How to set different backgrounds for each Focus Mode in iOS 16


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In iOS 16, focus modes can have contextual backgrounds and allow users to set different organizational styles when enabling different modes. Here’s how.

Focus mode, introduced in iOS 15, allowed you to filter the content shown and/or allow your device to notify you when it’s active.

According to Apple, focus modes are a new way to help users reduce distractions by filtering notifications based on what a user wants to focus on at that moment. But without configuration they do nothing.

Here are the different ways you can customize all your backgrounds and set them to different focus modes in iOS 16.

How to customize your lock screen

Before setting everything up and associating a background from your lock screen with an associated focus mode, you must first customize and create the lock screen background.

How to customize your lock screen to configure it for focus modes

  1. hold down on the lock screen until you enter customization mode Therefore
  2. Tap the plus sign at the bottom right of the screen or swipe to the bottom of your lock screen selection and tap “Add new”
  3. Choose the photo and text font you want to showcase for that particular background
  4. Beat “Add widget” under the clock to get a variety of widgets to choose from
  5. Choose “Finished” when you are done creating your background image

How to set your lock screen with a focus mode

There are two ways to set specific lock screens to specific focus modes. One way is through the lock screen customization center and the other is through the settings.

About the Customization Center:

  1. open that Lock screen customization center by pressing and holding the lock screen
  2. Tap on “Focus” under the wallpaper you want to set
  3. Select the focus mode with which the background image you are on should correspond and be set when the focus mode is active

Through Settings:

  1. Go in settings and select focus
  2. Tap the focus mode to set your specific wallpaper for when the mode is active
  3. Then tap “Choose” under the iPhone icon in the Customize Screens section.
  4. Select the background you created and it will be set to that focus mode

Pairing a lock screen wallpaper with different focus modes is a great way to change the mood of your device(s) depending on the currently active focus mode.

The lock screen wallpaper is the first thing you see when you wake up your device and being able to see the information widgets need on the lock screen and the background it sees is a great way to dive into and connect to active mode.

You can choose any photo as your lock screen background or choose from a plethora of options that Apple offers.

How to change your home screen with a focus mode

Your lock screen isn’t the only thing you can change by activating different focus modes, your home screen can also change and adapt. As with lock screens, there are two ways you can set your home screen to different focus modes – one is through settings and the other is through the lock screen customization center.

Through Settings:

  1. Go in settings and select focus
  2. Select the focus mode you want to connect your home screen(s) to
  3. Choose “Choose” under the Home screen icon (the middle icon) under the customize screens section
  4. Select the home screens you want to set when focus mode is on. These may or may not be home screens that you currently have active.
  5. Choose “Finished” top right when done

About the Customization Center:

  1. hold down on your lock screen to get into that Customization Center
  2. Choose the lock screen you have set your focus mode to
  3. Choose “To adjust” at the bottom of the screen

  4. Beat “Finished” top right of the screen (since you have already configured your lock screen at this point)
  5. A menu will appear on the home screen, tap “Customize Home Screen” at the bottom

When customizing your home screen, you have several options to choose from. You can choose either a base color, an endless number of gradient options, or a photo from your camera roll.

To change the default color for color and gradient, tap the plus sign next to the category for more options.

After choosing the photo that you want to use as the home screen background, you have the option to leave it as is or add a blur effect to the entire image.

Select Done in the top right when you’re done setting up your home screen wallpaper. This configures your lock screen and home screen as a “background pair” and can be changed at any time.

How to change your watch face with a focus mode

Your iPhone isn’t the only device that will have its background(s) changed depending on which focus mode is enabled, but your Apple Watch can also be affected. You can create different watch faces that are adjusted when different focus modes are active.

How to set different watch faces for different focus modes.

  1. Go to the View app on your iPhone
  2. Choose “face gallery” bottom center of the screen
  3. Choose the watch face to set when activating a specific focus mode. Watch faces can be set to multiple focus modes, but the watch face must be created before it can be set to a specific mode.
  4. Configure your watch face with the compositions to be displayed, which could correspond to the focus mode it will be connected to
  5. Once you’ve created your watch face, head inside settings and select “Focus”
  6. Tap the focus mode you want to connect your watch face to
  7. Under customize screenschoose “Choose” under the Apple Watch icon (the last one on the right)
  8. Select the watch face you just created (if it is the most recent watch face you created, it will be the last watch face in the list).
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Setting different watchfaces for different focus modes is a great tool to use, allowing you to see different information at a glance through different compositions or the watchface you set in general.

When you’re in a certain focus area, your Apple Watch is right there to give you the information about what you need in that moment.

A watch face can be set to multiple focus modes, but only one watch face can be set for focus modes.

Keep focusing

Being able to set different backgrounds for different areas of your devices is a great way to get more out of your focus modes. It allows you to get more information at a glance with widgets on the lock screen, and you can also only see specific home screen pages and apps that you want for the mode you have activated.

This focus mode expansion really opens the door to more customization in your device, and the ability to set specific focus modes to have specific timers allows your device to automatically change the background across all scopes and devices.

iOS 16 and watchOS 9 are now available to download on all supported devices.

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