The iOS notification system is arguably one of the best around, offering users an easy way to view all incoming notifications in one place, along with offering the ability to interact with those notifications without leaving the app you’re currently in.

While the functionality is great, these notification shortcuts aren’t always made obvious. And what if you want to change the way notifications are presented on your iPhone or iPad?

Here, we show you show to manage your iPhone notifications, from editing the notification alert to regaining control of the Notification Centre and interacting with incoming notifications.

If you want to find out what else your iPhone can do, take a look at our top iPhone tips

How to add and remove apps from the Notification Centre

The first step to getting a handle on your iPhone notifications is to decide which app alerts should appear in the Notification Centre, accessible by swiping down from the top of the display.

Making notifications accessible in the Notification Centre should help make the them clearly available to you once you’re ready to interact with them, so it’s a good idea to make sure that only the most important notifications appear.

So, how do you add unread Message notifications and remove annoying Angry Birds 2 notifications from your Notification Centre? It’s fairly easy to do so (note: this is to stop all notifications from a certain app from appearing in the Notification Centre – if you want to simply remove one or two notifications, follow these instructions instead).

  1. Head to Settings > Notifications on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll through the list of apps and tap on the app you’d like to add or remove from the Notification Centre.
  3. Toggle the ‘Allow Notifications’ to turn on notifications (if it’s not already on) and toggle the ‘Show in Notification Centre’ switch on to add app notifications to the Notification Centre.
  4. If you want to remove apps, toggle the ‘Show in Notification Centre’ switch off. If you want to disable the app’s notifications completely, toggle the ‘Allow Notifications’ switch off.

How to clear notifications from the Notification Centre

Now that you’ve got your most important notifications in the Notification Centre, you might find it gets a little busy as notifications roll in. While tapping on a notification will open it and remove the alert from the Notification Centre, it can get a little long-winded when there’s a long list of notifications to clear. There is a much easier way to do it:

  1. To clear a single notification, simply swipe left on the notification and tap ‘clear’.
  2. To clear all notifications, tap the ‘x’ to the right of the Recent tab in the Notification Centre and tap ‘Clear’ to confirm the removal. Those with 3D Touch can also press down on the ‘x’ and tap ‘Clear All Notifications’ to quickly clear the list.

How to turn on or off notification sound alerts

While notifications themselves can be a handy way for iOS to notify users of new activity in apps, the chosen alert sound isn’t always great – especially if the sound is longer than a second or so, and you get a constant stream of notifications (from a group message chat on WhatsApp, for example).

But what are you to do if you can’t change the notification sound alert? You can disable it altogether.

  1. Head to Settings > Notifications.
  2. Browse through the list of apps and select the app you’d like to mute.
  3. Toggle the Sounds switch off.

How to turn on or off badge app icons

On the whole, app badge icons are a great idea – they let you know at a glance if there are unread notifications for that particular app without accessing the notification centre. However, for those of us that like to keep our Home screen clear, badges can become extremely annoying.

While simply opening the app will usually clear the badge icon, it’s not always the case – and it can be long-winded if you let it build up. If there are particular apps that consistently re-offend and present annoying badges, there is a way to toggle them off.

  1. Open Settings > Notifications.
  2. Browse through the list of apps and tap the app you’d like to edit.
  3. Toggle the ‘Badge App Icon’ switch off and it should disable badges for that app.
  4. Repeat the process for any other annoying apps.   

How to change notification type

There are two different types of notification to choose from: banners and alerts.

While many prefer the banner-type notification that notifies you via a banner in the top-third of the display, some still prefer the (rather outdated) full-screen alert. Alerts will interrupt whatever you’re currently doing and display the notification full-screen, handy for notifications from a high-priority app.

Of course, if you’re not fussed about immediately interacting with your notifications, you can change the notification type to ‘none’ to disable the feature. You’ll still be able to find your notifications in the Notification Centre, so it’s not the same as disabling all notifications from the app.

  1. Open Settings > Notifications.
  2. Browse the list of apps and select the app you’d like to edit.
  3. Under the ‘Alert Style When Unlocked’ section, select either None, Banners or Alerts (there is a small animated graphic above each to illustrate what they offer).
  4. Repeat the process for any other apps you’d like to edit.

How to remove notifications from the Lock Screen

If you’ve got notifications that you’d like to stay hidden from the Lock Screen and prying eyes (email, text messages, etc) then there is a way to stop the notification from being displayed on the Lock Screen. It’s worth noting that it’ll also stop the notification from being displayed in the Notification Centre while locked.

  1. Open Settings > Notifications.
  2. Browse the list of apps and select the app you’d like to edit.
  3. Toggle the Show on Lock Screen switch off to remove it from the Lock Screen.
  4. Repeat the process for any other apps you’d like to edit.

How to interact with notifications

Thanks to advancements in both hardware and software, there are multiple ways to interact with your notifications on your iPhone in iOS 10. Of course, the simplest way to interact with notifications is to tap them – tapping on the notification will open the corresponding app, allowing you to act upon the latest notification.

We can go a little further than that, though. If the app supports Quick Reply (the likes of Messages, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp support the functionality) you can swipe down from the banner notification to quickly reply to your incoming message without leaving the app you’re currently in.

It’s a handy feature that saves a lot of time when replying to texts and other messages, but the developer has to specifically code support for the functionality so it might not be available on all apps.

In the Notification Centre, iPhone users can also swipe right to reveal contextual quick actions for the notification, depending on the notification and app. Swiping left will reveal the option to clear the notification from the list.

The fourth way to interact with notifications is to press down on them to access a contextual menu, although this feature is limited to those with a 3D Touch-supported iPhone (all flagship iPhones from iPhone 6s). You can find out more about what 3D Touch offers here

This contextual menu may vary in design depending on the app and notification in question. Some may display more information about the notification, sometimes including images, along with quick actions like favouriting or retweeting a tweet that mentions you, for example.

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