How to Configure Push Notifications on iPhone

push notifications on iphone
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Last Updated: Nov. 3, 2015

What Are Push Notifications?

There's no need to check your apps to see if there's something in them that you need to pay attention to. These days, apps are smart enough to let you know when there's something you need to check out. These alerts, called push notifications, can show up as badges on app icons, as sounds, or as messages that pop up on your iOS device's home or lock screens.

This article explains how to configure and use them.

Push Notification Requirements

In order to use push notifications, you'll need:

  • An iPhone or iPod touch (technically it needs to be running iOS 3.0 or higher, but that's almost everyone in the world these days)
  • Apps that support push notifications
  • A web connection (3G/4G or Wi-Fi)

While push works on mosts versions of the iOS, this tutorial assumes you're running iOS 9.

How to Configure Push Notifications

You don't need to enable push notifications. They're enabled by default as part of the iOS. All you need to do is 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 push. Settings for each app are managed separately, so find an app you want to configure and tap it
  1. The first option is to Allow Notifications from this app. If you want notifications, move the slider to On/green, if not move it to Off/white and go on to another app
  2. The next option is to determine if notifications from the app will Show in Notification Center (more on what that is at the end of this article). Move the slider to On/green, if you want that. In earlier versions of the iOS, you could control how many notifications from the app would appear in Notification Center, but not in iOS 9
  1. In the Sounds menu, choose whether your iPhone will make noise when you have a notification from this app. Move the slider to On/green if you want that
  2. For the built-in apps that come with the iPhone, you can also select the ringtone or alert tone that plays when you get notifications. Tap the Sounds menu and make your selection. Tap the menu in the top right corner to return to the previous screen
  3. The Badge App Icon setting determines whether a red number appears on the app icon when it has notifications for you. This can be helpful to see what needs attention. Move the slider to On/green to use it or to Off/white to disable it
  4. 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
  5. In the Alert Style When Unlocked box, you control the look of notification alerts when your phone is not locked. Tap the one you prefer:
    1. None—pretty self-explanatory. You won't see any notifications
    2. Banners—short messages at the top of your screen that disappear after a few seconds
    3. Alerts—pop up windows in the center of the screen that you need to interact with to dismiss.

    With those choices made, push notifications are configured for that app. Repeat the process for any other app whose notifications you want to customize.

    Controlling AMBER and Emergency Alert Notifications

    At the bottom of the Notifications screen, there are two other sliders that allow you to 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.

    How to Turn Off Emergency and AMBER Alerts on iPhone

    Using Notification Center

    Notification alerts don't just appear on your home and lock screens.

    Depending on the settings you choose, they can also appear in their own dedicated area of the iPhone: Notification Center.

    Learn all about Notification Center.

    Notification Center Widgets

    In iOS 8 and above, Notification Center lets you embed mini-apps to provide immediate functionality without opening an app, directly from the pull-down window.

    Learn how to Install & Use Notification Center Widgets.


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