How to Create a Focus Mode Shortcut on Your iPhone

The smartphone has become the most powerful source of distraction that we all carry around in our pockets. If you want to overcome phone addiction and make your phone distraction free during your productive work hours, follow these simple steps.

These steps work for iOS.

1: Black & White

Go to your phone Settings and scroll up to see the search field.

Then, type "Colour" into the field and select the Colour Filters option.

On the next screen, find the Colour Filters -> Off option and tap it.

On the next screen, turn On the Colour Filters toggle.

Then, choose the Greyscale option.

After this, you can turn the Colour Filter toggle Off again.

You only need to do this step once. It is to ensure that the shortcut we'll create next will change your display to greyscale and not to a different colour setting.

2: Focus Shortcut

Open the Shortcuts app and tap the + icon in the top right corner to create a new shortcut.

Tap the New Shortcut label at the top of the next screen to Rename the shortcut to "Focus". You can also choose a color and icon for it, but this is optional.

Next, tap on the Add Action button.

Then, in the search field type "Colour" and choose the Set Colour Filters option that appears.

This brings you back to the main screen for this shortcut with the action Turn Colour Filters On added.

Now, tap the search field at the bottom of the screen to add your next action.

In the search field, type "Focus" and then choose the Set Focus option that appears.

Tap the options in the shortcut field (blue text) until the new action reads "Turn Do Not Disturb On until Turned Off".

That's the first shortcut complete! Tap Done in the top right corner to exit this screen.

3: Unfocus Shortcut

Next, we create another shortcut and this one is simply to undo the steps from the Focus Shortcut we just created.

To do this, long tap the shortcut you just created and then choose Duplicate from the context menu.

On the new "Focus 1" shortcut that appears, tap on the 3 dots icon on the top right corner of the tile.

This takes you to the editing screen for the duplicate shortcut.

Here, all you need to do is tap the blue text in the actions to get:

  • Turn Colour Filters Off
  • Turn Do Not Disturb Off

Then, you can once again tap on the shortcut title and select Rename to change the name to "Unfocus".

4: Add a Widget to Your Home Screen

Now that you have both shortcuts created, you can make them one-tap accessible by adding a home screen widget.

Go to your home screen and long tap into an empty area until you get the icon wiggly effect. Then, tap the plus icon in the top left corner to add a new widget.

On the widget screen, use the search field to find Shortcuts and tap on that.

Then, swipe to find the widget that shows 2 shortcut buttons and add it to your home screen by tapping on the Add Widget button at the bottom.

Done! You can now tap the "Focus" button to instantly turn off notifications and make your display greyscale and you can tap the "Unfocus" button when your work session is done and you want to make your phone more compelling/addictive again.

About the Author

Shane is a half Swiss, half Irish person who's managed to channel his very perfectionist and somewhat obsessive nature into a relentless pursuit of personal improvement. Then that kinda got derailed by a relentless entrepreneurial pursuit and now it's something in between the two.

Shane Melaugh