Managing Notifications and Alerts on Your iPhone and iPad

There are many different ways that apps can notify you on your iPad and iPhone, but it isn’t always easy figuring out how to manage those notifications. In iOS 7, notifications are managed in the settings app. Most notifications are stored in the notification center, but they can also be shown in the lock screen, and you can be notified by a pop-up alert, a sound, or a banner. The wonderful thing is that iOS 7 gives you complete control of your notifications.

The first thing to understand is the Notification Center Settings. This is where you control all aspects of your notifications. You access these settings by going into the Settings app, and tapping on Notification Center. There is no way to disable Notification Center when your device is unlocked, but you can disable the ability to see Notification center on your lock screen. Notification Center itself is a pull down screen you access from swiping down from the top of the taskbar on the iPhone or iPad.

The Notification Center settings control what you see in this swipe down screen, but also all other ways that apps notify you on the iPhone and iPad. By default, when you install any new app, it is included in the notification center. You can tell if an app is included by looking to see whether it is in the “Include” or “Do Not Include” section of the settings panel. If it is in “Include” the app’s notifications will appear in the Notification Center.

To control an individual app, and the way it notifies you, tap on the name of the app you want to control. Within these settings, you can remove the app from the Notification Center by swiping the selector next to “Show In Notification Center”. In addition to deciding whether to show in the Notification Center, you can choose whether to show 1, 5, 10, or 20 Recent Items. Disabling in Notification Center does not remove all alerts from the app, it only removes the alerts from showing in Notification Center.

Within the individual app settings in Notification Center, you also select how you want to be notified of individual alerts (again, this is independent of whether the apps show in Notification Center). You can select None if you do not want to be interrupted by a notification from an app (but it will still show in Notification Center if you haven’t disabled the Show in Notification Center alert). You can also select to have a Banner notification (which just briefly displays on the top of your screen) or an Alert (which pops up on your screen and must be acted on to be dismissed from your screen). This is also where you decide if you want a sound played when the app alerts you (just swipe next to Sounds to enable or disable the audible alert), and whether to Badge the App Icon (place a number in the upper right corner of the app icon showing how many alerts the app has sent since you last accessed it).

Examples of Banner notification and pop-up Alert notification:

The final option that you have is whether notifications are shown on the lock screen. For example many attorneys would not want to show email in the lock screen. If you do not want an app to be able to notify you when your device is locked, disable the Show in Lock Screen setting by swiping it so it no longer has green next to it. Be aware that even if you have Show in Lock Screen disabled, there would still be an audible alert if you have sounds enabled.

Lock Screen Alert

Although these are the basic settings that you see for all apps, some apps, like Mail, FaceTime, and Messages do have additional options. For example, Messages and FaceTime allow you to choose the sound used to alert you. Mail allows you to set different alert options for any email account you have setup, and also to choose different options for VIP messages. Messages also allows you to only be alerted for contacts, to show previews of your messages, and whether to repeat alerts.

I hope this helps with better understanding the types of alerts that you can receive on your iPad and iPhone and how to manage the alerts that you receive. Although iOS 8 will make some changes to the Notification Center, most of the settings discussed will remain the same in the next version of the iPhone and iPad software.

 

 

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