Using shortcuts on iPad and iPhone, you can deny yourself access to apps based on your current focus mode. I’m using this to cut down on Discord, Reddit and Instagram during the day.

It’s not full proof, as you can simply change the focus mode to load the app. However I’ve found that being dumped back at the Home Screen reminded me I should probably do some work.

Part 1 - Focus Modes

To do this, you’ll already need to be using Focus Modes. I have a focus called “Work” that mutes some notifications, changes the wallpaper on my phone and watch, and hides the majority of the pages of my home screens. We’ll be using this focus mode shortly, so remember what you’ve called it.

Part 2 - Shortcuts

Create the shortcut in the following screenshot , or download mine here. This shortcut checks the current focus mode, then runs a conditional check if it is equal to “Work”. If it’s work time, it dumps you back to Home Screen (as you can’t close apps with Shortcuts), if it’s not work time, you’re free to use the app.

You could probably take this further and use another app to count open attempts or something like that but I haven’t bothered yet.

Part 3 - Automations

To make it all work, open the Shortcuts app and find the automations tab. From here create a new automation, and look for ‘App’.

Create an automation based on the application you’re trying to control, select ‘Run Immediately’, don’t select Notify when run. Tap Next, then select your discord shortcut from Part 2 in the next step.

Once you’ve done this, try and open the app whilst the focus is active. You’ll be dumped back to your Home Screen and reminded about making better choices.