How to use iOS 8 Notification Centre

One of the main and most striking differences of the Notification Centre in iOS 8 is the ability to add widgets to it. You can access these from whichever app you happen to be using. We’ll be looking at how all this works and how this will enable you to customise your iOS device even further.

By

  • Notification Centre iOS iPhone Notification Centre
  • sStep 02 Notification Centre settings
  • Notification Centre Access Notification Centre
  • More Notification Centre Notifications
  • Widgets in Notification centre Add & remove widgets
  • sStep 05 Download Widgets for iOS 8
  • sStep 06 See your Widgets
  • Notification View Adding and removing Notifications
  • Not in Notification Centre Allow Notifications
  • Step 10 Reply to notifications
  • More stories
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Notification Centre in iOS

The Notification Centre made its appearance with iOS 5 and was designed as a means to know when important information arrived on your device. It was greatly improved with iOS 7 and gained even more new features in iOS 8. For example, iOS 8 includes new options for when Notification Centre alerts that pop up at the top of the screen. Now you can interact with them straight from there, sending a quick reply, marking an email as read, or even deleting it, without ever having to leave the app you’re currently in.

In this tutorial, we’ll be taking a look at how this system works, and more importantly, how to customise it so it only displays the information you wish to see at any one time.

iOS’ Notification Centre comes in three forms: the pull down menu, the alerts, and the information displayed on the lock screen. We’ll be looking at each in turn, starting with the menu itself.

You can access Notification Centre from any app you happen to be in: scroll your finger from the very top of the screen downwards to reveal it (in full screen apps - those that don’t display the time at the top of the screen - you need to do this twice to confirm that the original scroll wasn’t an unintentional mistake while playing a game, for example).

Read on to find out more about the new features of Notification Centre in iOS 8, plus how to set up Notification Centre so it will be less annoying.

Read our iOS 8 review

Read these advanced iOS 8 tips you don’t know yet

Next »

Next Prev Notification Centre iOS iPhone

The Notification Centre made its appearance with iOS 5 and was designed as a means to know when important information arrived on your device. It was greatly improved with iOS 7 and gained even more new features in iOS 8. For example, iOS 8 includes new options for when Notification Centre alerts that pop up at the top of the screen. Now you can interact with them straight from there, sending a quick reply, marking an email as read, or even deleting it, without ever having to leave the app you’re currently in.

In this tutorial, we’ll be taking a look at how this system works, and more importantly, how to customise it so it only displays the information you wish to see at any one time.

iOS’ Notification Centre comes in three forms: the pull down menu, the alerts, and the information displayed on the lock screen. We’ll be looking at each in turn, starting with the menu itself.

You can access Notification Centre from any app you happen to be in: scroll your finger from the very top of the screen downwards to reveal it (in full screen apps - those that don’t display the time at the top of the screen - you need to do this twice to confirm that the original scroll wasn’t an unintentional mistake while playing a game, for example).

Read on to find out more about the new features of Notification Centre in iOS 8, plus how to set up Notification Centre so it will be less annoying.

Read our iOS 8 review

Read these advanced iOS 8 tips you don’t know yet

 

Step 2 of 10: Notification Centre setting in iOS 8

The different parts of the Notification Centre, namely how to customise what information is displayed and what to ignore can still be accessed from the Setting’s Notifications section and remains unchanged from iOS 7 as far as we can see. (We'll address to to use these settings below).

You can still manually configure which app displays information even down to specific display option for each individual email address you use.

Read: New Notification features in Yosemite

 

Step 3 of 10: Access the Notification Centre

The Notification Centre is divided into three tabs with Today being selected by default. It shows you what the weather is like, any appointments you have for that day, a list to stocks and a hint of what’s to come tomorrow.

In iOS 7 you would have seen All, which shows you all messages you’ve received recently that you haven’t yet read, and Missed, which was anything you might’ve missed, like phone calls for instance.

In iOS 8 this is simplified. Now you will see Today and Notifications.

To access Notification Centre drag your finger down from the top of the screen.

Since you can access Notification Centre regardless of which app you are in, including from the lock screen, it greatly increases your device’s multitasking abilities, helping you be more efficient.

 

Step 4 of 10: What you see in Notification Centre

By default, in the Today view of Notification Centre you’re treated with today’s date and the weather conditions for your area. If you don't see the weather and want to, you need to turn on Location Services for the Weather app in Settings > Privacy > Location Services and make sure Weather is set to Always.

Note that having location services on can drain battery life so we advice you only use it on those apps that really need it - read how to save battery life on iPhone here.

Scroll down in Notification Centre to reveal your calendar and any events scheduled for that day and a list of events you have scheduled for tomorrow. stock information

Depending on your Notification Centre settings, that may be all you see. More on Notification Centre Settings later.

