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 Watch has gone through the roof.

This 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 can 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.

But 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 now choose to set up small automation that helps you turn off notifications for selected apps.

iOS 15 and watchOS 8 now feature a new concept called ‘Focus’ that you can use to manage distractions better.

Here is how you can use this feature to turn off notifications from selected apps over the weekend.

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

  1. Open Control Center on your iPhone running iOS 15.
  2. Tap on Focus.iOS 15 Focus for app notifications
  3. Select ‘Create a new Focus’ or tap on the ‘+ New Focus’ to get started.Create a new custom focus in iOS 15
  4. Choose ‘Custom’ and provide a name for the Focus.Name your custom focus
  5. Select color and an icon for the custom focus (optional.)
  6. Select the contacts that you want notifications to come from by tapping on ‘Add Contact.’Select Contacts to include in iOS 15 Focus
  7. Now choose the ‘Apps’ that you want notifications from by tapping on ‘Add App.

    iOS 15 Focus include apps
    Here I include apps that I use over the weekend.
  8. In my case, I handpicked selected apps that I use over the weekend for fitness and health.
  9. Scroll down and Tap on ‘Allow X apps’ to move to the next screen in the process
  10. On the next screen, set up any Time-Sensitive apps for which you want to make exceptions or tap on ‘Not Now’ to move forward.
    1. Time sensitive notifications mean you get that notification even when you have your Focus on!Set up time sensitive apps in iOS 15 Focus
  11. Once you finish all these steps, you get a message that your focus is ready! iOS custom focus is ready!

The next part is to set up the time parameters for this custom Focus that you created

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen to the section ‘Turn on Automatically.
    1. Choose the option to Add Schedule or Automation. We do not recommend using Smart Activation. schedule your custom Focus on iOS 15+ for iPhone
  2. Next, tap on ‘Time’ to set up the schedule for the focus.
    1. You can also select a Location (like when you arrive at your vacation spot) or even when you use a certain App. time automation for custom Focus on iPhone
  3. On Time automation screen, toggle on ‘Schedule.’
    1. Scroll down to the days of the week and toggle off all days except Saturday and Sunday.
    2. Then, set up when you want the focus to be active each day, from start to finish AM and PM (for all day choose 12 AM to 12 PM.) Finally, tap Done to save.Schedule time for iOS 15 Focus

Now you have a custom focus on your iPhone thal only allows notifications from your selected apps and contacts during the weekends.How to set up custom focus in iOS 15

Additional iOS 15 Focus features

On the focus’ details screen, you can also turn on additional features via the Options section.custom focus options

  • Select Focus Status and toggle on Share Focus Status to share your focus status to people who message you so they know that you have notifications silenced.
  • Tap Home Screen to hide notification badges on home screen apps. Or pick specific home screen pages to show when your focus is on.
  • Choose Lock Screen to dim you lock screen or show sileced notifications on your lock screen during the focus.


We hope that this article provided you with some ideas about customizing the new iOS 15 feature and using it 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.

I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products and have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. 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&fitness-tech evolution and keep 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 or Fossil Gen 5 LTE and keep a close eye on my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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