Let's face it, sometimes you just need to focus online. Circle lets you easily cut out distractions with the Focus Time feature. Note: Focus Time is currently only available as a Beta feature for the Circle Parental Controls iOS app. This feature is not available for Circle 1st generation.
What's Focus Time?
Focus Times allow you to set up customized times during the day when only certain Apps or Categories of sites are allowed and all other Apps and Categories are filtered by Circle.
What's an example of using Focus Time?
Let's say you want to make sure Johnny is doing his homework. He needs to use Wikipedia and his email to do so. While he works on homework, he likes to listen to Spotify. Normally, Johnny might get a little distracted with some online games, but with Focus Time all his online games like Roblox or Minecraft are blocked.
Using Focus Time you set up a time each weekday around 3-5 pm where only the Education and Email categories are allowed, along with Wikipedia and Spotify. Johnny gets to spend as much time on those sites as he wants to do homework, that time gets tracked in his Usage, and no other sites will load on his devices during the specific time.
Note: apps, websites, or categories not selected when you set up a Focus Time will not load during that time period.
What should I know about Focus Times?
- Focus Times are meant to help your family focus while online.
Only the apps, sites, or categories of sites you add to a Focus Time will be available during that time period. All other apps and sites will be blocked during that time.
- By default, Focus Time sets school related websites as allowed.
New Focus Times you create will set the following as allowed (checked) to make sure those are available for school work: the Education, Email, Science and Technology, and Search & Reference categories, along with the Google Drive and Zoom apps.
- You can add any number of apps, sites, or categories to a Focus time to allow them during that time period.
To add those, edit the Focus Time for your profile and add them to the Focus Time list.
- Apps or sites used during a Focus Time will appear in Usage as "Focus Time".
These sites won't count again any Time Limits for the profile. You can see which sites were loaded during the Focus Time from the profile's Usage section.
How do I set up a Focus Time?
You can set up a Focus Time from within the Off Times feature.
- Open the Circle app and tap on the profile you want to add a Focus Time for.
- Tap Off Times.
- Create an Off Time by tapping "Get Started" or tap on a previously set Off Time to copy that.
- Set up your Off Time, days, start and end time, then tap the toggle to enable Focus Time.
- Tap "Add more apps & websites" to add more apps or categories for the Focus Time.
How do I add other apps or categories to a Focus Time?
By default, a new Focus Time will set the following as allowed (checked) to make sure those are available for school work: the Education, Email, Science and Technology, and Search & Reference categories, along with the Google Drive and Zoom apps.
You can add other apps or categories to the Focus Time to make sure they are available during that time period. To do so, edit the Focus Time and then tap on "Add more apps & websites".
Under each tab, we list Apps, Categories of sites, or the Custom Sites for your Focus Time. Find an app to add by searching for it, then tap the + button to add that to the Focus Time list of allowed sites. During the Focus Time any checked apps, categories of sites, or custom sites will be allowed and all others will be blocked.
How do I edit a Focus Time?
You can edit any current Focus Time from the profile screen.
- Open the Circle app and tap on the profile you want to edit a Focus Time for.
- Tap Off Times.
- Tap on the Off Time you'd like to edit.
- Make your changes and then tap "Done" to save your changes.
Note: you can disable the Focus Time for an Off Time by opening the Off Time then toggling the Focus Time feature off and tapping "Done". You can also delete the Off Time by tapping "Delete".
How do I add sites to a Focus Time from History/Usage?
You can add almost any site to your Focus Times from History or Usage. This will allow that site during the Focus Time and is helpful if you see that the site is appearing under the History >> Filtered section but should be loading during the Focus Time.
Image: adding a site like play.googleapis.com to a Focus Time
To add a site from History to your Focus Time:
- Open the Circle app and tap on the profile you want to edit.
- Tap History.
- Tap Filtered or Visited.
- Tap the site you'd like to add to your Focus Time.
- Tap "Add to Focus Time".
- Select the Focus Time you'd like that site added to.
What does Focus Time look like in Usage?
During a Focus Time only the sites you set to allowed will load for devices assigned to the profile. When these sites are loaded they will appear under the profile's Usage as the category of Focus Time so you can track what was opened during that Focus Time. To view what was used tap on the profile, tap on Usage, then tap on the arrow next to Focus Time.
Note: use of these sites during a Focus Time will not count towards the Profile's Time Limits.
Issues Loading a Site During Focus Time
If you're having trouble loading a site that should be allowed during a Focus Time, you can add those to the Focus Time to stop them from being blocked. This will make those sites always available during the Focus Time.
The History >> Filtered section of the profile will show you what sites were being blocked during a Focus Time. You can view that section by opening the Circle app, tapping the profile with this loading issue, tapping History and then on Filtered. From that section you can add sites to your profile's Focus Time by tapping them and selecting "Add to Focus Time" to make them available. You may need to add multiple sites, or add certain categories of sites to make those available.
Instructions for adding sites from History >> Filtered to a Focus Time are available above under the "How do I add sites to a Focus Time from History/Usage?" section. You can see how to add categories of sites to a Focus Time under the "How do I add other apps or categories for a Focus Time?" section above.