Google Focus Mode disables your most distracting apps so you can concentrate

Focus Mode is scheduled to arrive this fall on devices using Android P and Q.

Google's Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson introduced Focus Mode at Google I/O.
Screenshot by Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Google introduced a Focus Mode feature for its Android mobile operating system on Tuesday, letting you temporarily shut off apps you find most distracting so your device automatically tunes them out when you want to concentrate. 

It's coming to devices using Android P and Q this fall. 

"When I enter focus mode, I can select the apps that I find distracting," Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson, a Android senior director, said onstage at the Google I/O developers conference. "Those apps that distract me are disabled, but I can still keep texts, because it's important to me that my family can always get ahold of me -- until I come out of Focus Mode, and then everything is back."

Focus Mode follows other digital wellness features Google has added in recent years, including app timers and Wind Down, which are designed to lower how much you use your phone. Cuthbertson said Google's data shows that app timers helped users stick to their usage goals more than 90% of the time, and users of Wind Down had a 27% drop in nightly device usage. 

Google's biggest event of the year, I/O is expected to unmask details about Android Q, the next iteration of its ubiquitous mobile operating system, as well as reveal refreshed gadgets and unveil updates to popular services like its Assistant software.

But like many of the tech industry's giants, Google has been beset by controversies and revolts in the last year. Its workers have protested against Google's handling of sexual harassment allegations directed at executives, as well as its military contracts, its work in China, and its treatment of temporary workers.