How to Use Apple Focus on Mac for Better Concentration

Focus on Mac is a new feature on macOS Monterey. It’s designed to help you better concentrate through the day by blocking unnecessary notifications.

After first being introduced on iPhone and iPad, Apple has now introduced Focus mode to Macs with macOS Monterey.

Built upon the company’s previous Do Not Disturb feature, Focus makes it possible to adjust notifications based on the time of day or what you’re doing. Here’s how to use Focus mode on your Mac.

What is Focus Mode on Mac?

As the name suggests, the new Focus feature allows you to stay in the moment to either concentrate or spend time away from your devices. You can adjust it, allowing you to choose which apps and people you’ll receive alerts from, or decide which ones will get saved for later. It’s also possible to alert people and apps that you’re not currently accepting notifications.

You can use any of the pre-built Focuses or create your own. The default ones are Do Not Disturb, Driving, Fitness, Sleep, Work, and Personal.

Getting Started With Apple Focus on Mac

To get started with Focus on Mac, you must turn on at least one Focus group. To do this:

  1. Click on the Settings app on your Mac.
  2. Select Notifications & Focus.
  3. Choose the Focus tab at the top.
    Focus on Mac
  4. Select one of the default Focus groups on the left side. You’ll learn to create a new Focus group below.

Focus on Mac

Understanding and Scheduling Apple Focus Groups

There are various options available for each Focus group. These include:

  • On/Off toggle: When active, the Focus group is on. Otherwise, the group is currently off. In addition, you can manually turn the Focus group on/off or set up an automatic schedule (see below).
  • Allowed Notifications: You can choose which people can leave calls and which apps can send alerts when a Focus group is active.
  • Focus Status: When on, this setting will share your status with any person or app that you have notifications silenced.
  • Home Screen: When tapped, you can hide notifications and badges on the Home screen. You can also determine which Home screens to show when the Focus is turned on (if any).
  • Lock Screen: You can dim the Lock Screen and show silenced notifications on the same screen when selected.
  • Smart Activation: When activated, the device will automatically turn on the Focus at relevant times throughout the day based on signals such as location, app usage, and more.
  • Add Schedule or Automation: You add the days and times for the Focus group here. You can also set the Focus to turn on when you reach a location or use an app. When these thresholds are met, the Focus turns on automatically.
  • Delete Focus: Choose when you no longer need a Focus group.

Creating a New Apple Focus Group

You can use the default Focus Groups or create ones from scratch. To create one:

  1. Click on the Settings app on your Mac.
  2. Select Notifications & Focus.
  3. Choose the Focus tab at the top.
    Focus on Mac
  4. Choose the + (plus icon) at the bottom left.
  5. Select one of the choices. You’ll see Custom and a list of default Focus groups that aren’t currently being used.
    • In the example below are Custom, Gaming, Mindfulness, Personal, and Reading. The list you see might be different depending on which Focus Groups have already been selected.
      Custom focus
  6. After choosing Custom as a new Focus group, enter the name of your group in the box.
  7. Choose a color and an icon to represent your group.
  8. Select Add.

Create new focus group

From there, you’ll need to customize the options for your new Focus group, which becomes active automatically once you’ve finished creating it.

Finding the Active Group

You can tell there’s an active Focus group by looking in the Control Panel, which is where you can deactivate (or activate) it.

Focus on Control Panel

Syncing Groups Across Devices

If you have more than one Apple device, you can sync your Focus groups so that they will turn on/off simultaneously. That way, the schedules are the same across all devices.

To sync Focus groups with iPhone and iPad devices:

  1. Click on the Settings app on your Mac.
  2. Select Notifications & Focus.
  3. Choose the Focus tab at the top.
  4. Check the box Share Across Devices at the bottom left.

Focus sharing

Should You Use the Apple’s Focus Tool on Mac?

Apple’s new Focus feature is designed with customization in mind. However, while there are advantages to eliminating notifications and calls during work or sleep hours, taking it beyond this could be taken as overkill by some.

For example, do we need to create separate Focus groups so that they’ll activate whenever we’re at the gym or playing a game? Probably not. Still, it’s nice to know Apple has made it possible to do just that in a few steps, giving you (the user) the flexibility to decide for yourself.

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