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Use Focus Filters to Split Emails between Work + Home

2nd September 2022

Jacob Woolcock


| Mail

With iOS 16 you can now set up Focus Filters to really fine-tune what content you see on your iPhone and when. For instance, you can now set up your work email, calendars and messages to ONLY appear when your Work Focus Mode is turned on, and your personal content appear when you get home. That’s almost like having two iPhones in one! Here’s a simple-to-follow guide explaining how to get this awesome new Focus feature set up on your iOS 16 devices.

Focus modes in iOS 16 have had a significant upgrade, and a particular feature I love is called focus filters. This is how it works: I’m going to demonstrate focus filters with my email app, but you’ll find it works on many apps on your device. Now, at the moment in my emails, I’ve got two different inboxes, one for my work emails and one for my personal emails. Normally, I look at them all in the unified inbox like this. Now, that displays all my emails in one inbox and, to be honest, when I’m at home, I don’t want my work emails, and when I’m at work, I don’t want my home emails.

Well, focus modes can basically change this so that the email app only shows the right mailbox at the right time.

Let’s jump into settings, and from here, we’re going to tap onto Focus. Then, you’re going to choose the first focus mode you want to add a filter to. I’ll go for the Work Focus, and then as I scroll down, there’s a new section called Focus Filters. We’re going to add a new filter, and here you’ll see the apps that support it on your device. The longer iOS 16 is released for, the more apps you’ll see here.

I’m going to go into Mail first of all, and then I can tap and choose which mailbox I want to use in this focus mode. It will hide all the other ones for me (even their notifications). When I’m happy, I can add this filter and then I can go back and do the same on my Personal Focus Mode. On this one, when I go down to add a new filter for Mail, obviously, I’ll choose my Personal inbox – not the work one.

Okay, now that’s done, let’s come out of the Focus settings completely and then we’ll change our focus mode itself. If I pull down from Control Center, I can manually enable Work Focus Mode – and now you’ll notice my email badge has got less because it’s not showing all my emails anymore. And when I tap onto Mail, the only messages I see are the ones from my Work mailbox. If I then switch to Personal Focus, the email inbox will change, and it will just show my personal emails. Again, the icon on the badge will reflect this as well.

This is such a powerful add-on to focus on your iPhone. You can now essentially have a whole different iPhone with a different wallpaper, a different lock screen, a different home app layout, and different content in the apps itself. It’s literally like having two devices in one, and I can’t wait to see what other apps support focus filters this year.

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