The moon symbol is a common symbol to find around your contacts. It essentially means that you have silenced notifications from that contact, however, there’s a lot more to the moon symbol than just that.
The moon on a contact’s name is an indicator that the contact is muted, in terms of phone calls and notifications. While the moon icon has been around for a little while, Apple updated their firmware with a feature that is called, “Focus,” which has a whole host of new factors involved with this icon.
Apple’s new Focus upgrade is designed for just that, helping you focus on whatever it is you’re doing at the time, which includes even sleep. For instance, if you are a freelance writer and need a solid two, uninterrupted hours at the computer, simply turn Focus on and silence all calls and notifications.
How Does Focus Work?
When you silence a contact in the Focus menu, you are placing them under the category of Do Not Disturb. The Focus setting is fairly extensive and certainly broader than just silencing notifications and calls from a single individual.
There are three major options under the Focus setting:
- Do Not Disturb
To access the Focus menu, go to Settings > Focus. The Do Not Disturb option opens up a number of additional and very useful options that will allow you to both be selective in who you add to the Do Not Disturb list, as well as set up various automations.
- Do Not Disturb
- Allowed Notifications
- Focus Status
- Home Screen
- Lock Screen
- Turn on Automatically
- + Add Schedule or Automation
Toggling on the Do Not Disturb option is a blanket setting that covers the entire phone, all contacts, all notifications, all phone calls, with the exception of the contacts that you add to the Allowed Notifications just beneath the Do Not Disturb toggle.
Under Allowed Notifications, you can set up contacts that are always allowed to get through, regardless of whether or not you have Do Not Disturb toggled on. It also allows you to add any applications that you want to penetrate the wall of Do Not Disturb.
Focus Status allows you to share with people your status if they try to call or message you. For instance, if your friend calls and you have Do Not Disturbed on and, that friend is not on the Allowed Notifications list, your friend will receive a notification that informs them of your status.
The Home Screen option allows you to toggle on/off the Hide Notification Badges option, which displays notification badges for Home Screen apps and will no longer do so if you toggle the option to On.
The Lock Screen option does the same thing, except its only deals with notifications that are received on the Lock Screen.
The Turn on Automatically option allows you to set up a time period for when Focus automatically turns on and when it automatically turns off again.
Lastly, +Add Schedule or Automation is a semi-geofencing option that will automatically turn on Focus mode when you arrive at work or when you open a certain app. Let’s say you add Apple Books to the automation. Whenever you open Apple Books, Focus turns on automatically until you close the app.
Smart Activation is a setting that you can turn on if you want the entire process that you set up to be automated. That means the moon will show up on your Home Screen and with all of your set contacts whenever you engage in any activity that you set up underneath this broad umbrella.
Smart Activation is essentially the entire Settings option under the Focus menu, and it allows you to set up an automated system for geofencing, app usage, time periods throughout the day, or other activities that your iPhone can track, such as when you start your morning run.
Personal Focus is an option under the Focus menu that allows you to get specific with your entire contacts list.
- Go to Settings
- Select Focus
- Select Personal
- Fill in the Allowed People box with your choice of contacts
- Select Other People
- Select Allow or Allow None
Work Focus is exactly the same as Personal Focus, in terms of setup and the aesthetics of the menu. Under Work Focus, you will be able to select your Personal, Allowed People, Other People, and Allow or Allow None.
Share Across Devices
This is an option at the bottom of the menu that you open when you select Focus. What this means is that your Focus settings will be shared across all of your Apple devices that are connected.
If you use an iPad and your iPhone interchangeably, and they are linked on the same network, then your Focus settings will be shared between the two devices. That includes all Apple devices on your network, such as your Apple Watch, iPad, iPhones, Mac, Macbooks, and more.
Sharing across devices is easy to do and easy to turn off if you don’t want to use it. It can be aggravating if you accidentally leave it on and you’re waiting on a conference call while those on the other end are getting Focus messages to show that you are unavailable.
Apple didn’t design Focus to be incredibly obvious with its current status across an array of devices. If you don’t want it to come on for other devices, such as your work computer, you can turn it off when you initially set everything up on one device.
For instance, when you break down all of the settings and set up the automated Focus periods on your iPhone, simply toggle off the Share Across Devices option and the setup will only apply to your iPhone.
Ultimately, the Focus option is a much broader setting than just focusing on a single contact, even though you can use it for a single contact only. Apple’s recent firmware upgrades have expressed a major push towards personalizing who, what, when, where, and why you deal with iPhone notifications.