How to Manage Notifications on the iPhone

Customize push notifications to balance alerts for maximum usefulness

What to Know

  • Choose when you see push notifications: Go to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews. Select Always, When Unlocked, or Never.
  • Manage individual apps: Go to Settings > Notifications and tap the app. Toggle Allow Notifications on/off and pick alert style options.
  • Government alerts: At the bottom of the Notifications screen, toggle AMBER Alerts, Emergency Alerts, and Public Safety Alerts on or off.

This article explains how to manage push notifications on your iOS device. Push notifications are alerts from apps signaling something you need to pay attention to. You may want to see all your alerts, or you may prefer to minimize interruptions from some apps. Instructions here cover devices with iOS 11 or later.

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.

    Settings app and Notifications heading on an iPhone
  3. Tap Show Previews and choose when you want notifications to appear.

    • Always: Receive alerts when the phone is locked or unlocked.
    • When Unlocked: Alerts don't appear on the Lock Screen. Chose this option to minimize interruptions or maintain privacy.
    • Never: Alerts never show up on the phone.
    Show Previews setting and options on an iPhone
  4. In the Notifications settings, tap an 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.

  5. In the Alerts section (in iOS 12), select the alert types you want to use. A checkmark appears next to the ones that are active.

    • Lock Screen: Alerts appear when the phone is locked.
    • Notification Center: Alerts go to the Notification Center, which you can view on the Lock Screen or by swiping down from the top of the screen.
    • Banners: Alerts appear when the phone is unlocked.
    Allow Notification switch and Alerts heading on an iPhone
  6. Tap Banner Style (in iOS 11, tap Show as Banners) 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.
    Banner Style setting and options on an iPhone
  7. There are other Notification settings that can be modified:

    • Turn on the Sounds toggle switch so that the iPhone makes noise when there's a notification from this app. If the iPhone is muted or set to Silent Mode, you won't hear the sounds from any notifications apart from AMBER, Emergency, and Public Safety alerts (if these are active).
    • Turn on the Badges toggle switch to display a red number on the app icon when it has notifications.
    • Tap Show Previews 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.
    • Enable Show History to view previous notifications from this app in Notification Center. This option isn't available in iOS 12.
    • In iOS 12, choose Notification Grouping to group notifications automatically, by app, or not at all.
    Sounds, Badges, Show Previews, and Notification Grouping in Notifications settings on an iPhone
  8. 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 Notifications screen, there are several toggle switches that control 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.
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