What keeps me up at night is trying to understand Apple’s updated sleep options that interact with Health and Focus in iOS/iPadOS 16 and watchOS 9, with some elements affecting macOS as well. This new relationship between functions should not cause insomnia once you know how they interact.
Apple previously offered a way to set consistent bedtime and wake time in the Alarm app and a Sleep mode in Focus. Now they are more closely linked and use the Health app in iOS as a support point instead of the Alarm app. Health is the only place where you can configure details of your intent to sleep for certain hours, but you can enable or disable the sleep focus status from any of your devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Watch) that are signed in to the same iCloud account as you have set Focus to sync your statuses. (With a watch, your mode will always sync with the paired iPhone.)
To split this between apps:
Health app (iOS only): Set your bedtime and wake up time as one or more schedules.
Alarm: Customize your The next scheduled alarm or make a change that you apply to the entire schedule that the alarm is part of.
Focus: Schedule the Sleep Focus to turn on automatically during your scheduled sleep periods.
Let’s delve into each of these apps’ relationship with Sleep.
Set a schedule in Health
Instead of setting the time you want to go to bed and the duration of your sleep in Alarm, use the Health app on an iPhone:
Press To leaf through button in the lower right corner of the Health app.
Swipe to the . to find sleep item under the Health Categories list and tap it.
Tap Scheme to enable, or tap To add if a scheduled item already appears.
Select the start and stop times you want to be in bed. Optionally tap Alarmand set sound, haptics, volume and snooze.
Tap To add.
Depending on your sleep plans, you may want to have different schedules for days of the week, weekdays, and weekends, or for other purposes. You may have to get up exceptionally early on Tuesdays or be able to sleep in until noon on Thursdays and Saturdays.
With just an iPhone, Apple automatically tracks a certain behavior based on your interactions with your phone, such as picking it up and unlocking it. With an Apple Watch, Apple tracks movement, heart rate, breathing, sound, and other characteristics, depending on your phone model and other settings. You can view the sleep analysis in the sleep view of the Health app.
Manage the alarm
In the Alarm app, you can see the upcoming alarm set by the schedule in Health under “Sleep | Wake Up”. The app shows the time, when it occurs (like Tomorrow Morning), and offers a Change button. Tap it and you can adjust Bedtime and Wake Up settings, turn off the alarm, and change alarm sounds and actions.
After making changes, tap Done. Alarm asks you if you want to change Only the next alarm, then the changes revert to the health schedule; or Change this schedule, in which case your changes will be applied to the schedule in Health. If you turn off the alarm and tap Change this schedule, it removes the schedule from Health. You can also tap Cancel.
Control your sleep focus
All Focus modes allow you to control overrides. Sleep mode is linked to Health for tracking your sleep, so you may want to ditch a Do Not Disturb mode you’ve been using and replace it with a Sleep mode to better understand your nighttime behavior. (If you sleep well and wake up refreshed, maybe not!) You can set overrides from people and apps and add filters.
Unfortunately, if you want to use a Health Schedule to automatically turn on your Sleep Focus, you’ll need to take a trip to the Health app! Just tap “Health App” in sleep focus as a quick shortcut. In the schedule view in Health, you can enable Use schedule for sleep focus, which applies to all schedules.
You can also manually enable sleep mode from any device. As noted earlier, turning sleep mode on or off in Focus on your iPhone or Watch will automatically activate or disable it on the paired device. Other hardware requires Share Across Devices to be enabled. In iOS/iPadOS, go to Settings > Focus. In macOS 12 Monterey or earlier, go to System Preferences > Notifications and focus > Focus. In macOS 13 Ventura, go to System settings > Focus.