How to Manage Notifications on the iPhone

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You don't have to open an app to see if there's something that you need to pay attention to. Thanks to push notifications, apps are smart enough to let you know when you should check them out. These alerts show up as badges on app icons, as sounds, or as messages that pop up on your iOS device's home or lock screens. Read on to learn how to make the most use of them.

Push Notification Requirements

In order to use push notifications, you need:

  • An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (technically it needs to be running iOS 3.0 or higher, but that's everyone in the world these days).
  • Apps that support push notifications, including those that come pre-loaded on the device.
  • To be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.

While push works on most versions of the iOS, this tutorial assumes you're running iOS 11.

How to Manage Push Notifications on iPhone

Push notifications are enabled by default as part of the iOS. You just need to choose which apps you want to get notifications from and what type of alerts they send. Here's how to do that:

  1. Tap the Settings app to open it.

  2. Tap Notifications.

  3. On this screen, you'll see all the apps installed on your phone that support notifications.

  4. Show Previews is a global setting that controls what content shows up in notifications on your home or lock screens. You can set this as a default, then change individual app settings afterward. Tap this and choose Always, When Unlocked (so that no notification text appears on your lockscreen to protect your privacy), or Never.

  5. Next, tap on an app whose notification settings you want to change. The first option is to ​​Allow Notifications from this app. Move the slider to On/green to reveal other notification options or move it to Off/white and go on to another app.

  6. Sounds controls whether your iPhone makes noise when you have a notification from this app. Move the slider to On/green if you want that. Earlier versions of the iOS allowed you to choose a ringtone or alert tone, but now all alerts use the same tone.

  7. The Badge App Icon setting determines whether a red number appears on the app icon when it has notifications for you. It can be helpful to see what needs attention. Move the slider to On/green to use it or to Off/white to disable it.

  8. The Show in Lock Screen option lets you control whether notifications display on your phone's screen even when it's locked. You may want this for things that need immediate attention, such as voicemail messages and calendar events, but may want to disable it for more personal or sensitive information.

  9. If you enable Show History, you will be able to view previous notifications from this app in Notification Center. More on what that is at the end of this article.

  10. The Show as Banners setting determines how long notifications appear on your screen. Enable the setting and then tap the option you prefer:

    Temporary: These notifications appear for a short time and then automatically disappear.

    Persistent: These notifications stay on the screen until you tap them or dismiss them.

  11. Lastly, you can override the global Show Previews ​setting from step 4 by tapping this menu and making a selection.

With those choices made, push notifications are configured for that app. Repeat the process for all apps whose notifications you want to customize. Not all apps will have the same options. Some will have fewer. A few apps, especially some that come with the iPhone like Calendar and Mail, will have more. Experiment with those settings until you get the notifications you want.

Managing AMBER and Emergency Alert Notifications on iPhone

At the bottom of the main Notifications screen, there are two other sliders control your alert preferences:

  • AMBER Alerts: These are alerts issued by law enforcement during child abductions and related emergencies.
  • Emergency Alerts: Alerts related to severe weather or other major safety-related events.

You can control these alerts, too. Here's how to turn off emergency and AMBER alerts on the iPhone.

How to Use Notification Center on iPhone

This article taught you how to manage your notification settings, but not really how to use them. Notifications appear in a feature called Notification Center. Here's how to keep up to date by using Notification Center on iPhone.

Besides just showing notifications, Notification Center lets you embed mini-apps to provide immediate functionality without opening an app, directly from the pull-down window. Here's how to install and use Notification Center widgets.