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How to Create a Distraction-Free iPhone Home Screen That Will Change Your Life

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Writer, Productivity & Phone Organization

Lise is a master of phone organization and a nerd of the internet! She writes a regular column for Gotechtor focusing on quick tips for decluttering and organizing your phone to be more productive, while still keeping it aesthetic.

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Let’s be honest: We’re addicted to our phones. We check our phones an alarming number of times per day, which can substantially impact our physical and mental well-being

But what if you could create a distraction-free iPhone home screen that would help boost your productivity and prevent you from wasting time on social media?

Pretty cool, right? Today, you’ll learn how to use Focus mode, a simple but powerful feature on your iPhone to help you foster a healthier relationship with your phone.

At the end of this guide, every time you pick up your phone, it’ll be an intentional way. This tiny computer you can hold in your hand and carry around with you will work for you and not the other way around.

Quick Overview of Focus Mode

For those who are unaware of Focus Mode, it’s a feature that helps you reduce distractions and set boundaries. 

iPhone Focus Mode

This feature was introduced with iOS 15 a few years ago, and it’s one of the best features ever introduced to the iPhone. 

If you’re not using it yet, you’re missing out on a whole new way to use your phone.

With Focus mode, you can create a home screen based on your activities, such as work, personal time, exercise, etc. 

Instead of organizing all your apps and widgets in one screen, you’ll have multiple home screens, which you can toggle one at a time depending on the Focus mode you have set up. 

You can also choose what apps and notifications to enable for each home screen instead of juggling between the sea of notifications that come your way to ruin your day. 

Now, you might think, isn’t that what Do Not Disturb mode is for? But Focus mode is more powerful, like an extension of DND mode. 

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Create Home Screens

To create a distraction-free home screen, you’ll want to create a home screen for every Focus mode. 

You’ll start by clearing out your home screen by removing all the apps. 

The Focus modes you create will depend totally on you. You can either choose from the pre-made profiles or create custom ones. 

For the sake of this guide, we’ll create 4 Focus Modes:

  1. Work
  2. Fitness
  3. Drive
  4. Sleep 
work focus mode
fitness focus mode
drive focus mode
sleep focus mode

Once you create all your focus modes, go ahead and create a home screen page tailored for each of them, as shown above. 

You will also create a home page for when you’re not in any Focus mode, which I do. For example, you can use that page when you’re just chilling or relaxing. 

Next, you will deactivate all the home screens so that when you activate a Focus mode, only the home screen assigned to that Focus mode is visible. This will make your home screen really distraction-free. 

To do that, press the “Search” button at the bottom of the screen until the icons start jiggling. Then press it again and uncheck all the other pages.

I know that may sound like a lot of work, but trust me, the end result is invaluable. 

You can choose to turn on these Focus Modes automatically or manually turn them on from Control Center.

Customize and Assign Your Focus Mode

Now, let’s customize and assign the Focus modes to their corresponding home screens. 

customize focus mode control center iphone

Here’s how:

  1. Swipe down from the right corner of the screen to access Control Center and tap the “Focus” button. 
  2. Tap the “tree dots” on the right of the Focus mode you want to customize, then tap “Settings.” 
  3. You can also open “Settings” and select “Focus.” Then, choose the Focus mode you want to customize. 

Silence or Allow Notifications

silence notifications focus mode

In the first section, you can select the people and apps from which you want to receive notifications when you use this particular Focus.

Customize Screens

Moving down to the “Customize Screens” section. This is where you choose the home screen and lock screen for your Focus mode.

customize screens focus mode

You can also choose and customize the lock and home screens of your Apple Watch if you’re using one.

Assign Your Focus Mode

Assign each Focus mode to the corresponding home screen you created from the previous section.

I find it helpful to keep things simple by using color-coding for my Focus modes on the lock and home screens.

This way, I can easily see which Focus is active at a glance. Of course, you can customize it to what works best for you.

Set a Schedule For Your Focus Mode

Next is the schedule section, where you can set a schedule for your Focus Modes to turn on automatically at a specific time, location, or even while using a particular app.

set a schedule focus mode

For example, I schedule the Sleep focus to turn on automatically during my scheduled sleep periods.

