How to turn off notifications for certain apps on the weekend on your iPhone and Apple Watch

custom focus in do not disturb on Apple Watch

One aspect of working from home is that the volume of notifications on our iPhones and Apple Watches has gone through the roof.

This reality is especially true if you use multiple email apps for business and personal, social media apps, and many other apps that constantly crave our attention.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn off notifications from some of the work-related apps on Friday at 6 PM and turn them back on Monday at 8 AM?

Not everyone’s profession and career choices allow for this luxury.

For those who can better manage their life/work balance and spend time on the weekends to work out or travel or meet friends, you can choose to set up small automation that helps you turn on the app notifications you want and turn off and silence the app notifications you don’t want. 

This automation feature, Focus, is available in Apple’s iOS 15+ and watchOS 8+ and helps you better manage distractions from app notifications and alerts.

With a Focus, you can select Allowed Notifications from people and apps and even let people who send messages using those disallowed apps know that you have silenced notifications and alerts.

Here is how you can use this feature to allow and disallow notifications and alerts from selected apps over the weekend.

Related reading

How to set up and use a custom iOS 15+ Focus feature with selected apps

The trick with setting up a Focus is to choose what apps and people you want to allow notifications from–any apps or contacts you don’t allow are automatically turned off (silenced.)

It’s a little confusing, so let me break it down. 

  1. Open Control Center on your iPhone or go to the Settings app (setting up a Focus requires iOS 15 and above.) 
  2. Tap on Focus.iOS 15 Focus for app notifications
  3. Tap on the Focus to get started. If you don’t see this icon, scroll down. iOS and watchOS make a new Focus
  4. Choose Custom and type in a name for your Focus. Then, in the option below, select a color and an icon for the custom focus.Name your custom focus
  5. Tap Customize Focus for further personalization, including:
    1. Silencing notifications you don’t want.
    2. Share notification status with family and friends, and select other cWhen using the focus, decide when silenced.
    3. Decide if you want a custom Locen when using the Focus.
    4. Choose to schedule your Focus, so it turns on automatically or have it set so you can only manually turn it on and off. iPhone customize a focus
  6. Go through the options to customize your Focus. You can skip sections if preferred. Focus settings and options for features on iPhone
  7. In the Silence Notifications section, tap and select Choose People and Choose Apps to allow selected contacts and apps to contact you when you turn on that Focus. Appel focus choose apps or choose people options and settings
    1. If you want to disallow just a few people or apps, you can also choose which contacts (or apps) to silence by selecting the option to Silence Notifications From (this feature is only available in iOS 16+.) Apple iPhone Focus settings for people
    2. For people, choose which contacts you want to allow calls from. You can choose everybody, allowed people, Favorites, Contacts only, or a Contact Group. Tap Done to save. Allow calls settings for iPhone Focus
    3. Once you set up your People and Apps preferences for that Focus, tap Options below your listed people and apps to adjust the Focus notification options, including showing on your iPhone’s lock screen, dimming the lock screen, and hiding notification badges. iPhone Focu notification options
  8. If you want to customize your iPhone’s (and Apple Watch’s) lock screen or home screen when this Focus is on, use the options in Customize Screens. customize lock and home screens for iPhone Focus mode and Apple Watch
    1. You can choose from existing home screens and watch faces. For the lock screen, you can choose from existing lock screens or create a new one from the Wallpaper Gallery. iPhone Focus lock screen options
    2. These options are available in iOS 16+ only.
  9. Next, go to the Set a Schedule section to establish an automatic schedule for your custom Focus. If you don’t want to schedule it (you intend to turn it on manually), skip this section. iPhone Focus set a schedule
    1. Smart Activation lets your iPhone learn from your behavior and automatically turns on your Focus at relevant times throughout the day based on what it learned, including things like location, time, or app usage. Since you don’t have control of this, we don’t recommend this setting.
    2. Add Schedule allows you to tell Apple when you want this Focus to turn on. Options include turning it on at a particular time or day, at a specific location (like when you arrive at your vacation spot), or when you open a specific app. iPhone Focus add a schedule
      1. If you want the Focus to be all day (and night), have it start at midnight (00:00 and end at 23:59.)
  10. Finally, go to the section Focus Filter if you want to choose what information your selected apps show when the Focus is on. If you don’t want to adjust your apps’ behavior when this Focus is on, skip this section. Add filters to iPhone Focus
    1. Depending on what apps you allowed, you see different filter options, including things like filters for your calendar, messages, email, Safari, and some system settings like dark mode and low power mode. Add a filter to iPhone Focus
    2. For example, you can choose which calendars show up while the Focus is on. You might not want to show your work calendar when your weekend focus is on. Or you might want to turn on low power mode, so you don’t need to charge your devices as frequently as during the work week. 

Now you have a custom focus on your iPhone that only allows notifications from your selected apps and contacts during the weekends.

Add some additional features to your Focus

Allow Time Sensitive notifications

If you want to allow apps to notify you immediately, even when you have a Focus turned on, you can choose the option to allow time-sensitive notifications.

