iOS 101: Take Control of Notifications

The notification system in iOS (s aapl) is useful, but it can get a little overwhelming sometimes. Since notifications on iOS demand your attention by blocking what you’re doing until you click either ‘Cancel’ or ‘View’, it can get annoying if you receive a notification every two minutes. Luckily, there is a way to disable notifications on a per-app basis.
In order to change which apps can send you notifications, open your device’s Settings app, then tap Notifications. In here, you’ll find a list of all the apps you have installed which are able to send notifications, as well as a switch to turn off all notifications at once. However, I don’t recommend killing all notifications, since you’ll probably want important ones, such as those from to-do list apps to remind you of deadlines, to stil show up.

To edit what notifications a certain app will send, tap its name in the list. You’ll see up to three switches — Sounds, Alerts and Badges — depending on what options the app supports. From here you can choose how you’d like the app’s notifications to behave. Alerts is the option you’ll want to switch off if you’d like to stop the blue message boxes appearing. Badges determines whether an app should show a number badge (in a red circle) on its home screen icon. And sounds, as the name implies, controls whether or not you’ll get an auditory notice when a new notification arrives.

In my opinion, for an application which isn’t important, the best thing to do is turn off alerts and sounds, and just leave badges on. That way, you’ll still be able to tell which apps need your attention by glancing at their icons, but they won’t pester you with alert messages.
I much prefer the iOS experience without having to tap on a blue message box every three minutes. Adding the option to turn them off was a good decision on Apple’s part, and one that it pays to know how to use.