (where many people think it belongs).

There are many other new features in iOS 15 including being able to do FaceTime calls with Android and Windows users. New emoji, new memoji options, and changing text size within apps, 


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