Back in May, Google announced its intention to launch more digital wellbeing features, including something called Focus Mode. The feature is now rolling out to Android users, but what does it do?
Focus Mode is essentially meant to combat the more distracting elements of your smartphone. Activating Focus Mode puts addictive apps like YouTube and Twitter on hold. It also lets you set up a Focus Mode schedule.
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For example, you might want to put YouTube on pause between 9am and 5pm, while you’re at work. Or you might want to turn off Twitter and Facebook while spending quality time with friends and family. Either way, Focus Mode, which just passed through beta testing, has you covered.
It lets you set up your own personalised list of ‘distracting apps’ too, rather than presuming that it knows best. That makes for a more personal experience, so you can tailor the feature to help you find focus.
App timers have been around for a while, but Focus Mode offers a more tailored and precise version of the same service. It’s easier to adjust your phone usage to your schedule, using the app.
The apps frozen out by Focus Mode see their icons go black and white. Tap one and the phone will remind you that you have turned on Focus Mode. However, there is an option to ‘take a break’ for a few minutes, as you can see above. This allows you to dip back into an app for a short, set amount of time.
Focus mode is available on new devices that run Android 9 and Android 10. Other applicable phones will get an update in the coming days.
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We’re pleased to see the development of digital wellbeing apps. They show an increased willingness on behalf of Google and phone manufacturers to take some measure of responsibility for the potentially damaging side-effects of their products. Watch this space for more updates.