How to Use iOS 17 StandBy Mode in iPhone Sleep Mode & Other Focus Modes

What to Know

  • Any Focus mode that disables the Always-On display will cause the StandBy screen to turn off automatically after a while.
  • You can disable the StandBy setting that automatically turns the display off to always keep the screen on.

StandBy mode is a feature in iOS 17 and later that is sometimes called nightstand mode. It will turn off automatically unless you have an iPhone with an Always-On display. Even if your Always-On display is toggled on, using Focus modes such as Sleep Focus will turn the StandBy mode screen off automatically. However, as long as you have Always-On display toggled on, you can adjust a single StandBy setting to make sure your screen never turns off.

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Why is StandBy Mode Not Working with Some Focus Modes?

First of all, StandBy can only stay on permanently if you have an iPhone that has an Always-On display, so if you don’t see the Always-On display option in your Display & Brightness, you won’t be able to keep StandBy on the entire time. Personally, I prefer having to tap it to see it anyway!

There are several reasons why you might be experiencing iOS 17 StandBy not working with certain Focus modes. There are Focus mode and StandBy settings that turn your display off automatically. By default, Sleep Focus mode disables the Always-On display, automatically turning off your iPhone display.

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StandBy mode has a Night mode that can be enabled to show your StandBy display in red and black to make it easier to see in low light. It prevents your phone from lighting up the entire room and hurting your eyes. Night mode can be disabled to keep your StandBy display bright around the clock if you prefer. You will also have to set your Turn Display Off setting to Never so that you can still see the display with the Sleep Focus on.

If you do like using Night mode, you may want to toggle on Motion To Wake. This turns your StandBy display on automatically when your iPhone detects nearby movement. Without Motion To Wake toggled on, you’ll have to tap your iPhone’s display to see StandBy mode. To discover more useful iPhone features, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

How to Use StandBy Mode (iOS 17 and Later) with All Focus Modes

Here’s how to adjust your iPhone StandBy Mode settings to keep the display from turning off automatically even while using the Sleep Focus Mode. If you’ve disabled the Always-On display in a specific Focus Mode, you’ll have to remove it before tweaking your StandBy settings.

  1. Open Settings.

    Open Settings.
  2. Tap StandBy.

    Tap StandBy.
  3. Tap Display.

    Tap Display.
  4. Under Turn Display Off, tap Never.

    Under Turn Display Off, tap Never.


Setting Turn Display Off to Never also turns off Night mode. You can only use Night mode if you select Automatically or After 20 Seconds under Turn Display Off. If you like to use Night mode alongside Sleep Focus mode, you’ll have to put up with the display turning off automatically (or after 20 seconds) if you wish to use Night mode on StandBy. If you select After 20 Seconds, it will automatically disable Motion To Wake.

Now you know how to edit StandBy Mode on iPhones simultaneously using Focus Modes, including Sleep Focus, so that the StandBy display stays on. Next, learn other ways to troubleshoot StandBy Mode not working on your iPhone!


  • How to turn on StandBy mode? StandBy mode is on by default on iPhones running iOS 17 or later. If you’ve turned it off, you can toggle StandBy back on in the StandBy settings.
  • How to activate StandBy mode? StandBy mode will automatically activate when you plug in or place your locked iPhone on a charger and set it down horizontally at a slight angle of around 30 degrees. 
  • Can StandBy Mode be always on? Yes, as long as you have an iPhone that supports the Always-On display feature.
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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life. In the last 10 years, she has been published in dozens of publications internationally and won an excellence award. Since joining iPhone Life in 2020, she has written how-to articles as well as complex guides about Apple products, software, and apps. Olena grew up using Macs and exploring all the latest tech. Her Maui home is the epitome of an Apple ecosystem, full of compatible smart gear to boot. Olena’s favorite device is the Apple Watch Ultra because it can survive all her adventures and travels, and even her furbabies.