  1. Go to Settings > Focus and choose the Focus you want to adjust.
  2. Tap Apps and turn on Time Sensitive Notifications. iPhone focus settings for time sensitive notifications

Allow Repeated Calls

Sometimes a person really needs to get in contact with you. But they can’t get through if they aren’t on your allowed list. 

To help with these critical times, Apple offers a repeated call feature that bypasses the Focus temporarily if the same person (phone number) calls more than once within 3 minutes.

  1. Go to Settings > Focus and choose the Focus you want to adjust.
  2. Tap People and turn on Allow Repeated Calls. If you chose to silence notifications, you see the option to Allow Calls from Silenced People instead. iPhone Allow Repeated Call settings for a Focus

Set up emergency contact bypass

There’s another option for you to set up in case of emergencies using the Contacts app that always works, even when you have a Focus on.

We highly recommend you allow specific contacts to always be able to reach you in the event of an emergency by establishing a set of people as Emergency contacts for your Medical ID in the Health app.

However, if you have not set Emergency Contacts up or have others not listed there, you can add them as Emergency Bypass contacts.

  1. Open the Contacts app and select a contact.
  2. Tap Edit at the top corner.
  3. Choose either Ringtone or Text Tone.
  4. Toggle on Emergency Bypass. iPhone Contacts app Emergency Bypass setting
  5. Tap Done.

Set up your Focus options

Once you set up some additional options, other options are available that universally work on all your focuses.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and choose Focus. iPhone Settings app Focus settings
  2. Scroll down past your individual focuses and find options to Share Across Devices and Focus Status.
  3. If you want your Focus to sync between all your Apple devices signed in with the same Apple ID (for example, your iPhone and Apple Watch,) toggle Share Across Devices on.
  4. If you want people to know that you’ve silenced notifications when a focus is active, tap Focus Status.
    1. Toggle on Share Focus StatusiPhone Focus settings to share between devices
    2. Choose which Focuses you permit to share the message that you have notifications silenced.
    3. For example, if you turn on Share Focus Status for the Weekend warrior focus, anyone who texts you sees a message that you have notifications silenced. notifications are silenced in Focus settings on iPhone

To share a focus, all devices must run iOS15+, iPadOS15+, watchOS8+, or macOS Monterey and above.

How to turn on your Focus

Now that you set up your Focus with all your preferred notification settings, it’s time to test it out!

  1. Go to Settings > Focus or open Control Center and tap the Focus tile. Focus settings in Control Center iOS
  2. Tap your Focus name (i.e., Weekend warrior) and turn it on.
    1. Tapping your Focus once in the control center automatically turns it on. turn on a focus using iOS Control Center
    2. You can also turn it on with more specificity by tapping the More Button next to the focus name (three dots.) 
      1. Choose from options such as For 1 hour, Until this evening, Until I leave this location. iPhone Focus settings options in Control Center

Once on, your Focus remains active according to its schedule or the chosen option.

If it doesn’t have a set schedule or you want to turn it off before the end of its schedule, tap it again to turn off or toggle it off in the Settings app.

When you turn on a Focus, that Focus icon appears in your device’s status bar and on your Lock Screen, and when you share your Focus with all your devices, that Focus is automatically applied across your Apple devices that are signed in with the same Apple ID.

Want to change your Focus notification, call, or other settings?

If you need to update your Focus settings, that’s easy!

  1. Go to Settings > Focus or open Control Center > Focus.
  2. Select the Focus that you want to update. When using Control Center, tap the More Button (three dots) and choose Settings. iOS Control Center update the settings and customizations on a Focus

How to delete your Focus

If you decide that the Focus isn’t working for you or don’t need it anymore, it’s simple to delete it.

Just open the Focus settings, scroll down, and tap Delete Focus. And confirm you wish to delete it! Delete an iPhone Focus


We hope this article gave you some ideas about customizing the Focus features in iOS 15+ and watchOS 8+ and using them to maintain a healthier work/life balance.

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, and feel free to check out our comprehensive guide on Apple’s new Focus feature.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


  1. Thank you so much for this! I hate getting work related notifications (mail, CRM, etc) after I end my work day/ on the weekends. I’m so happy I found this article. It’s going to let me decompress so much better now! 🙂

  2. How is native app notification scheduling not a thing? Things like this and Apple’s continued refusal of a simple Location toggle switch still drive me insane as a former Android user, given that we had these options more than a DECADE ago.

  3. This will allow notifications from certain apps. What I want, and what the premise and title of this article is, but is not described in the article is how to hide notifications from certain apps. Can it be done? If so how? Please correct the article.

    • Hi Mikael,

      The way Apple designed the Focus feature is that you choose to allow apps and contacts rather than disallow them. Any apps or contacts that are not on your allowed list are automatically disallowed. The assumption is that there are fewer apps/people you wish to allow than disallow.

      If you don’t want to allow any app or contact, choose Remove All from the focus’ settings (Settings app > Focus > select your focus > under Allowed Notifications tap people and choose Remove All, then tap Apps and repeat.)

    • Hi Daniel,

      Yup, you are correct. We meant 12 AM to 12 AM (darn auto correct!)–but this doesn’t always work, so it’s best to use 12 AM to 11:59 PM.

      Thanks for the heads up, we corrected the article.



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