How to Turn On/Off Push Notifications on iOS

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How to Turn On/Off Push Notifications on iOS

One of the characteristic features of a smartphone today is its tendency to notify users about events that occur within the scope of the various installed apps. Albeit handy in most cases, there are many reasons why one may want to disable these push notifications, right from ads demanding that you download unwanted apps, to alerts that disturb one repeatedly. Article walks you through the process of turning push notifications on iOS on and off.

What Are Push Notifications?

For iOS (and even other mobile operating systems), there are a number of apps available that are capable of sending users mini alerts, regarding events within the app that users would not know of unless they open the app. In iOS, push notifications appear in the form of icon badges, banners, and alerts.

A simple example of a push notification is the alert message you get whenever someone sends you a friend request on Facebook.

Not every push notification is a pain in the neck. Sometimes, some of them impart useful information, like the availability of a new updated version of the app for download. Yet at other times, they can be very annoying, especially when, as alerts, they pop up in the middle of the screen and interrupt the app that is running.

Contrary to popular belief, however, push notifications do not significantly contribute to battery drain or Internet data overuse. Of course, this is with some exceptions (for example, push notifications from instant messaging apps). Still, a majority of them use these resources to a minimum and can prove to be an effective medium of communication between app developers and consumers. But then again, push notifications could also be misused to send barrages of unwanted advertisements, making it completely understandable why one would want to disable them.

Unfortunately, there is no feature on iPhones and iPads that enables one to blanket-ban push notifications. Instead, one has to disable them individually for the different apps that employ them. But from another perspective, it is a good thing because users can block the irritating alerts that a game sends them whenever someone in their network beats their high score, but at the same time, they need not sacrifice being immediately notified about an urgent SMS or instant message.

We have put together a mini guide to help you disable push notifications on your iOS device, the method for which differs based on the version of iOS that you are using.

Disabling Push Notifications In iPhones And iPads

Push notifications can be sent by apps designed for, and running on iOS 3 and above. One of the groundbreaking features of iOS 5 was the Notifications Center, a place where users could access all the notifications they received from various apps (including missed and/or dismissed ones), as well as tweak their settings from a single, convenient location.

Here is how one can turn off push notifications on any Apple device.

** Note: The procedure to turn push notifications back on is the exact reverse of turning it off.

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Tap on Notifications, which is located in the second block from the top in the list of settings available. If you are using an iPad, it is located on the left of the screen.
  • In any version of iOS preceding iOS 5, navigating to Notifications settings opens a list of apps that send push notifications and the kind of notifications they send. Above this list, the Notifications swipe button lets you disable all notifications entirely.
  • In iOS 5 and 6, opening Notifications settings displays two lists: (i) those apps that display their notifications in the Notifications Center, and (ii) of apps that do not. Along with the names, the kind of notification sent by the app is also displayed.
  • Tapping on any listed app will take you to a page where you can specify the notification type (None, Alert, or Banner). You can further decide whether you want the app icon to display notifications like a badge, and also change the sound accompanying the notification. A swipe switch allows users to easily remove (or add) apps from/to Notifications Center.

On devices running iOS 6, you can operate your phone in the Do Not Disturb mode, where push notifications will be completely disabled when your phone is locked. The drawback is that additionally, all your incoming call alerts, and in general, any other sound alert from your phone will also be silenced. You can also temporarily use Do Not Disturb for a set, a limited amount of time.

The Do Not Disturb feature can be toggled on and off with the help of a swipe button in the Settings app. Apart from this, if you navigate to Notifications settings, you will find a link to the Do Not Disturb page right at the top.

In iOS 7, the whole UI was given a complete makeover, including a redesign of the Notifications Center, not to mention a host of new features. One of them was that apart from informing users about new SMS messages, instant messages, or emails as push notifications, a preview of their contents was also displayed. If you wish to disable all notifications because you are bothered mainly by this feature, you need not worry because it can be independently turned off.

Open Notifications Center in the Settings app on your iOS 7 device. Scroll down in the list of apps till you locate Messages. In the page that opens when you tap it, you will find two swipe buttons labeled Show on Lock Screen and Show Preview. By switching both of them off, you can protect your privacy.

Sometimes push notifications can have a completely different meaning. A good example of this is the notification received on one’s phone in the event of incoming email. To facilitate this, an alert regarding any unread email needs to be “pushed” to one’s iPhone or iPad from the email server, as opposed to being “fetched” only at the time that the app is requested to check for new email. The two kinds of push notifications are quite confusable, and in your attempt to disable all push notifications, you may mistakenly changed your email app’s data retrieval mode to Fetch instead of Push.

To rectify this, tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars in the Settings app. Change the setting for Fetch New Data from None, or Fetch, to Push.

The best way to avoid unnecessary push notifications, actually, is to answer in negative when asked whether you would like to receive any for the corresponding app, when prompted at the time of installation. This trivial oversight will burden you with the task of manually, individually switching off push notifications.

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