Notification Center on iPhone

You're sitting on the couch. Your iPhone is on the coffee table. You get a notification. You grab your iPhone to see what the notification was. You get another notification, it hangs out on top of the notification that you were just trying to read. It's getting out of hand. You're starting to feel anxiety all over again. So many notifications, so little time!

Sound familiar? You can fix that by customizing how you receive alerts and how Notification Center looks when you access it. Don't be a slave to your app notifications. Make them work for you instead of driving you crazy.

How to get Notification Center under control on your iPhone and iPad

If you feel like Notification Center is getting out of hand and seems like a big old mess, try disabling the un-important ones from Notification Center to clear your head and clear your screen. Think of it like a bunch of Post-it notes stuck to your desk. Do you really need a note to let you know that your game cool down has completed?

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notifications.

    Launch Settings, then tap Notifications

  3. Select the app you want to remove from Notification Center.
  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch off.

    Tap a app, then turn off Allow Notifications

Do this for all apps that aren't really important to your daily life and you'll feel a lot better about Notification Center. There's no reason to bog down your important alerts with unnecessary interruptions.

How to get your alerts under control on your iPhone and iPad

If you're getting little pop-up notifications on your screen all day long, maybe you're experiencing a bit of FOMO and it's time to silence some of those alerts.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notifications.
  3. Select the app for which you want to turn off banners and alerts.

    Launch Settings, then tap Notifications, then tap an app

  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch on if it's not already.
  5. Toggle Show as Banners off to silence the alert on your iPhone or iPad.

    Turn on Allow Notifications, then turn on Show as Banners

Now grab a cup of tea and relax for a while.

How to customize which apps send Temporary or Persistent banners on iPhone and iPad

Some apps are so important that you need to make sure you don't miss them under any circumstance, and you don't forget them because they disappear from view while you're reading something on Twitter. For the varying importance of alerts, you can make them temporary or persistent.

Temporary banners will simply appear at the top of your screen and then disappear after about three seconds.

Persistent banners must be manually swiped away or addressed before they go away.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notifications.
  3. Select the app for which you want to receive banners and alerts.

    Launch Settings, then tap Notifications, then tap an app

  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch on if it's not already.
  5. Tap Temporary or Persistant to select the banner style you want to use.

    Turn on Allow Notifications, then select a banner style

How to customize how you receive notifications on iPhone and iPad

In addition to Notification Center, there are three ways to be made aware of something happening in an app: sounds, badge app icons, and Lock screen notifications. You can manage all of them.

How to turn on or off sound alerts on your iPhone and iPad

Not everything in life needs an audible ping. If all of your apps were dinging and beeping every time something happened, your friends would stop hanging out with you. Certain alerts are important enough to demand your attention, but only the very important ones (read: please turn off sound alerts for Facebook. It's not that important).

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notifications.
  3. Select the app for which you want to get an audible alert.

    Launch Settings, then tap Notifications, then tap an app

  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch on if it's not already.
  5. Toggle the Sounds switch on.

    Turn on Allow Notifications, then turn on Sounds

If you don't want an audible alert for an app, follow the steps above and toggle the Sounds switch off.

How to turn on and off badge app icons on your iPhone and iPad

Oh, those fiery red dots, taunting you, burning into your soul until you address the notification. Badge app icons are the most stressful notifications available. If you really need them, turn them on. If they just cause you anxiety, turn them off. I turn badge app icons on for my messaging apps but leave them off for everything else.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notifications.
  3. Select the app for which you want to see that red dot on the icon.

    Launch Settings, then tap Notifications, then tap an app

  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch on if it's not already.
  5. Toggle the Badge App Icons switch on.

    Turn on Allow Notifications, then turn on Badge App Icon

If that red dot just causes you unrelenting anxiety, you can turn it off by following the steps above and toggling the Badge App Icon switch off.

How to turn on and off Lock screen notifications on your iPhone and iPad

If you're iPhone will sometimes be seen by prying eyes, you're going to want to keep at least certain notifications from appearing on your Lock screen, like text messages or alerts about your bills being overdue. Not everything should be on your Lock screen, but less private notifications aren't harmful.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notifications.
  3. Select the app for which you want to have notifications appear on your Lock screen.

    Launch Settings, then tap Notifications, then tap an app

  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch on if it's not already.
  5. Toggle the Show on Lock Screen switch on.

    Turn Allow Notifications, then turn on Show on Lock Screen

If you don't want others to be able to see a notification just by glancing at your phone while it's sitting on your desk, disable the Lock screen notification feature by following the steps above and toggling the Show on Lock Screen switch off.

How to customize which app notifications appear in your Notification Center history

With iOS 11, notifications can either stay in Notification Center where you'll be able to see them until you manually clear them. Or you can set them to only show up in Notification Center until you view them, after which time they will simply disappear so you don't have to be haunted by them for the rest of the day.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Notifications.
  3. Select the app you want to remove from or add to your Notification Center history.

    Launch Settings, then tap Notifications, then tap an app

  4. Toggle the Allow Notifications switch on if it's not already.
  5. Toggle the Show in History switch on to keep the notification in your Notification Center history.

    Turn on Notification, then turn on Show in History

If you don't want to see those notifications throughout the day (or week) in Notification Center, disable the feature by following the steps above and toggling the Show in History switch off.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about customizing Notification Center alerts, banners, sounds, and app icon badges? Put them in the comments and we'll help you out.

Updated October 2017: iOS 11 changes how notifications work in Notification Center and how banners are treated on your Home screen.

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