How to Manage Notifications on the iPhone

Customize push notifications to balance these alerts for maximum usefulness

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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. With 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 appear on the iOS device Home or Lock screens.

Instructions in this article apply to iOS 12 and iOS 11.

How to Manage Push Notifications on iPhone

Push notifications are enabled by default as part of the iOS. Choose which apps you want to get notifications from and what type of alerts they send.

  1. Tap the Settings app to open it.

  2. Tap Notifications to display the apps installed on the phone that support notifications.

  3. Tap Show Previews and choose Always, When Unlocked (so that notifications don't appear on the Lock screen to protect your privacy), or Never.

    Show Previews is a global setting that controls what content shows up in notifications on the Home or Lock screens. Set this as a default, then change individual app settings afterward.

  4. Tap the app whose notification settings you want to change, then turn on the ​​Allow Notifications toggle switch to reveal notification options for the app.

    If you don't want to see push notifications from the app, turn off the ​​Allow Notifications toggle switch.

    iPhone settings screenshot
    iPhone notifications screenshot
    iPhone app store settings screenshot
  5. In the Alerts section (in iOS 12), select the alert types you want to use. Choose to display alerts on the Lock screen, Notification center, banners, or any combination of these.

  6. Tap Banner Style (called Show as Banners in iOS 11) to set how long notifications appear on the screen. Then, tap an option:

    • Temporary: These notifications appear for a short time, then automatically disappear.
    • Persistent: These notifications stay on the screen until you tap or dismiss them.
  7. Turn on the Sounds toggle switch so that the iPhone makes noise when there's a notification from this app.

    In earlier versions of iOS, you could choose a ringtone or alert tone. In iOS 12, all alerts use the same tone.

  8. Turn on the Badges toggle switch to display a red number on the app icon when it has notifications. It can be helpful to see what needs attention.

  9. Tap Show Previews (called Show in Lockscreen in iOS 11) to control whether notifications display on the phone screen when it's locked. Use this setting for things that need immediate attention, such as voicemail messages and calendar events, and disable it for personal or sensitive information.

  10. Enable Show History to view previous notifications from this app in Notification Center. This option was removed in iOS 12.

  11. In iOS 12, choose Notification Grouping to group notifications automatically, by app, or not at all.

Repeat the process for each app's notification permissions. Not all apps have the same options. Some have fewer. A few apps, especially some that come with the iPhone such as Calendar and Mail, have more. Experiment with the settings until the notifications are configured the way you want.

Manage AMBER and Emergency Alert Notifications on iPhone

At the bottom of the main Notifications screen, you'll find several toggle switches that control your alert preferences:

  • AMBER Alerts: Alerts issued by law enforcement during child abductions and related emergencies.
  • Emergency Alerts: Alerts related to severe weather or other major safety-related events.
  • Public Safety Alerts: New in iOS 12, this option triggers when local authorities identify an imminent risk to life or property.

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