Google’s new wellness feature called ‘Focus Mode’ wants to help users avoid the scourge of distracting push notifications.
Focus Mode, now available for users with Android 10 or Android Pie, allows users to take advantage of several tools that encourage them to engage in healthier habits with their mobile device.
Among them is an app-timer that limits the amount of time one can spend on any given app and a ‘wind-down’ mode that helps set a schedule for putting one’s phone down before bed.
One of Focus’ key capabilities, however, is the ability to pause apps en masse that may distract them.
Users on Android 10 or Pie can now upon up Focus and choose the most distracting apps they wish to ‘pause.’ Once paused, users won’t be distracted by incoming alerts.
Focus can be turned on through the device settings menu by selecting ‘Digital Wellbeing & parental controls’ and then navigating to ‘Focus mode.’
Once there, users can manually select the apps they wish to control with the feature which allows them to customize Focus Mode based on their preference.
For example, someone looking to use Focus Mode to unplug from work can list career-related apps like Gmail and Slack and then toggle them off in one fell swoop when they check out.
Even more granular time and date features allow users to automatically switch Focus Mode on and off at certain hours and days of the week so they don’t have to always manually engage the feature.
Unlike other digital well-being apps, Focus Mode doesn’t completely lock users out of apps, meaning it still requires some degree of willpower from anyone using it.
After a beta period, Android has even opted to include a feature that allows users to to take a break from the mode for predetermined periods of time – between 5 and 30 minutes.
Ultimately, tools like Focus Mode and other other app-limiting features may help to better users’ mental health, especially that of younger users.
Overuse of social media in particular has been linked through multiple studies to an increase in anxiety and depression in teens.