How often do you use Notification Center? [Poll]

Prior to iOS 5, Apple's iPhone and iPad notification system desperately needed updating. Since the advent of Push Notifications and background multitasking the old, outdated model alert system had become more interruption than notification, more annoyance than advantage.

The challenge was to make alerts powerful enough for advanced users while keeping them simple enough for Apple's mainstream user base. Like with folders and fast app switching, they chose to make it a hidden layer of the iPhone's interface, something that could be called up by users who know where it is, but could be just as easily ignored by users unaware or uninterested in its functionality.

And it does a pretty good job. Banners alert you to any incoming messages, far less obtrusively than the old style pop-ops (which still remain for more attention-demanding alerts like appointments and alarms). Notification Center provides you with a pull down shade listing all your recent alerts, and can do so on the Lock screen as well as in apps and on the Home screen. It also stays out of your way when you're not using it, for the most part.

But such compromise is inevitably compromised. For advanced users, there's still no quick settings access, message previews, in-app replies, or widget support beyond the built-in Weather and Stocks apps. For mainstream users, there are banners that cover their buttons and shades that drop down after inopportune swipes with long lists of messages that are difficult to dismiss. (Tiny tap targets much?)

So is it the right compromise, or just the right compromise for now? If you jailbreak is it good enough to replace IntelliscreenX or LockInfo? If you come from Android or webOS, how does it compare? If actually using Notification Center is the best way to judge the usefulness of Apple's implementation, how often do you actually find yourself using it?

Thanks: @pinhodaniel

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How often do you use Notification Center? [Poll]


All of the time. Then again, I'm a jailbroken user, I can't live without Lockinfo. The Apple's implementation of a lockscreen is not enough for me, The drop down doesn't keep all the data I desire to keep there but the they got the idea right. Needs to get perfected, bigger and wider to even consider replacing jailbreak apps.

A poor "inspiration" of Android's notification system - apps can't even fully utilize this useful space. Owned an iPod touch and iPad, and an Android. Seen it to believe it.

The Lock Screen implementation is just bad. For me that is where I need notification center. When I have been away from my phone and want to touch the home button and see what happened while away. I use LockInfo still. I tried IntelliscreenX but prefer LI.

I use it regularly; it is not perfect, but it is loads better than what came before it. Off the top of my head, my three big requests would be:
1) No global notifications on/off setting. When in a meeting (or just trying to sleep), it was good to shut off all notifications, but still leave the phone to ring. in iOS5+, you have to toggle each notification individually. Boo!
2) Settings. If Apple is never going to make their own SBSettings, the least they could do it put those toggles in an easy to access widget in Notification Center.
3) 3rd party widgets

Coming from webOS, its quite pitiful honestly. I mean it gets the job done...but very crudely comparatively to webOS. Its a huge improvement over what I had seen of iOS 4 and before, but its not quite enough yet still.

Completely agree. Having come from webOS and using Android ICS mow, I find notification center to be a marked improvement, but still a generation or two behind other platforms. Honestly with its current implementation on the iPad notifications just sit there and add up until I do some clear alls. On my phone I can swipe away individually, control apps that are running in the background without going into the app, and toggle settings. If Apple is going to steal, please go all the way with it.

Everyday- and I won't have a bad word said against it, although I like the sound of this 'lockInfo' (perhaps I should jailbreak after all)

what i really miss s a blinking notification light like i had on my pre. Granted its not a big deal. but it would be nice to have the home button blink when i missed a text or phone call. i have it set so the flash goes off but i always have my phone face down so it never is visable.

I use it constantly, but then I have IntelliScreenX installed...I barely used it at all before it was jailbroken

Since I'm also jailbroken using IntelliScreenX I'm in notification center 75% of the time. Apple's implementation is decent, however, IntelliScreenX picked up everything Apple left out.

One area that they STILL need to fix is getting text / email alerts while on the phone. They give us this system to check your notifications, but you still have to put up with the tones coming through while on a phone call. It is almost a running joke now: On the phone with someone, and you hear the infamous tri tone alert, and you want to ask them if they want to catch that txt. VERY annoying and seems like a stupidly easy fix.

im subscribed and i dont want to call you out but thats a 4. sure you could maybe get yours early but thats not too omcmon and also i dont know anywhere that sells 4s cases yet, the silent ring switch is moved down so the 4 case will not fit, sorry bud, tell the truth next time or show me the 4s box

I was pretty excited about it at first and was like yes this is awesome. But in the real world I really barely use it. I've even removed or cut down the amount of stuff that shows up because I found most of the notifications are really not important enough to worry about looking at later. The important ones like emails and texts never go away. I use it mostly now to quickly see the current temperature.

I use it but it could be better.
Swipe to clear and a clear all would be better. Also, being able to access notifications directly from the lock screen would be good. Maybe a triple tap on the notification to unlock or something.

One more thing. Some sort of notification icon on the top banner to let you know there is something new would be good. An indicator that I need to pull the notification center down.

Coming from Android I can say that I use it constantly. My wife who is a long time iPhone user never even looks at it.

I love my iPad, but the half-baked notifications center is the main reason I cannot switch my phone to iOS.
I really appreciate the way that Android gives you icons to alert you to emails, texts & missed calls without having to pull down the tray and scroll through an endless list. Android also has a "Clear All" button for the times that it is needed.
This disappoints me: we were led to believe that Apple was holding off on improving the notifications because they wanted to get it right first time. Maybe Apple will get it right in iOS6 or 7, but for now I feel that iOS is good for toys like the iPad, but not for business critical tools like a phone.

I was a long time WebOS holdout but eventually my phone died. With no new WebOS phone to go to and with the recent iOS5 upgrade, I jumped ship. As impressive as iOS is in many ways, they just missed the boat on notifications. Crude, rudimentary, half baked, and uninspired is what comes to mind. I so miss the WebOS notifications....seriously Apple, its not that hard. In fact WebOS is now open source....just go borrow what you need

I use it all the time. Intelliscreenx is the only way to go these day. I had used lockinfo on both of my existing devices and loved it. Once intelliscreenx figures out messages+ and fixes the bugs with the rss reader I'll be completely helpless against the Notification Center.

it just hasn't updated yet on your phone. htosenly, it's not really a problem. so just log onto both of those apps and the notifications should go away. Was this answer helpful?

The most annoying about the iphone are the omission of information on the lockscreen. I would love to have my upcoming appointments there.
Please Apple, even simple nokia phones do this.