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TV Show Lie to Me Lies to Us About SwiPhone SMS Notifications

Lie to Me s02e03 Notification Swiping

The TV show Lie to Me, a few weeks back (season 2, episode 3 to be exact) decided to take the lies just one step too far -- they showed an iPhone where one of the characters could swipe between SMS notifications.

To the trained eye, of course, it was merely screenshots of standard model text dialogs over the Notes app, with swiping no doubt courtesy of the Photo App, and sound effects added in post. (The whole screen, not just the alert dialog, changed on swipe). However, it shows that even TV now has to work around the vexing lack of great notification handling on the iPhone.

Sci-fi aside, it does show one possible approach. If instead of that nasty little box you had to cancel or reply to immediately, or risk losing forever, Apple let you swipe back to see previous notifications, would that be a good solution? Or are we still holding our breath (and turning ever-bluer) waiting or a Palm webOS- or Google Android-level solution?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 23 comments. Add yours.

Matt Sawyers says:

I did catch that. I actually thought it was a poor production choice as it just showed "screenshots in camera reel" which anyone with an iPhone knows you can't do it with SMS...
On a different note, I think this would be nice to go from one conversation to another much like you can do in the

MikeCTZA says:

I was watching S1 last night (ep 10 or 11 I think) and Cal got a SMS message ... which was fine, except there was no Carrier listed on the screen so how he got that? .... maybe they removed it due to not wanting AT&T branding without any payment.

Matt(sZ) says:

He wouldn't have gotten the SMS on AT&T's network, subliminal message stating that the complete absense of a network has a better network than AT&T, call it a paradox, verizon calls it genius... 

frog says:

Notifications is something Apple needs to get right. I hope they don't wait another 6 months for OS4.0 to come out, but that it's behind the delay for OS3.2

killakow says:

Jailbreak ur fucking phone and stop crying people

zeagus says:

In my experene you're much more likely o get an SMS/MMS on time an correct on ATT than VZW. Oy...

marketsqhero says:

How would jailbreaking help?

Alex says:

I hope apple really WOWS with iPhone OS 4. Don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone, but I have a list of griefs. Notifications has to improve. I'm thinking OS4 will be that day... :p

Kaiks says:

The SMS notification is annoying that you have to make an instant decision whether to cancel or reply, I don't have excessive amounts of messages that I can't keep track of them so it's not high on my 'Apple should fix...' list.
This article made me think of an idea for an App, something that replicates activity on an iPhone for the film industry. So directors could have a slideshow like sequence of iPhone activity, they'd be able to make it look as though the phone is recieving a message, taking a call etc. This would encourage filmakers to use the iPhone in their movie/program as it could be an effective film prop if it were easy to use.

OneOfDaKine says:

It's just a TV show. Give it a rest. If they lied to you, then all of there props will have to have a agreement in fine print at the end of each show. That's a waste of time. It's just a TV show... Move on

fastlane says:


.This article made me think of an idea for an app... be able to make it look as though the phone is recieving a message, taking a call etc.

There are already numerous apps for placing "fake" calls and messages to one's self. They're marketed as a way to escape from unwanted conversations, meetings, etc.

Dalekkiller says:

You beat me to it fastlane, I was just about to mention the fake calls apps when I saw your post.
Being able to swipe through notifications would be great. At the moment, I find I miss some as only the current one is allowed on the sceen. Only the other day, I belatedly found out there were new sounds in Ambiance because I'd missed the notification and it had been replaced by one from Boxcar/

Jen Nelson says:

One of the best apps I've downloaded onto my jailbroken iPhone is QuickReplySMS, which allows you to "Cancel", "View", and "Reply" to a text message without the application you're running in the background closing. Brilliant.

fastlane says:

@Jen Nelson:
According to the screen shots on Cydia, the first option on QuickReplySMS is actually "Close", not "Cancel".
So, with that, my question to you is, If you tap "Close" on several notifications can you ever see those notifications again, or do you have to remember you received them?
Yes, QuickReplySMS is brilliant for backgrounding, but it says nothing in the description about keeping notifications listed... which is really the point of the story.

bugs says:

i prefer what ncis uses on the iphone, they can even read cameras in a taxi using a telephone cord connector!

Rob says:

Jailbreak nd use GriP it's amazing for notifications nd mail and calander. It shows thm in a section of screen nd u can hve more thn 1 they do not diapoear unless u close thm nd u can use phone wit thm there check it out still in beta

Victor says:

You can even see a "No Service" message on the screen :)

Jc says:

Time to hold my breath again.

Crayolaboi says:

One this I miss about my g1 was "chomp SMS" i think they got SMS perfect I would love it to come to iPhone even if only a jailbreak app.

Liliana Fross says:

Hi! I just want to tell you that I love your posting style and that I'm going to follow this blog frequently from now :) Keep it up!

Alex says:

it was just so they could get the tiiming right.

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