When you set a focus mode on your iPhone, it will by default sync across your Mac (with Monterey or later) and other Apple devices if they are all linked to the same Apple account. If this is bothersome to you, there are two ways to turn it off. Here is how.
How “Share Across Devices” works
As of November 2021, the way Apple handles Focus mode syncing between devices is a bit confusing. Each Apple device has its own “Share Across Devices” setting in its settings or system settings. If “Share Across Devices” is deactivated on a device, it does not send its focus mode to other devices and neither does it receive any focus modes from other devices.
However, this is not an account-wide setting: The “Across Devices” setting on other Apple devices that are linked to your Apple account is not affected.
So, if you want to keep an iPhone from changing the focus mode of a Mac, you have two options. You can deactivate “Share Across Devices” on the iPhone page, which prevents the iPhone from sending this status to all of your Apple devices (including your Mac and other devices such as iPad or Apple Watch). Or you can disable “Share Across Devices” on the Mac side, which will prevent the Mac from getting the Focus Mode status from any of your Apple devices, including your iPhone. We’ll cover both scenarios below.
Prevent your iPhone’s focus mode from affecting other devices
First we will take care of deactivating “Share Across Devices” on your iPhone so that it does not transfer its focus setting to other Apple devices that are linked to your Apple account. With this turned off, you should know that other devices like an Apple Watch or an iPad won’t sync focus modes with your iPhone either.
To get started, open the Settings app by tapping the Settings gear icon on your home screen.
Select “Focus” in the settings.
Switch off “Share Across Devices” in the focus settings.
When prompted for confirmation, tap OK.
Thereafter, close Settings. The next time you set a focus mode, the status will remain on your iPhone and will not affect any other linked Apple devices.
Prevent your Mac from receiving focus events from other devices
As described above, you can also prevent your Mac (with macOS 12 Monterey or later) from receiving focus mode changes from other devices linked to your Apple account. This also helps prevent your Mac’s Focus Mode status from affecting your other Apple devices.
First, open System Preferences by clicking the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen and selecting System Preferences.
When System Preferences opens, select Notifications & Focus.
In the Notifications and Focus settings, turn off the “Share on multiple devices” option located in the lower left corner of the window.
If you are prompted to confirm the deactivation of Share Across Devices, click on “OK”.
Thereafter, close System settings. The next time you set a focus mode on your Mac, it will stay on your Mac and will not affect your other Apple devices. Likewise, your Mac does not receive focus change events from other Apple devices. Have fun focusing!