Focus Modes/Sleep

Hey MPU Fam,

So. What are your best resources for quickly learning Focus Modes on iOS? I want to get a better grasp on them and I’ve just been fumbling through with them.

My specific need at the moment is related to my own ADHD and forgetfulness. I program a lot of alerts and what not to help remember tasks I’d otherwise forget. BUT… my iPhone goes into sleep mode at 10:35 every night, blocking almost all alerts (I really need to learn how to let calls and texts from my family through - I’ve added them as “people” who can interrupt me but am not sure it works). It’s set to end at 5:50 every morning, when my alarm goes off. The problem: focus mode stays on until I manually deactivate it, preventing my alerts and other notifications from coming through. I’ve tried to remember to turn it off every morning, but it’s hit or miss. Automating this would… help.

Any tips on my specific Focus Mode for speed question and recommendations for free or inexpensive videos or information?

Thanks in advance!


Just FYI, the Bedtime and Sleep focus are buggy. Once you set your times in Health, it’s supposed to turn off the Sleep focus automatically so you don’t miss notificaitons.

For a while recently, this stopped working. I was about to give up on using the Sleep focus when someone suggested setting a Shortcut to automatically run in the morning to turn off Sleep focus (in case it didn’t work properly). That fixed it. At some point Apple got around to fixing the bug that I had and I deleted the Shortcut. If you search online, you’ll find reports of this happening to people in the last few years, so I think there are/were a few bugs out there.

I don’t have any resources to recommend. Things keep changing and I usually rely upon forums for the latest info or ideas on how to use it effectively.

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Sleep focus is a little weird, imo. I find it works best if it use the control center (on iOS):

  1. Open the control center and tap on the focus mode element (but tap the word Focus, not the crescent moon, or you just turn on/off Do Not Disturb)

  2. Tap the three dots next to the Sleep mode (or you just turn the sleep mode on/off)

  3. Tap Settings to get to the somewhat confusing Sleep Focus settings page

  4. Make changes here – eg, add people and apps that can get through to you in Sleep focus, change the sleep schedule either on a one-off basis for the next night or overall, etc.

When Sleep Focus is on, the essiest way to make changes is to go to the phone Lock Screen and tap the little lozenge under the time, which should either show the time of your wake-up alarm or “No Alarm”


Ok all, I think I have it set up as discussed. I’ll check back tomorrow and let y’all know if the Sleep focus mode now turns itself off. I also added Due to the approved apps, so maybe I’ll set an alert to check my focus mode at like 7:30 and that will help me make sure it turns off.

A big point of frustration with Focus is the sleep mode specifically… there are days I may forget until the afternoon that I’ve left it on and I’ve missed calls, texts, etc. In fac, I may need to test it because my wife and kids have called and texted while in sleep mode and despite being “approved” they don’t cause sounds/rings, etc.

Thank you!

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One feature I have found helps me a lot is to link a specific lock screen image to each of the focus modes. For Sleep, I use the close-up of the moon that I believe is included in iOS, for Do Not Disturb I use a stock photo of a hotel door with a bright red DND-sign hanging on the knob etc.

Zero subtlety and very easy to see what mode is active right now.

The sleep timings and alarm schedule has been rock solid for me btw. (Alarm on Monday-Friday, and a little later bedtime Friday and Saturday evening.)

The problem I’m still having is that the sleep mode doesn’t deactivate or turn itself off at the time I’ve scheduled it to end, corresponding with my alarm at 5:50am. I haven’t noticed if it’s actually let Due ding me yet, though I’m gonna set a Due alert for 5 minutes after it turns on to see if it actually did that.

When I notice I’m still in sleep mode, I’ve often missed several needed notifications.

I’ll play with the screens. I’ve seen a few YouTube videos about setting up specific focus modes for various things and do really want to try that, but have been so perplexed with sleep - especially when I don’t realize I’ve not turned sleep mode off - that it takes the back seat to whatever.