Keep Up to Date By Using Notification Center on iPhone

Centralize alerts and widgets in one easy-to-use overview

The iOS Notification Center keeps you up to date on what's happening in your day and on your iPhone and lets apps send you messages when they have relevant information. Notification Center is also the place to find push notifications such as text messages, alerts about new voicemails, reminders of upcoming events, invitations to play games, and — depending on the apps that are installed — breaking news, sports scores, and discount coupons.

Notification Center has been around in one form or another since iOS 5, but recent versions have undergone big changes.

The information in this article applies to iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices with iOS 12 or iOS 11.

Access the iOS Notification Center

To access Notification Center from anywhere on the iPhone (such as the Home screen or from within any app), swipe down from the upper-left corner of the iPhone screen.

To hide the Notification Center, swipe from the bottom of the screen to the top. Or, tap the Home button (if your iPhone has one) when Notification Center is open.

Swipe directions to open and close iOS' Notification Center

Manage Notifications in Notification Center

Notifications are grouped by app, and when there is more than one notification for an app, these notifications are stacked together. To expand a stack of notifications, tap it. When you are through reading, collapse the stack by tapping Show less or delete the entire stack from Notification Center by tapping the X.

Manage individual notifications by swiping right to left to reveal three options:

  • Manage: Opens a settings screen for the app and a link to settings.
  • View: Opens the link, story, or related post.
  • Clear: Removes the notification from the Notification Center.

Swipe left to right on an app notification to open the app.

iOS Notification Center with the options highlighted

Choose What Appears in Notification Center

Control which alerts appear in Notification Center with push notification settings. Configure these settings on an app-by-app basis to determine which apps send you alerts and specify the style of alerts.

  1. Go to Settings and tap Notifications.

  2. Tap Show Previews.

  3. Select Always, When Unlocked, or Never, then tap Back to return to the Notifications screen.

    Choosing Notification previews preferences in iOS
  4. Tap one of the apps in the list.

  5. Turn on the Allow Notifications toggle switch.

  6. Tap the circle beneath Notification Center to check it to push notifications from the app to the Notification Center. Optionally, select Lock Screen to display notifications on the lock screen and select Banner to display notifications at the top of the screen.

    Notifications screen for an app in iOS Settings
  7. Repeat this process for each app you want to post to Notification Center.

Change Widgets in iPhone Notification Center Today View

There's a second, useful screen that is part of the Notification Center. It's called the Today view, and it contains widgets. Many third-party apps and iOS-native apps support widgets. You may have apps with widgets that are included in this screen, or that could be.

Widgets are miniature versions of apps that provide information and limited functionality from the app. Widgets provide information and activity options without having to go to the app.

To open and edit the Today view to see these widgets and make changes:

  1. Open the Notification Center. Pull down from the upper-left corner of the screen.

  2. Swipe from left to right in any area that isn't a notification to open the Today view.

    You can also open the Today view by swiping right on the Home screen.

    Swiping on Notification Center to open Today view
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the Today view and tap Edit to adjust which apps are visible.

  4. In the list of widgets available on the iPhone, tap the red button next to each widget you want to remove from the Today screen. Drag the three-line handle next to a widget to reorder the list.

  5. Scroll down to the More Widgets section, which contains widgets that are available but not activated in the Today screen. Tap the green button with a plus sign next to any widget you want to activate.

    Notification Center on iOS with the Edit and Add Widget buttons highlighted

Get More Widgets

Widgets are part of apps that support them; not standalone mini-apps. To download more widgets, download the associated app. Go to the App Store and search for widgets for iPhone to display a list of apps with widgets. Or, search for apps you hope have widgets. If they do, that information is listed in the features of the app preview.