Focus Mode was conspicuously absent from the launch of Android 10, with only a beta version available for certain phones. Thankfully, that’s no longer true, and Android’s distraction-cutting Focus Mode is now available on a number of devices running Android 10 and Android 9.0 Pie.
A major new addition to Google’s Digital Wellbeing toolkit, Focus Mode seeks to limit the ways your phone can distract you when you’re looking to concentrate. Select a number of intrusive or particularly bothersome apps, and Focus Mode will pause those apps while the mode is active, stopping notifications from being sent. Furthermore, while the mode is active, those apps’ icons will appear grayed out, and for any of them, you’ll be notified that the app is currently locked down if you attempt to open it.
It’s not as tyrannical as it sounds, and you’ll be able to access any of your apps if you really need to — but the idea is to remove the ease with which you’re able to distract yourself. By placing a barrier between you and the app, Focus Mode gives you the chance to back out of situations that distract you. Any notifications that come through while the app is paused will be sent to your phone after the mode is turned off — so there’s no need to worry you’ll overlook a message, or miss out on a points boost.
Of course, any apps not included on Focus Mode’s blacklist will send notifications as usual — so you won’t miss out on an important call or email.
Google has added more to Focus Mode since we last looked at it, including the ability to activate Focus Mode on a set schedule. For instance, if you’re working 9 to 5 (what a way to make a living) on weekdays, or if you like some screenless time before bed. Google also added the ability to take a short break, and if you’ve finished early, you can shut off a scheduled Focus Mode before the end time — and it’ll start again at the right time the next day.
Focus Mode is now available for a number of phones running Android 9.0 Pie and Android 10. Android 10 phones are more likely to get Focus Mode, as it’s only available on phones with Google’s Digital Wellbeing app. While Digital Wellbeing launched with Android 9.0 Pie, only a small amount of Pie-compatible phones saw fit to include Digital Wellbeing. That’s set to end with Android 10 though, as Google has laid down the law and declared all Android 10 phones must come with Digital Wellbeing. You can check out our full Focus Mode guide to learn how to use this powerful new feature.
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