What is Focus Status in iMessage on iPhone?

Phone DND Do Not Disturb

Choose whether you want others to know you are busy while using a Focus Mode

iOS 15 has been out for the public for some time now. Packed with a lot of great features, it has encouraged many users to transition to the OS. One of the highlights of iOS 15 has been the balance it endeavors to bring to our lives with notification summaries and focus modes.

While Focus Mode is great, it can be complex for some users, making it difficult to get the hang of it completely. Perhaps, you too have been using iOS 15 for some time now, but you just realized something. Even when you have Do Not Disturb, or one of the newer Focus modes on, some iMessage notifications are getting through. What’s all that about? The culprit here is Focus Status. Let’s dive into the finer details of it all.

What is Focus Mode?

Before getting to Focus Status, if you aren’t familiar with the concept of Focus Mode, here’s a quick rundown for you. Focus Mode is an advancement of DND in iOS 15. With DND, things have always been too drastic. You can either silence all your notifications (with a few exceptions) by using DND, or you let them all get through by not using DND.

Focus Mode changes that. With a combination of preset Focus Modes and the ability to create their own, users can have complete control over what notifications they want during a specific phase of a day. When you’re in work mode, for instance, only your work notifications will get through and everything else will simply have to wait. With slews of modes available at your disposal, you can choose to focus on the task at hand.

Whether you are busy with work, driving, reading, want some personal time, practicing mindfulness, gaming, working on your fitness goals, or doing something else unique to you, you can have a Focus Mode for the same. And it even works on all your devices simultaneously if you want it to.

To get acquainted with the mode completely like learning to set up and use various Focus Modes, head over here.

What is Focus Status?

Focus Mode not only helps filter your notifications according to the task at hand, but it also has other features too, namely Focus Status. So what is this infamous Focus Status you’ve waited so long to find?

Unlike DND in iOS 14, Focus Mode lets people know that you have silenced notifications.

When someone tries to send you an iMessage while you’re on one of the Focus Modes, a Focus Status on their screens will let them know that “[you] have silenced notifications.” Along with the Focus Status, they’ll also get an option to ‘Notify Anyway’. If they choose to tap that option, the notification will get through regardless of the Focus Mode.

Note: The Focus Status isn’t displayed to the person sending you a message right away. When a person sends you a few messages, maybe two or three, Messages will display the Focus Status along with the ‘Notify Now’ message sensing they might have something important to intimate you. Additionally, it only works if the other user is also on iOS 15.

Even though the Focus Status lets others know that you have some sort of Focus Mode on, it doesn’t let them know the name. Hence, they don’t know the exact nature of the Focus Mode you’re currently using.

You’ll get the notification for the Focus Status immediately as soon as they choose to notify you. If not, the notification will be delivered with the rest of the notifications you missed while in the Focus Mode.

How to Turn Off Focus Status

Focus Status is on by default for all Focus Modes, predefined or whether you create a custom one. But you can easily turn it off.

Open your iPhone Settings and go to ‘Focus’.

Then, tap the Focus Mode for which you want to turn off Focus Status.

In the settings for that particular Focus Mode, tap ‘Focus Status’.

Then, turn off the toggle for ‘Share Focus Status’.

When using this method, you have to disable Focus Status for each of your setup modes individually. It’s perfect if you only want to turn off the setting for some modes while keeping it on for others. In this guide, for instance, we turned off Focus Status for the ‘Work’ Focus Mode, so it’ll still stay on for other Focus Modes.

But if you don’t want Messages to be able to share Focus Status in any mode at all, you can simply revoke the app’s access to Focus.

Open your iPhone settings and scroll down to find the option for ‘Messages’.

Then, under ‘Allow Messages to Access’, turn off the toggle for ‘Focus’. As Messages won’t have access to Focus, it won’t be able to share your Focus Status even if the setting is on for a Focus Mode.

Currently, Messages is the only app that can share your Focus Status, though. Maybe in the future, more apps will be able to use this feature and share your Focus Status with people sending you messages through a third-party app.