Apple’s New Focus Feature May Be Overkill

I have a suggestion for everyone who is feeling excessively frustrated with this FOCUS feature like I am. I suggest we all send to Apple our personal frustrations about using Focus similar to Adam’s comments in his article… (right after where he says, “I’ll be blunt. The more I’ve lived with Focus and helped friends and relatives understand the implications of using it, the more the feature annoys me. My irritations include:”)…

The feedback should be your own without any mention of Adam or this article… Send it Apple via their Product Feedback page for “Mac OS”: Feedback - macOS - Apple. The comments space is limited, so be prepared to pare your feedback down to get your key point across.

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Excellent point @amcarter3! I think this was a great space to discover that those of us who intensely dislike Focus aren’t alone! Now let’s let Apple know.

Lots of recent new iOS/iPasOS functions (like this, and time monitoring) I just ignore, TBH. Not only are they a complete time-suck for next-to-no gain, but they also create extra levels of anxiety inducing cognitive processing I simply do not want to endure.

They look and sound ‘useful’, but are actually not for most people.

I quite like Focus. I have a couple of activities for which I have modified notifications and made a custom home screen: being at the gym automatically launches that Focus and quits when I leave the gym. And another Focus (with a custom home screen) for when on public transport.

I also automatically activate a Focus for Simply Piano, which also launches when I’m doing crossword puzzles. The caveat is that I don’t share my iOS/Mac (when logged in) devices with others.


Most legitimate companies realize you don’t gain customers by irritating them. They don’t want someone asking you what security system they should get, and you to tell them “Don’t get this one. They spam you all the time”.

Check the app itself. They might have a way to turn off the ads in alerts. It might be something you set on your account in their webpage. Or call them and complain.

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thanks for the excellent write-up.

never bothered with the “focus” button in control centre until reading this article. just tried it. “persona”? holy inept u/i, batman! this is on a 13m.

also that some of us have no use for personal or work foci never seems to have been considered by apple engineering. thus (unless i missed it), they didn’t allow for the deletion of either or both.

Do you have your text enlarged? I also have a Mini and even the first line goes all the way across in one line.

I really wanted a work focus but trying to set it up made my head hurt.


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Actually, you can delete any focus except ‘Do Not Disturb’. Paradoxically, it needs to be set up before you delete it. However, once it is set up you can delete a Focus by going to the Focus item in Setting, tapping on the focus you wish to delete, and then tapping ‘Delete Focus’ at the bottom of the settings.

Note: I would keep Sleep, Mindfulness, and Driving since they have some unique properties that don’t show up in Settings. For example, Mindfulness works with the Mindfulness app on an Apple Watch to block interruptions when using the Mindfulness app on the Watch. While you may not even have the watch now or use the app, you might in the future.

indeed i do (i’m old: see avatar), but not excessively. still think that’s a u/i fail.

nice find.

discoverability seems to be a really big problem with ios.

another discoverability problem, one that i only learned about when you posted this. ended up deleting mindfulness from my watch because it never completed a session thanks to interrupts.

thanks for both.

I do agree, it should wrap a bit more gracefully than that.


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I know that’s the point, but I really think it’s an unnecessary distraction for 99.999% of people. What are the chances that someone will have stolen your Apple Watch and still be range of your iPhone such that you unlock it for them. And while the attacker could then use Apple Pay or pretend to be you via iMessage if it’s a cellular model, the window of opportunity lasts only as long as the battery in the Apple Watch.

You have to remember everything that’s going on with AirTags right now. People are deliberately exploiting every loophole available.

When you say “What are the chances”… if the criminal knows what they’re doing, and they do, then the chances are 100% that they will be within range, because they know they need to be for it to work. If the criminal sees someone wearing an Apple Watch at an airport working on their laptop, and they get a call and start walking around, they can hop right on their Mac. Or someone in the workplace walks to the cooler, the bathroom, or the office down the hall, you can hop in and get on their Mac. Or you have a party at your home, and a guest you don’t know so well can just walk into your study and get on your Mac.

To me this is a no brainer. I value the notification, and I don’t find it at all intrusive. I view it like a confirmation, like how my watch beeps when an Apple Pay transaction goes through.

Well, all these are Mac examples, whereas the Apple Watch is almost always attached to your body, such that it would be really hard to steal without you noticing. If someone can steal it without you noticing while it’s charging at night, say, it seems exceedingly dangerous for them to hang around within proximity until you happen to wake up and use your iPhone and unlock the watch. It just seems like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

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I felt like we’re talking about different things, so I reread your original claim:

I don’t need to know that my iPhone is unlocking my Apple Watch—that becomes obvious because it is unlocked afterward.

And so I guess I’m objecting to something you didn’t say. In general, cross-device unlock notifications are important because of the risks I mentioned. But if there’s one case that is probably less consequential than others, it’s when someone gets access to your unlocked watch without you knowing it. Certainly not as bad as them getting your iPhone or MacBook. :white_check_mark:

Oh yeah, I’m not bothered by cross-device unlocking notifications in general, just this particular change from no-notification when unlocking the Apple Watch to a banner that tells me the obvious for way longer than I need to know.

the unlocking of the watch/phone by the phone/watch is such a confusing knot of -er- logic. personally, i welcome the notification because all too often in my experience the unlock fails when you want it to succeed or succeeds when you didn’t intend it to.

i’d prefer touch-id instead of the rube goldberg watch/phone unlock kludges for the “who was that masked man?” conundrum of our viral plague. especially that those kludges aren’t available to third-party apps.

of course, there’s then gloves …

or the accidental screen touch (always triggering the jiggling icons these days) …

I actually prefer it now because there are times when the phone does not unlock the watch. Just this morning, I put on the watch, unlocked my phone, and got no banner. I had to raise to wake the watch before the banner showed up. Of course if unlocking the phone always unlocked the watch I wouldn’t need the notification.

I also miss the days when just unlocking the phone on the lock screen would unlock the watch. Since iOS 14 (I believe) you now need to actually swipe away the lock screen with a Face ID phone before the phone will unlock the watch…

Yes, the unlocking does fail sometimes, but the banner or lack thereof doesn’t really tell me about that. I don’t actually care if the watch is unlocked until I want to use it—I’m not using Face ID on the iPhone to unlock the watch intentionally; that’s just a happy side effect. I’m sure in the past there were times when it failed silently on the first try and then worked on a subsequent try, and I didn’t need to know that either had taken place. All I needed was for my watch to be unlocked when I wanted to use it.

Not seeing the banner is what tells me that the watch hasn’t been unlocked. And I’m the opposite of you: when I put the watch on, I want it unlocked ASAP, because I am always using it; it is how I want to get my notifications, and that doesn’t happen too well if the watch is locked on my wrist. Sometimes I tap in the pin code, but generally I just unlock the phone to get the watch unlocked.