Setting Up Focus Filters

That’s not all; with iOS 16, Apple introduced Focus Filters to Focus, which allow you to customize app behavior based on the currently enabled Focus.

set up focus mode filters

For example, with these filters, you can hide or show specific email accounts, calendars, and messages when a Focus mode is on.

Feel free to go nerdy with filtering all sorts of content and notifications from your favorite apps.

But there’s one catch, though. Not all apps support Focus filters as app developers will have to explicitly add support for Focus Filters in their apps.

So, if you don’t see an app here, it likely doesn’t support Focus Filters at this time.

The good news is some of the most used built-in apps, such as Mail, Messages, Calendar, Music, and Safari, support filters.

You can also skip the filtering part altogether if you aren’t too much into customization.

Now that you’ve set up your Focus Modes and are happy with them, you can turn them on from the control center or the Settings app. 

Set Up Siri Shortcuts for Your Focus Modes

Creating Siri Shortcuts for your Focus Modes is unnecessary, but I find it adds that aesthetic look to my home screens.

I also find it more convenient and easier to switch back and forth between different Focus Modes right from the home screen. 

In the next section, you’ll create the card at the top of each home screen, which displays the different Focus Modes.

First, you’ll need to set up a Shortcut for each Focus Mode. New to Shortcuts? We’ve got you covered! Check out our beginner’s guide to creating your first shortcuts.

Open the Shortcuts app. Ensure you’re in the Shortcuts tab, then tap the folder with the (+) sign at the top right corner of the screen. 

create a shortcut folder iphone

Give it a name and choose an icon for it. In my case, I called it Home Screen and added a Home icon to it. Then tap the “Add” button at the upper right corner to create the folder.

add shortcut folder iphone

Select the folder you just created and tap the “+” button at the upper right corner of the screen. 

Next, you will add the action you want the shortcut to execute when you run it. You can either do this by tapping the “Add Action” button or swipe up from the search bar at the bottom of the screen. 

add a shortcut action

Search for Focus and select “Set Focus” under the scripting tab. 

set focus shortcut

Tap on “Do Not Disturb” to list all the Focus Modes you’ve created. From there, select the specific Focus you want set up. 

To activate it, tap the “Off” option once—it will change to “On” upon tapping. Once turned on, it will automatically select the option “until you manually turn it off.”

activate focus shortcut

If desired, you can explore other options to deactivate it. For instance, you can set a specific time for the shortcut to automatically turn it off.

Tap “Set Focus” at the top next to the cogwheel. From the popup menu, select “Rename” to name it. 

Tap “Choose icon” to add an icon of your choice. Select the Shortcut icon to view a list of all the available icons.

rename focus shortcut

From there, you can also select a color for your shortcut. I like to select the same color with which I set up my Focus mode or at least a close enough color. 

Repeat these steps for each Focus mode. 

Add the Focus Mode Shortcut Widget to Your Home Screen

Now go to each Home Screen and add a Shortcut widget with the Shortcut folder you’ve just created. 

add focus shortcut widget to iphone home screen

Here’s how. 

  1. Press on an empty space on your home screen until the icons start shaking. 
  2. Tap the (+) sign at the top left of the screen. 
  3. Search for Shortcuts and select a 4×4 widget. You might select a different size depending on how many shortcuts you’ve created. 
  4. Tap the “Add Widget “ button at the bottom. 
  5. Tap on the newly added widget to choose the Home folder you’ve created. 

With the Focus widget at the top of your home screen you can conveniently switch to any Focus mode whenever you want with a single tap.

Wrap-Up

With your personalized Focus Modes and distraction-free home screens set up, you’re well on your way to a healthier relationship with your phone.

I can totally relate! I used to mindlessly scroll through apps, losing track of time and forgetting why I picked up my phone in the first place.

But this system has been a game-changer. It’s helped me be more present and focus on the task at hand.

Give it a try! I’m confident it will improve your phone habits, too. If you have any questions or need help setting things up, leave a comment below.

Writer, Productivity & Phone Organization

Lise is a master of phone organization and a nerd of the internet! She writes a regular column for Gotechtor focusing on quick tips for decluttering and organizing your phone to be more productive, while still keeping it aesthetic.

Lise Dieuveuil

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