How to manage notifications in iOS 12

Curb your notifications in Apple's iOS 12 to ensure you only receive the notifications that matter. Learn how to customize notification settings in iOS 12.

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

Notifications are an integral part of modern operating systems, where apps are not necessarily always running in the background to update the user. You can subscribe to notifications and get timely information, or you can choose not to view or receive notifications.

In Apple's iOS 12, notifications are more powerful and less annoying than ever. Plus, it's easier to manage notifications; for instance, you might change the grouping of notifications on an app by app basis, or dynamically manage notifications, or disable notifications on the fly for a period of time. This tutorial covers how to use the new notifications features in iOS 12.

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How to dynamically manage notifications in iOS 12

iOS 12 introduces a new feature that lets you easily change the settings for notifications in real time when the notification arrives instead of changing the setting manually in the Settings app. This feature allows you to easily tweak the delivery of notifications, quiet notifications for a period of time, and more.

When a new notification arrives on your device, open the Notification Center by swiping down from the top of the screen, and then tap and hold on a notification. You'll notice a new button that looks like an ellipses--tapping this button will give you a new set of options for managing notifications from the app that is responsible for that notification (Figure A).

Figure A


Easily tweak the settings for app notifications by tapping the ellipses button when a notification arrives.

When you select the Deliver Quietly option, the notifications from that app will still arrive on your device, but your device will not vibrate or make a sound when it arrives. This option ensures that the notifications only appear in the Notification Center--they will not appear on the lock screen, in a banner, or add a badge to the app icon.

If you select Turn Off, it will prompt you to disable notifications entirely for the app--something that you previously had to navigate deep into the Settings app to perform, making it easier to disable notifications for apps that abuse the system and send annoying notifications.

Selecting the Settings option will take you to the app-specific settings in the Settings app. In this section, you can finely tune how the notification will appear for the selected app.

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How to change the display of notifications in iOS 12

New in iOS 12 is notifications that are grouped by the app they belong to, allowing for better organization of notifications. This has long been a feature on Android, yet Apple's implementation is a bit smarter.

By default, notifications are grouped by app and by subject. For instance, in Apple News, you will have separate notification stacks for TechRepublic and The Washington Post, even though they're both originating from the same app. You can change this functionality so it's purely based on app and not topic.

When multiple notifications appear in the Notification Center, only the most recent ones will appear on top of a new stack interface (Figure B). Tapping the top notification on the stack will expand the stack and allow you to see all the notifications for that particular application. Tapping a notification in the expanded stack view will link into the app just like previous iOS versions.

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Figure B


iOS 12 groups notifications so that only the most recent shows on top of the notification stack.

If you don't like this new stacked notification view, Apple provides a way to disable it and go back to the old way of viewing notifications. This process is done on an app by app basis.

To change how an app displays notifications in the Notification Center, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Notifications.
  3. Select an app for which you wish to change the notification settings.
  4. Select Notification Grouping (Figure C).

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Figure C


Changing the notification grouping option is done on a per-app basis and cannot be changed globally for all apps.

There are three Notification Grouping options available: Automatic, By App, or Off.

  • The Off option will default to the iOS 11 and prior behavior of showing notifications in the order they're received and not stack them.
  • The Automatic option will do the smart grouping where it's grouped by app and then topic like the example at the top of this section.
  • The By App option will stick to grouping the notifications for that app into a single stack.

Give notifications in iOS 12 a try

These changes offer a wide variety of customization that we haven't seen in iOS notifications before, ensuring that notifications are useful and powerful rather than becoming useless and annoying.

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