How to automate your iPhone based on time, activity, or location

How to automate your iPhone based on time, activity, or location

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Your iPhone can become more efficient with a few simple automations that display relevant information and hide distractions, depending on what you’re doing. Automating your iPhone can help you be more productive at work, get a better night’s sleep, or display helpful reminders at the best possible time.

Set up focus modes first

Many automation depends on Focus modes Apple added to iOS 15 in 2021. Apple expanded these focus modes in the iOS 16 update. The first thing to do is spend some time setting up the focus modes that are right for you.

Related: What’s new in iOS 16 for iPhone

Set up preset focus modes from Apple

Head to Settings > Focus to get started. If you have previously completed Do Not Disturb mode, you will already have one Focus mode enabled.

You can add more by using the ‘+’ icon in the top-right corner of the screen or by clicking the ‘setting’ button that appears next to the default options like ‘work and sleep’.

In addition to choosing from Apple’s suggestions, you can choose Custom to set up an entirely new focus mode. Give it a name, choose an icon, and hit Next, followed by the Customize Focus button to get started.

Create your own custom focus mode

By default, focus modes silence time-insensitive notifications. You can also choose which contacts and apps you want to allow or mute notifications from.

For example, you can choose important contacts, so you never miss a notification from family and friends while burying distractions like Facebook requests or mobile game notifications.

You can use the Options button to display notifications that are muted on the lock screen, which means they will be delivered silently (they only appear when you check your device, but don’t ring or pop up).

You can also darken the lock screen, perfect for “sleep” focus mode or anytime you want a darker look.

Link focus modes to lock screens and more

You now have the ability to link your Lock screen, Home screen, and Apple Watch face to focus mode. You’ll find these options under Settings > Focus menu (under Selected Focus Mode settings).

Press “select,” then choose from your options.

Customize focus lock screen, home screen and watch face

For lock screens, you can create new ones by long pressing on the lock screen and clicking on the “+” plus button. here you can Add widgets to your lock screen or choose a simple design just for the background. You can view tools related to your current activity, such as weather information or calendar appointments.

You can do the same for your home screen. Spend some time setting up specific pages of apps on your home screen, then pick one you’d like to see when your chosen focus mode is enabled.

Some focus modes (such as work) allow you to “Create a New Page,” which suggests apps and widgets based on activity, although this only works with Apple’s preset options.

Finally, choose the Apple Watch face. This uses your Apple Watch gallery, so if you have specific things you’d like to see, be sure to create the watch face first.

Schedule your focus modes

To make focus modes really useful, they need to be fully automated. You can turn them on and off manually, but it is much better if you set them up to activate and deactivate based on relevant criteria.

Enable smart focus mode activation

Under “Turn on automatically” in Settings > Focus menu (under Selected Focus Mode settings), you will have the option to enable Smart Activation.

Siri learns your habits based on your activity, giving Siri a chance to use what it knows best. Your iPhone will use the location, time of day, and types of apps you use to make a call about which focus mode to activate.

Schedule focus modes manually

If you don’t trust Siri to get it right, or you’ve had a bad experience with Assistant’s predictions, you can click the Add Table button to set your criteria.

For example, you can set your focus mode to activate during work hours or late at night when you are trying to get some rest. You can also set Focus Mode to activate once you reach certain locations, such as your home or gym.

Synchronize focus modes between devices

You can use the same focus modes between devices, including iPad and Mac. All you have to do is check the toggle Sharing Across Devices under Settings > Focus on your iPhone to see the same focus modes appear on your other devices.

Settings for sharing focus between Apple devices

Use focus filters to hide distractions

Finally, focus filters take the entire focus system to the next level. These allow you to filter information that is not relevant to the current focus mode. This can be said to be very useful when you want to focus, such as when the work or study modes are activated.

Hit the Add Filter button in the Focus Mode settings under Settings > Focus to see your various options. For example, with the message filter, you can choose to only see conversations from specific contacts.

Use focus filters for greater control

Here you will also find third-party apps, which offer similar options. Finally, there are a few system settings, such as an option Use dark mode (ideal for night focus modes) and low power mode.

Set reminders based on location and more

Focus modes aren’t everything and the end of iPhone automation. For example, the Reminders app also has useful features. One such feature is the ability to receive reminders based on your location.

To do this, tap on a reminder to edit it. Next, click on the “i” button to display additional options. You can then toggle “Location” and choose a location where you want the reminder to appear on your iPhone’s lock screen. This works great for receiving reminders of the items on your shopping list as soon as you arrive at the store or for silencing text messages while you’re driving.

Surface reminders in specific locations

You can also mark “On Messaging” to receive a reminder when you message a specific contact. This is useful if you want to remind someone of something without harassing them until you actually chat.

Use shortcuts to set up more complex automations

there all The world of automation to be discovered in the Shortcuts app. With shortcuts, you can set up automated processes that help you save battery power, reduce distractions, or trigger actions when certain apps are running.

Even better, you can now hide the annoying “automation on” notification as well.


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