How To Make Your iPhone *Not Work* For Your Schedule

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There are a few different ways that you can use your iPhone to help you stay focused and limit distractions when you have a busy schedule. In this piece of our series, Making Your iPhone Work For You, we’re breaking down the iPhone settings to help you better manage your time, keep track of your schedule, and focus so that you can be on top of your game, both at home and at work. This is a how-to on making your iPhone *not* work when your focus is needed somewhere beyond your screen.

So Which iPhone Settings to Use to For Busy Schedules to Limit Distractions?

Here’s an overview:

1. Update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS for the best focus-related features and performance.
2. Set up Siri or, take it one step further, and try Voice Control.
3. Take advantage of the awesome location-based features that your iPhone has to offer.
4. Use Focus Mode(s) to limit distractions from more than just notifications.


First and foremost, if you haven’t updated your iPhone to the new iOS 16 —— you’re seriously missing out. This article focuses on some features that are new to the most recent update. If you’re on the fence about updating, this article just might persuade you.

Siri shortcuts can be really helpful for managing your busy schedule. You can create shortcuts for tasks like checking your calendar, setting reminders, or adding items to your to-do list. These shortcuts can be activated with a simple voice command, so you don’t have to waste time fumbling around with your phone. We’ll dive into the vast world of shortcuts in a following article… or three. For now, I suggest you set up Siri and start getting to comfortable with the basics.

Remember, Siri learns from your interactions with it. Artificial intelligence still has a learning curve. The more you use it, the better it gets.

Voice Control has thorough instructions on Apple’s website, the iPhone User Guide, and on the settings page in your device. It’s quite intuitive but I strongly suggest that you toggle on the “voice control tips” if you’re just getting started.

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You can use location-based features to help you stay focused. For example, if there is a specific place where you tend to get distracted, you can set up a Focus so that your iPhone will automatically enter Do Not Disturb mode when you’re at the indicated location.
To set up a location-based automation, open the Focus settings on your iPhone. You can either create a new one, or select a preset Focus. Once you’re in the settings for a specific Focus mode, go to “Add Schedule”, choose “Location”. It will prompt you to add the address or name of the location (if you have it saved in your phone under a specific contact, or labeled in your Maps apps, it should pop up.) You can also set up a geofence around your current location by tapping “Current Location”.

You can use the Focus Mode features in the iPhone Settings app for so many things. For example, use Focus to temporarily disable certain apps that you find distracting, or just disable their notifications. You can set up which calendar is shown in the Calendar app, what apps and information your Home Screen and Lock Screen display, or a sleep schedule equipped with a wind down timer and a completely different interface than normal.

Included with the new Focus modes is our beloved Do Not Disturb. The standard setting for Do Not Disturb to silence all incoming notifications. You can customize this setting to only allow calls from certain contacts, or schedule it so it only activates during specific times of the day, or when you’re at a certain location.These customizations are available for all of the pre-set Focus Modes, as well.

We must always remember that technology is a tool. Tools make our lives easier. The customizations offered in the new iOS 16 are incredibly helpful. If you’re having trouble staying focused with your device nearby, try using some of these tips to help you out.

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