How to Turn Off Focus Mode on iPhone

Oct 20, 2022 - 11 Comments

How to turn off Focus on iPhone

Focus Mode is a feature that was designed to allow iPhone users to focus on tasks by muting and hiding notifications, messages, phone calls, and other alerts on their devices. The Focus feature used to be very simple and called Do Not Disturb Mode, but with later versions of iOS, Apple added a bunch of complexity to Focus Modes that cause some users confusion, not only about using the feature in general, but particularly regarding how to disable Focus Modes or how to get out of and escape Focus Modes.

You can often tell if someone is on Focus Mode because calling their iPhone will result in going directly to voicemail, and if you message them it may say something like “[Name] has notifications silenced.”

How to Get Out of Focus Modes on iPhone

The simplest way to leave and disable a Focus on iPhone is through Control Center:

  1. Swipe down from the top right corner of your iPhone to access Control Center
  2. Tap on the Focus Mode button, it may something like: Do Not Disturb, Personal, Driving, Work, Sleep, etc
  3. How to turn off Focus Mode on iPhone

  4. Tap on the currently enabled Focus Mode to turn it off and to exit out of Focus Mode
  5. How to disable Focus Mode on iPhone

  6. Make sure there is no Focus highlighted to insure the feature has been turned off
  7. Focus Modes as disabled on iPhone

That’s how you disable Focus Mode if it’s currently enabled, which will allow phone calls, texts, messages, alerts, and notifications to come through again as expected.

Focus Mode gets accidentally enabled with some regularity by users, and since it’s not nearly as simple as Do Not Disturb mode was, it has added to the confusion for some users who may find it unintentionally turned on.

Note that if you have multiple devices with Focus Mode sharing turned on, you may need to turn off the Focus feature on those devices as well to have the change take effect, because the Focus syncing doesn’t always work as expected. For example, your iPhone may be stuck in Focus mode even if it’s turned off on the iPhone, because your Mac may have Focus Mode enabled and shared. Whether this is due to bugs, syncing issues, intentional behavior, or whatever else, it doesn’t always just work as intended.

Given how common it is for users to find themselves unintentionally stuck in Focus Mode or with Focus accidentally enabled (and the same thing happened regularly when it was called Do not Disturb), it’s not surprising that some users are not thrilled with the feature. But one helpful trick to get the most out of Focus is to schedule Focus Modes on iPhone for times when you do not want some peace of mind and quiet, like overnight while you sleep.

Do you use Focus modes intentionally, and like the feature, or are you annoyed with it and don’t like it at all?

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

11 Comments

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  1. SECR says:

    I was a big user of the old DND, it was simple and did exactly what I wanted it to do but my husband hated that I always had it on and couldn’t get through right away. Then focus mode comes along and I immediately hated it, but now that I’ve retrained my brain and sorta learned how it works it’s ok, but I still don’t love it and probably never will unless they add a toggle to turn it off and just use the good old fashioned DND again!

  2. Toby says:

    Is there a way to completely remove all Focus options? I never want to use it. The only thing I need is airplane mode and I can toggle that myself.

  3. Lexi says:

    Mine must be glitchy. Even when I don’t have ANY focus mode selected, it appears as “🌛Focus” on my Lock Screen and ignores calls. SO ANNOYING.

    • Sedgwi says:

      Make sure that you don’t have Focus enabled on another device that is shared with iCloud, like a Mac or iPad, or turn off the shared focus feature.

      This is such an overengineered feature that is way more complicated than it needs to be. It’s a solution for problems nobody has.

  4. Jim Roberts says:

    I find it gets somehow turned on when I did not want it turned on, usually the 1st one in the list. FYI I do NOT have any set to be activated by the back case tapping but look down at least once/day to find it’s turned on. So far, for me, the Mac/iPhone sync has worked, i.e. turning it off turns it off on all devices. Using iOS/iPad 16.1, Ventura 13.0.

  5. Ashleigh says:

    Caused absolute mayhem. No calls could get through at a time when trying to get computer fixed. Can’t turn it off so very frustrating.

  6. JohnIL says:

    Complexity comes from overthinkers who constantly rework simple solutions into complex ones.

    • Loromeo says:

      Focus is so completely over engineered, it makes no sense to anyone I know and much like your example picture I know people who get stuck with it on and can’t figure out how or why. Do Not Disturb was obvious and simple. Turn it on, you have your iPhone not pestering you. Turn it off, your iPhone pesters you. Simple.

      Focus is… I don’t even know, it changes lock screens, it changes wallpapers, it differs per app, it differs per person, people have different permissions to contact you, apps may or may not pester you, and turning it off requires a tutorial to explain. Isn’t that all we need to know?

      I hate Focus, I want simple Do Not Disturb back.

  7. jim colerman says:

    FOCUS!!!!

    Just another bell/whistle to go belly up in the future and they won’t/can’t fix it while they come up with another bell/whistle.

    Android looks better and better each day!!!!!!

  8. PL says:

    more trouble than it’s worth; vote to return to simpler “do not disturb” feature

  9. Kenneth Morris says:

    I tried using it once or twice and as your article describes, I couldn’t initially figure out how to turn it off. Now, I just don’t use it. I just silence the phone, my watch and all other devices (2 iPads) & iMac.
    I wish Apple would re do this app to make it work more easily.

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