Android, focus mode arrives: what it’s for and how to activate it

Google launches a new feature to avoid distractions while working or at school. It's called Focus Mode and it silences the apps on your phone. Here's how

Google releases a new digital wellness feature to the public: it's Focus Mode and it's officially out of the testing phase. In the United States it's already available, for Android 9 and 10, in Italy it will arrive soon.

It's a feature to "pause" specific apps of our choice, with their notifications, and minimize distractions when we need to focus. It was born mainly to improve productivity while we are at work, but it can also be used "extemporaneously" to "take a break" if we are receiving, for example, too many messages in chats and we need to relax for a few minutes. Actually, this feature doesn't do anything new: it turns off notifications from specific apps, something we can easily do in other ways. It's convenient, though, because it lets us do it with a single tap and even automatically, at set times.

How Focus Mode Works

The new Focus Mode options can be found within the settings of the "Digital Wellness and Parental Controls" app. In the updated app, a new tab for setting Focus Mode has popped up: at the top of the screen we can choose the times when the feature will be active, or tap on "Take a break" and activate Focus Mode for 5, 15 or 30 minutes.

Subsequently, we find the list of "distracting apps": we'll have to select all the ones we want to mute during Focus Mode. Once this is set, if we try to open one of the apps that are muted during Focus Mode we'll receive a notification that the app is not sending notifications because it is muted.

If we deactivate Focus Mode before the scheduled time, perhaps because we finished work early, the schedule remains unchanged and this mode will reactivate itself according to the schedule.

When to use Focus Mode

Of course Focus Mode can be very useful during working hours, or during school hours. Activating it for a few minutes can also save us some embarrassment during a meeting, without forcing us to activate the silent mode on the smartphone. Finally, the Focus Mode could be very useful while we are in the car and we are driving: in this case, in fact, the less notifications we receive, the safer we are in driving.