How to tweak Notification Center to sort by time or app

Learn about the new time-ordered notifications in iOS 9's Notification Center, and how to switch between app and time-based sorting.

Image: CNET

With iOS 9 and the advent of near-instant Touch ID unlocking on newer iOS devices like the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple decided to change the way sorting is handled in the Notification Center. Previously, Notification Center was sorted by app instead of by the time of the notification's arrival; however, if you have near-instant unlocking of your devices, then you'd lose the ability to see notifications in order of the time in which they were received.

Fortunately, Notification Center in iOS 9 can be sorted based on time ordering instead of app ordering. Here's how to make this switch, or return to the standard pre-iOS 9 ordering of notifications in their app-based state.

Time-based sorting in Notification Center

By default, iOS 9's Notification Center will sort incoming notifications by time instead of by the app that sent them. If you've previously changed this setting, or you're not seeing the sorting happen in this manner, you can change the setting by performing the following steps.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Notifications | Sort Order.
  3. Ensure Sort Order is set to Recent.
  4. Navigate back to the Notifications section.
  5. Ensure that Group By App is disabled (Figure A).

Figure A

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

App-based sorting in Notification Center

If you want to go back to the pre-iOS 9 way of sorting where the Notification Center is sorted by the name of the app and not by time of the notification coming in, this is how you change the settings.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Notifications.
  3. Enable the option to Group By App.

This will cause all notifications to be sorted by app, and then time of arrival under the app name heading. You can manually sort the app sort order by opening Settings | Notifications | Sort Order, selecting Manually, and then dragging the app names to change the sorting (Figure B).

Figure B

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

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