App-generated pop-up messages can be helpful, but too many can be infuriating. If you think you’re spending too much time each day frantically scanning unnecessary alerts, it’s time to take a look at your notification settings.
Whether you’re using a smartphone or tablet, you can drastically reduce screen time just by making a few quick tweaks. You can disable specific apps or use “Do Not Disturb” mode to fully pause your device.
Read on, as we round up the best ways to manage notifications on iOS and Android gadgets.
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Notifications on iOS
How to View Recent Notifications on iOS
Notifications appear on your iPhone or iPad screen as soon as they arrive. If you miss one, you can check it in the notification center (pictured below left), accessible by swiping down from the top of your screen.
If you’ve received a bunch of notifications from the same app, these will be grouped together in a pile – tap the top one to reveal all the other notifications below. Swiping a notification to the left will send it on its way.
Partially swiping a notification to the left reveals additional options. If you touch Manage, you can change the notification settings for this application (see above, right). Selection Deliver quietly means notifications will appear in notification center but not on your lock screen – they won’t make a sound as they pass.
You can also press See to open the application or Clear to dismiss the notification.
How to Manage Notifications on iOS
You can peek behind the scenes by tapping Settingsthen Opinion.
At the top of this screen, tap Show Previews. Here you can choose whether notification previews are shown Always, Once unlocked Where Never. Since notification previews can display private information, such as calendar appointments, you may prefer that they are not always displayed.
Under the Notification style menu, you can tap an app to manage its settings individually. This is good news if you want one rule for your most-used apps and another for the ones you rarely interact with.
At the top of this page (pictured above), you can toggle notifications on and off using the switch next to Allow notifications. Below Alertsyou can customize the type of notifications you will see for this app – uncheck Lock screenfor example, if you don’t want notifications from this app to appear on the screen when your phone or tablet is locked.
You can also tinker with the sounds and badges (the red spots that are on the icons if you have an unplayed item), or tap Show Previews and select Always, Once unlocked Where Never for this specific application.
Do Not Disturb Mode on iOS
If your device has a home button, you can open the Control center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. On a device with Face ID, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen.
By tapping and holding the crescent moon icon, you can select a duration and choose when your alerts start beeping and buzzing again (see below left). Try Do Not Disturb mode if you want to enjoy your lunch break without having to peek at annoying work emails.
You can also try touching Settingsthen Do not disturb (shown above, right). Toggle the Program switch on, for example, then select From and AT times to automatically switch to Do Not Disturb at a specific time each day.
Selection Dark lock screen on the same page sends all your notifications to the notification center, in Do Not Disturb mode, rather than displaying them on the screen.
Notifications on Android
How to View Recent Notifications on Android
How you get to notification settings varies depending on the device you’re using and the version of Android it’s running. But most devices work the same way.
In most cases, notifications will appear at the top of your screen when you receive them. Review recent notifications by opening the notification panel – this is usually done by swiping down from the top of the screen (shown below).
You can dismiss individual notifications by swiping them up. On newer Android devices, long-press a notification to reveal some quick settings, including the ability to completely disable notifications for the app.
On older devices, partially swiping a notification to one side will reveal a cog icon – tap it for similar quick settings.
How to Manage Notifications on Android
To start, press Settingsthen Apps and Notificationsthen Opinion. From here, you can manage notification settings for each app by tapping See everything from the last 7 days (new models) or App Notifications (older models), then tap the desired application.
At the top of this page, you can enable or disable all notifications for any app. Depending on the app, you may be able to enable or disable specific types of notifications.
To hit Settingsthen Apps and Notificationsthen Opinion for a few more settings. By default, all notification content will be displayed on your lock screen, but you can choose to limit them if you’re concerned about privacy.
On newer Android models, you can disable Sensitive Notifications or press Lock screen notifications and choose Show only alert notifications Where Do not show notifications if you prefer to block them all.
For people using older Android smartphones or tablets, tap on the lock screen and choose Hide sensitive notification contents Where Do not show notifications if you prefer.
Do Not Disturb Mode on Android
You can quickly enable or disable do not disturb mode on most Android devices by opening the quick-adjustment plate – this is usually done by swiping down from the top of the screen, but you may need to swipe down again to see the full selection of quick settings icons.
Press the Do not disturb icon. On older devices, you can choose between three different modes: Priority only (indicated below), Alarms only Where total silence.
For more options, go to Settingsthen Ringthen Do not disturb (Where Do Not Disturb Preferences on some models). The options will depend on your device. Either way, you’ll find options to automatically set your phone to Do Not Disturb mode at specific times.
On newer handsets, touch Schedules. On older ones, scroll down to Automatic Rules.
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Additional reporting by Tom Morgan.