When Apple’s New Focus Feature is Too Much

I like iOS 15, but if not properly managed, Focus can be problematic

Lance Ulanoff
Published in
3 min readNov 23, 2021


Photo by Bagus Hernawan on Unsplash

As soon as Apple iOS 15 was available, I updated my iPhone (and followed with iPadOS 15 on my iPads). It’s mostly great but I have my reservations about one of the platform’s premier features: Focus.

Sometimes, Focus is just too aggressive. Allow me to share a true short story:

“I called you,” said my friend.


“10 minutes ago,” he said, sounding slightly aggrieved.

I pulled the iPhone away from my ear and stared at it.

“That’s not possible,” I argued, “My phone is right next to me and [because I was waiting for his call] I made sure the ring/silent switch was on ‘ring.’”

“Well, I did,” said my friend as if speaking to a small child.

After the call, I checked my recent calls and, sure enough, I had missed his call and, I noticed, a few others.

What else was I missing?

I checked my text messages and noticed that I’d also missed a few from people outside my immediate circle of family and friends.

Everyone who called or texted was getting “Not Available” responses or being sent directly to voicemail.

What was up with my iPhone 13 Pro? Nothing, actually, just Apple’s overly helpful Focus, trying to help me concentrate on things other than calls, texts, and notifications on my phone.

Here’s how Apple describes Focus:

“Focus lets you stay in the moment when you need to concentrate or step away from your device. You can customize Focus settings and choose when you want to receive alerts and notifications, while letting other people and apps know when you’re busy.”

Sounds awesome, right? And it’s true, no one interrupts me with calls, texts, and notifications.

It’s also true that people don’t reach me even when I want them to.

Once I realized that Focus was overcorrecting my focus away from necessary communications and notifications, I would take a moment to turn off all Focus before waiting for important calls…



Lance Ulanoff

Tech expert, journalist, social media commentator, amateur cartoonist and robotics fan.