It’s true iOS isn’t as customizable as Android, but the gap is much narrower than it used to be. These days, your can personalize your iPhone’s Lock Screen, change your app icons to anything you like, and even add a digital pet to the Dynamic Island. If you’re in the market for yet another iPhone customization hack, here’s an odd one: You can add an emoji to your iPhone’s menu bar, right next to the clock.
For this trick, we’re going to exploit a loophole in Apple’s “Focus” feature, as illustrated here by TikTok creator techhackguy. As you may already know, Focus allows you to create custom “Do Not Disturb” modes that block specific apps and notifications at different points in your day. For example, you can make a Work Focus that blocks incoming notifications from non-work apps or contacts and removes Home Screen pages containing any app you won’t need during business hours.
One fun feature is the ability to assign an emoji to each Focus. You can use a bed emoji for a Sleep Focus, a briefcase for a Work Focus, a smiley for Personal Focus, etc. This emoji pops up in the top-left corner of your iPhone’s display, so you know when your iPhone is currently in a Focus, and which Focus it’s in.
Here’s the thing: You can set up a Focus that doesn’t block any notifications or apps, and in fact does nothing else but put a cute little emoji at the top of your screen next to the clock. It’s a totally meaningless hack, other than it might bring you some small measure of joy, which isn’t nothing.
How to add a custom emoji to your iPhone using Focus
To set up your own emoji, open Settings > Focus and hit the (+) in the top right, then choose “Custom.” Give your Focus a name and a color (which won’t affect the emoji in the corner), and it’s time to choose the emoji. Unfortunately, you don’t have the option to run with any emoji you’d like. You’ll need to choose from one of 47 options Apple provides here—a fairly decent variety. Tap whichever one you’d like to see at the top of your screen, then hit “Next.”
Tap “Customize Focus,” and…that’s it! To trigger the emoji, head to Control Center, then long-press the Focus box. Select your new Focus, and you’ll see your emoji pop up beside your clock. At this point, the Focus isn’t blocking and notifications or apps, so you’re good to continue using your device as normal. (Of course, if you do want to set up a Focus to block various apps or notifications, we have a full walkthrough for that process here.)
By default, Focuses sync across all compatible Apple devices, so you will see this emoji on your connected iPad and Mac as well. If you like that, great! If not, you can disable “Share Across Devices” on the main Focus settings page. Just know by doing this, your other devices won’t automatically launch this or any other of your iPhone’s Focus modes until you reenable sharing. You might also want to disable the Focus Status for this emoji Focus, as well. Otherwise, it’ll tell your friends you have notifications silenced, even when you don’t.
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