How to Set App Notification Options on Your iPhone

By Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

With so many app options for your iPhone, you will want to know how to designate the type of notifications you want to receive for each app that offers notification options. With so many options, it can seem somewhat complicated at first, but after you set your preferred notification settings for the first few apps, you get the hang of it.

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Notifications.

  2. In the Notifications View section, tap either Manually or By Time to choose how notifications are sorted in the Notification Center.

  3. Notice how apps on your iPhone are divided into two sections: Include and Do Not Include.

    Apps in the Include section appear in the Notification Center when something happens, but you can still receive alerts (badges, banners, or alerts) from apps in the Do Not Include section.

    For example, if you turn Notification Center Off for Messages but leave badges and banners on, when a new message arrives, you see the numbered badge on the Message button on the Home screen and a banner appears on the screen for a few seconds. No record of the message appears in the Notification Center. Or you can choose to have app alerts appear only in the Notification Center.

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  4. Tap the name of each app in the list to choose if and how you want that app to send you notifications.

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  5. Tap the Allow Notifications switch on or off.

    When on, you see a screen with options; when off, the options disappear.

  6. Tap Show in Notification Center, and then choose how many items from this app you want listed in the Notification Center.

    For example, if you choose 5 for Mail, you see the five most recent messages you received in Mail listed in the Notification Center. The app then appears in the Include list on the previous screen.

    Choose No Recent Items if you don’t want to see this app in the Notification Center, and it will then appear in the Do Not Include list on the previous screen. You can still see alerts, banners, or badges or hear audible alerts when the app wants your attention.

  7. Tap the Sounds switch on to hear an audible alert when the app wants to tell you something.

    For Reminders, Messages, Mail, Phone, and Calendar you can choose a specific sound for the app. You can also manage sounds for these apps in the Sounds part of the Settings app.

    What’s more, Mail allows a different sound for each email account as well as for VIP or threads. In Contacts, you can assign a special sound to individual contacts. Calendar lets you further specify a sound for the different types of alerts it might send.

  8. Tap the Badge App Icon switch on if you want to see the numbered badge on the right shoulder of the app’s icon on the Home screen.

    You won’t see this option for all apps because those numbers tell you, for example, how many unread email messages you have in Mail or how many missed calls and unheard voicemails you have in Phone.

  9. Tap the switch next to Show on Lock Screen to the on, or off, position.

    When on, the alert style (banner or alert) you chose will appear on the Lock screen when you wake your iPhone.

  10. Choose the Alert Style you want the app to use when your iPhone is unlocked (and on the Lock Screen if you turned that option on in Step 9):

    • None means you don’t want any alerts from this app — but you can have up to ten recent items appear in the Notification Center (see Step 6).

    • Banners appear across the top of the Home screen or app you’re using, and then automatically disappear after a few seconds. For apps that you can respond to, such as a message, you can pull down the banner — before it disappears — and respond or tap the banner to open the app that notified you.

    • Alerts appear in the center of the screen and require an action before they disappear. You can tap Close to acknowledge the alert but do nothing or tap the other choice, which, depending on the app, may be Reply, View, or Options.

  11. You may see other Notifications options, which vary from app to app.

    For example, Messages and Mail have a Show Preview option, which, when turned On, displays a few lines of the message in the notification.

  12. Tap the Notifications button in the upper-left corner to return to the previous screen, and then scroll through and tap the apps in both the Include and Do Not Include lists, repeating steps 5 through 11.

  13. Tap the Edit button.

  14. Tap and hold the rearrange button to the right of the app name, and then drag the app up or down to reorder the list as it will appear in the Notification Center.

  15. Tap Done.

  16. Tap Settings in the upper left or flick right to return to the Settings screen.