When the Notification Centre is open and your iOS device is unlocked you can tap on Edit at the bottom of the screen. If you access it from the lock screen you won't see Edit as an option.

One of the new features in iOS 8 is the ability to add third party widgets to Notification Centre on iOS 8, more on that next...

 

Step 5 of 10: Add and remove widgets from Notification Centre

Tap Edit at the bottom of the Notification Centre and you will see a few options of Widgets you can add to Notification Centre. There will be some defaults offered by Apple including the Today Summary, Traffic Conditions, Calendar, Stocks, Reminders and Tomorrow Summary.

You can click the red dash beside the name of the app to choose to remove it from Notification Centre.

But you may also see Widgets offered by phird party apps you have downloaded. For example, BuzzFeed, OpenTable, and British Airways. If you wish to add any to Notification Centre just tap on the green plus.

In order to remove an item from Notification Centre, you must tap on that circle and nowhere else. To confirm this action, the item slides to the left and a bigger ‘Remove’ button appears on the right. Tap on it and the widget is removed. You also have the option of reordering your widgets by dragging them using the three-lined symbol to their right.

 

Step 6 of 10: Find Widgets on the App Store

Not all apps offer widgets, so if you’re not sure if you have any, a quick trip to the App Store is in order.

PCalc Lite is a great example (and is also free), so locate it in the App Store and download it to your device.

Once done, access the Notification Centre once again and click on that ‘Edit’ button. You will see the widget associated with that app in the list of widgets you can add. By default, any app that offers widgets is automatically added to the ‘Do Not Include’ list, which is great news, as you most likely don’t want unnecessary or annoying widgets clogging up your Notification Centre each time you download a new app.

Here are the best iOS 8 Notification Centre Widgets we have seen so far

 

Step 7 of 10: See Widgets in the Notification Centre

Tap on Done, top right of the screen, and your Notification Centre instantly displays your new additions, in the order that you selected.

Unlike some other widgets, PCalc Lite also offers the option to collapse itself by tapping on its disclosure triangle to the left. Doing so removes the calculator but preserves the result, which is a neat touch.

Should you wish to change your mind about which widgets to add or remove, they are all but an ‘Edit’ tap away.

 

Step 8 of 10: Adding and removing Notifications from the Notification View

All the widgets appear in the Notification Centre’s Today tab, which is the one selected by default, giving you access to all your tools, instantly.

Next to the Today tab is the Notifications View tab. This is where all the notification information you’ve agreed to in Settings are displayed.

To see this just tap on the Notifications tab beside Today.

Go to Setting > Notifications and choose what apps you want to see in the Notification View when you drag it down.

For example you may want to see if someone has called you so it's a good idea to leave the Phone app in the list. However, you may feel uncomfortable with the idea that anyone could see who rang you, the first few lines of your emails and even your appointments for that day without even having to enter a passcode, so you can disable the Notifications View and the Today View individually straight from here

Similarly you may want to see your text messages in Notifications View. But you might not want to see an alert for every email you receive.

You have two choices here, you can either tap on Mail and turn off Allow Notifications, or you can scroll down to Show in Notification Centre and select 1 - that way you will only see one notification of a missed Mail (which will probably only be useful if you don't get many emails).

 

Step 9 of 10: Allow Notifications: choosing which apps can notify you

If you scroll down the list you will notice that some apps are listed under Do Not Include, but they have Allow Notifications switched on.

These ones will have Show in Notification Centre deselected, but may have Banners or Alerts selected as a form of Notification.

If you don't wish to see any Notifications make sure that None is selected for the Alert Style When Unlocked.

A great example of this would be Maps, which you can take out of Notification Centre, but can still see alerts. You'll need to see alerts if you want to keep seeing directions on your screen even if you aren't in the app.

 

Step 10 of 10: Make Notification Centre useful

In the past we turned off the notification capabilities of many of the apps because they tended to be more annoying than useful. That changed with iOS 8.

The best part of these Notifications it that you can interact with them directly, even from the Lock Screen.

You’ve always been able to choose to have information displayed on your Lock Screen and swiping it would take you straight to the app in question (after a quick passcode verification), but the Lock Screen in iOS 8 is much more versatile.

Now, without ever leaving it, swipe a notification to the left to enable you to delete an email (a passcode is required to do this, but once granted, you can then delete multiple emails without needing to enter it again until you switch the screen off), or mark them as read (no passcode required).

A little ‘x’ dismisses that notification from the list. It’s even possible to reply to an incoming text immediately without even requiring the need for a passcode. This feature alone is worth the price of admission.

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