No-Nonsense Notifications

Notifications can either be the foil of productivity or the difference between making or missing a flight. It’s important that your notifications don’t get so out of hand that you can’t keep up with them. Here are all the ways that you can organize, eliminate, or emphasize certain notifications so that you stay informed about the things you want.

Free Yourself of Disturbances

Do Not Disturb is a mode that lets you silence calls, notifications, texts, and more. To set up Do Not Disturb on your iPhone, first open Settings. Tap Focus. Tap Do Not Disturb. Under the section People, choose which people you would like to be able to contact you while in Do Not Disturb. Under the section Apps, choose which apps can send you notifications while you are in Do Not Disturb. Tapping on options will allow you to turn Show On Lock Screen, Dim Lock Screen, and Hide Notification Badges on or off. Hide Notification Badges is such a fantastic way to truly be completely untouchable. Lastly, putting Do Not Disturb on a schedule is a great way to ensure that you never get woken up by rogue notifications in the night. There are a million excellent reasons to employ the Do Not Disturb schedule feature.

Bundle Your Notifications

The second way to deal with your Notifications that we’ll be going over is the Scheduled Summaries. On your iPhone, the Scheduled Summary allows you to schedule certain app notifications to be delivered as a bundle alongside others at a set time of the day. By grouping non-urgent notifications in a summary at a convenient time, you can reduce the amount of times your device alerts you, lessening distractions throughout the day. You can create up to 12 scheduled summaries, and each can be set up to arrive on the Lock Screen and in the Notification Center at a time of your choice. For example, you could choose to have a bunch of non-essential notifications delivered when you take your lunch break. Maybe, you’d prefer them to arrive after dinner when you can finally relax and sort through them. Another great option is the last thing before bedtime, helping you feel organized before you go to sleep.

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Personally, I have one scheduled summary that arrives for me at 9 pm every evening. On my scheduled summary are Health notifications, my New York Times app, Amazon, an app that tracks the Full Moon, Kindle, and YouTube. All these notifications are ones I want to receive, but they’re not time sensitive and I don’t want to interrupt my day by looking at them. However, if an interesting article broke on NYT while I was working, 9pm is the perfect time for me to read it. Or, likewise, if one of my favorite YouTuber’s uploaded a video during the day, I’m happy that I was unaware while working so it wasn’t a source of distraction, but now that I’m off, it’s a great time to be notified so I can watch it. If you choose to enable multiple summaries, the same apps and notifications will appear in all of them, there will just be more summaries that arrive to you throughout the day. This means you can’t have Twitter arrive in your morning summary and then not receive Twitter notifications in your afternoon summary.

Open Settings. Tap Notifications. Tap Scheduled Summary. Toggle Scheduled Summary on. Then, Add Summary and adjust the time to your 1st Summary. If you’d like, go ahead and create additional summaries according to your needs. If you have multiple summaries, I’d recommend enabling Show Next Summary. Then, go through the apps and select which apps you feel are important to receive but would be disruptive or irrelevant to receive throughout the day. Toggle them to have them delivered in the scheduled summary. And if you'd like more tips about how to manage your notifications, be sure to check out our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

Eliminate Unwanted Notifications

For each individual app, you can adjust notifications, including whether you want them to appear on your Lock Screen, Notification Center, or in Banners that pop up along the top of your iPhone. You can customize notification settings for any given app by opening the app directly and going into its settings from there, but let’s walk through how to adjust notification settings on your iPhone, for more system-wide rulings. Keep in mind the questions on this page while you decide which notifications to keep on and which to turn off. Open Settings. Tap Notifications. Choose either Count, Stack, or List for Notification Display. Then, scroll down to view all your apps. Tap on an individual app to adjust its settings.

Take Inventory of Your Notifications

On your iPhone, swipe down from the top center of your screen to open the Notification Center to view your most recent notifications. This will give you an idea of notifications you received but didn’t open. Then, go to Notifications in Settings and scroll through all your apps. Make a list of apps you receive notifications from every day.

  1. How many of these notifications are essential to your daily life?
  2. How many of these notifications do you enjoy receiving?
  3. How many of these notifications cause you stress or cause you to waste time and money?

Make a list of Notifications you’d like to receive more often, such as birthdays, apps that help you form good habits, and news alerts. Lastly, make a list of notifications you never want to see. If you’re unsure, you can answer these questions:

  1. Do you find that every time this app notifies you, you feel annoyed?
  2. Do you use a particular app so often that you receive endless notifications?
  3. Do you love using this app too much, and therefore want to eliminate temptation by turning off notifications?

Making the Deep Cuts

If you need help with deciding what kind of notification to set for your different apps, here are some suggestions:

Essential to your daily life: Allow Notifications, Immediate Delivery, Lock Screen, Notification Center, Banners (banner style: temporary), Sounds, and/or Badges.

You enjoy but find distracting: Allow Notifications, Immediate Delivery, Time Sensitive, Lock Screen, and/or Notification Center.

They cause stress or suck up time and money: Disable Notifications

You’d like to use more often: Allow Notifications, Immediate Delivery, Lock Screen, Notification Center, Banners (banner style: temporary), Sounds, and/or Badges.

You haven’t used in 3+ months: Disable Notifications or Deliver in Scheduled Summary.

You’d like to use every day but don’t need to be notified about immediately: Allow Notifications, Scheduled Summary, Lock Screen, Notification Center, and/or Badges.

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Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden Both

Amy Spitzfaden-Both is the Managing Editor for iPhone Life magazine and an award-winning novelist, with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. She specializes in Apple news and rumors, health and fitness tech, and parenting in the digital age. She graduated from MIU with a BA in Literature and Writing.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.