It’s a constant buzzing and pinging. Your screen lights up a dozen times an hour. A long list of small rounded rectangles, too many to scroll through, fills your screen.
What started as a way for apps and operating systems to let us know if something important has happened has been abused by app developers. Now it’s a constant pinging. There has not only been inflation in the economy, but also in notices.
We either check our phones hundreds of times a day to see what the last pling was about, or we ignore it and potentially miss something actually important.
Luckily, iOS has everything you need to organize your notifications. Focus Mode is the newest tool in the toolbox, but I find it overly complicated. Setting multiple focus modes may be good, but it takes time.
Also read: Take control of annoying notifications in Android
But you have to master Focus to get your notifications in order. Over the years I’ve refined a simple set of rules for notifications, whittling them down to a handful a day. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, and more importantly, my iPhone doesn’t feel like a demanding child asking for attention all the time.
Here is my approach to managing notifications. It takes about 10 minutes to set up. When you install a new app, it only takes a few seconds to update.
How to drastically reduce notifications without missing anything important
1. Open Settings and go to Notices. At the top you can adjust how they’re displayed and set the Scheduled Summary But we’re interested in the list of apps under the header Note style.
2. Time to go through all your apps and adjust notifications. This will take time, but it’s a one-time thing. Go through the list of all the apps on your iPhone and tap on each one. You are given several options – whether to deliver immediately or wait for your scheduled summary (if you set it up).
For most of your apps, you should turn them off by default Allow notifications. Most of your apps don’t need to send you notifications at all. You can simply catch up on what you missed when you open the app. For example, you probably don’t care if you see a notification from the Netflix app. You can only see what it has to tell you the next time you open the app.
3.The rule of thumb for your notices is “do I need to act on this right away?”. For apps that have important information, leave notifications on. Apps like home alarm, phone, messages and other messaging apps, wallet, weather… all have the kind of notifications you might need to immediately act on.
4. For some apps, it can be useful to know that the app requires your attention at some point, but not right away. Maybe you want to know you have unread emails, but you don’t want a buzz or ping every time you get a new email. These apps can simply notify you in a much less intrusive way.
Start by turning off lock screen notifications and banners.
Disable sound, but maybe leave it on Banners. That way, when an app has something to tell you, you won’t be interrupted, but you’ll see the little red circle with a number in the corner of the app icon.
With these simple settings, you’ll likely find that your phone disturbs you a fraction of what it used to. With every new app, you turn off notifications by default, unless it’s an app that delivers critical time-sensitive information that you need to act on immediately.
Apps should only deliver a notification if it’s something you need to act on immediately. Everything else can wait until you open the app manually.
Those who want to manage notifications like a pro can dig into focus modes. There you can set custom modes that trigger either automatically or at specific times, in a location, or when you open a specific app. It is a more flexible system, but also more complex.
The bottom line is that iOS is sophisticated enough that you won’t be bombarded with an endless stream of messages you don’t care about. With a little work, your phone can be better, your lock screen cleaner, and your life a lot more peaceful.
Translated and edited by Petter Ahrnstedt