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Focus — Screen-Free Driving

By Kevin Holesh

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Train yourself to not use your phone while driving. There is absolutely no excuse for looking at your phone screen while you’re behind the wheel of a car. Focus will keep you in check.

Focus automatically starts up when you’re driving your car. If you pick up your phone and look at the screen, you’ll be gently reminded to put it down and focus on the road. If you’re stubborn and keep using your phone, Focus might get angry.

And you don’t want to make Focus angry…

What the app does
• Discourages you from using your phone whilst you’re driving.
• Sends an email report card for each trip to anyone you choose. Parents: are you listening? You get an email report summarizing exactly when your kids were using their phone while driving, and for how long, and how fast they were going. Keep them safe out there.
• Sends you a summary notification when you stop letting you know how you did on that trip.
• Remains completely invisible. Install it on your phone, set it up, and let it do its thing. It will run silently in the background.
• Automatically detects when you start driving. No “Start trip” and “End trip” buttons here.
• Engages passenger mode. If you’re not driving and you start to hear Focus remind you to put your phone down, give your phone a good shake. This will make Focus be quiet and mark it as “I wasn’t driving” for that trip.
• City folk: Stop yourself from using your phone while you’re walking too. Keep you eyes up crossing the street.

What the app doesn’t do
• Doesn’t block any phone functionality. There are always ways around that. The goal isn’t to make it harder to use your phone while you’re driving; it’s to make you want to not use your phone at all.

What about phone calls?
Focus is designed to discourage you from looking at your screen while driving. Talking on a phone call isn’t great either, but calls don’t count against you inside the app. The time you spend on phone calls while driving is tracked too, in case you’re curious.

Does using my GPS app count?
If you’re looking at your phone screen with the map displayed, yes. It doesn’t matter if you’re texting or trying to decipher a map of where you’re going; your eyes are still on your phone instead of the road.

The best thing to do is set up your directions before you pull out of your driveway and listen to Siri’s voice instructions. They’ll get you to your destination safely and your eyes can remain on the road.

What about using my phone at a red light?
Being stopped in traffic or at a red light is no excuse to be on your phone. You’re still behind the wheel of your car and should be paying attention to your surroundings. If you’re stopped at a light, Focus will keep reminding you to put down your phone.

Besides, how often does answering a text fit perfectly into the 27 seconds you’re stopped at a light? Never. You always start typing, the light turns green, and you hit the gas pedal and hurtle through the intersection while you keep typing away.

Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life. Focus has been designed to use GPS sparingly.

Stay safe,
~Kevin Holesh

Note to iPhone 4s and iPhone 5 owners: Focus might take a mile or so of driving to detect that you’ve actually started driving. Every other iPhone takes about 50 feet.

What's New in Version 1.2

Focus is now free to try! You can unlock all of the features with a single in-app purchase of the pro features.

The free version lets you track how much you use your phone while driving.

The pro features are all about training yourself not to use your phone while driving:

• Voiceovers encourage you to put down your phone while driving. If you're stubborn and keep using your phone, Focus will get a bit angry. And you don't want to make Focus angry!
• Email report cards: Get an automatic email summarizing exactly when you (or your kids) were using your phone while driving, for how long, and how fast you were going while you were distracted. Hold yourself accountable to someone who loves you.
• Get a notification when you stop driving to let you know how you did on that trip. No need to open the Focus app to check.

Note: If you've previously purchased the app, you'll have the pro features unlocked automatically. You do not have to pay twice.

iPhone Screenshots

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Customer Reviews


This app is annoying AF. If your phone is not locked it will think you're driving. Even if I set the phone down while driving it yells at me. It would be great if it could either ask you beforehand or tell the difference between driving and being a passenger. I've gotten into ubers and friends cars and the app just starts screaming at me. No thanks, waste of money.

Works as described, but hogs battery

This app works as described and is great at encouraging you not to use your phone while driving. My biggest complaint is that it is a major battery hog whether you spend time driving or not. It burns up my battery too fast for me to be able to keep it installed and phone is unusable. (iPhone 6 iOS 9)

Needs a whitelist

I really like the idea of the app, and would also like to have a whitelist added where certain apps can be on like Navigation or phone calls. This may not be possible due to sandboxing, but there may be some possibilities.

Focus — Screen-Free Driving
View in iTunes
  • Free
  • Category: Lifestyle
  • Updated:
  • Version: 1.2
  • Size: 18.6 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular, 12.9-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular, and 9.7-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular.

Customer Ratings

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Top In-App Purchases

  1. Pro Features$4.99