One of the best updates included in Apple‘s latest version of iOS is the Focus feature, and along with it the ability to share its current status setting with iPhone contacts. Focus lets users hunker down and concentrate on important tasks by giving them the ability to customize and choose which mobile apps to silence temporarily and which ones to receive alerts or notifications from while busy. It also lets other people and apps know when their messages are being muted for the time being.

Focus has a few preset modes that include Do Not Disturb, Personal, Work, Sleep, Fitness, and Driving. Users can also create custom ones if none of those fit the type of tasks they want to fixate on. They can be set up to activate automatically at a prescribed time, at a specific location, or while using certain apps. They also have an additional option to share their Focus status.

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A Focus status is a tiny blurb that appears on certain iPhone apps when users attempt to contact or send a message to other users who have a Focus mode enabled. It’s essentially a warning telling people that the person they are trying to reach may have notifications silenced and will therefore not be able to respond in a timely manner. Contacts can then decide to either reach out at a later time or, in case of an emergency, bypass the Focus mode and notify the user about the incoming message.

How To ‘Share Focus Status’ And Why iPhone Users Should Do It

To use Focus and its added features, make sure the iOS device is up to date. Every Focus mode has its own setting that lets users share their Focus status. To enable the share status option, go to the iPhone’s Settings and tap ‘Focus‘ (half-moon icon). Tap on a Focus mode and hit ‘Focus Status‘. Switch the ‘Share Focus Status‘ on. Turning this setting on should shoot out a banner message for contacts to see every time that Focus mode is enabled manually or automatically.

iPhone users who regularly activate different Focus modes should consider enabling the feature for every single one. It promotes transparency and proper communication etiquette, in the same way an away status message would for desktop chat or messaging apps. At any given time, iPhone apps do not have a way of knowing which Focus mode is enabled, so contacts will not be privy to what task the user is currently busy with.

Since the feature was only rolled out with iOS 15 and is fairly new, not a lot of third-party apps will have complete Focus status functionality. For now, Apple users should expect the ‘Share Focus Status‘ option to only affect messages received through the iPhone’s built-in Messages app. Also note that while sharing a Focus status can be considered good manners, enabling the function also gives contacts the chance to mark their message as time-sensitive and ultimately jump over the hurdle Focus put on messages to begin with. There’s no foolproof way of guaranteeing these messages are worth the disruption. For users having issues with contacts frequently abusing the Focus status feature, there’s an option to disable it for specific people, provided that they are also iPhone users. Launch the Messages app and open the conversation with the contact in question. Tap on their profile icon on top of the iPhone screen and switch the ‘Share Focus Status’ toggle off.