We rely on our smartphones to keep connected to the rest of the world.
However, the more apps we download, the more notifications we receive, and the flurry of incoming alerts can make it impossible to pick out the changes that are important to us—or to focus on anything else.
It’s critical to manage the flood of notifications if you want to stay in touch while also remaining in control.
Our phones, fortunately, can assist us. It will allow you to set Do Not Disturb times, regulate which apps have the authorization to disrupt you, and more, regardless of the operating system you use.
We’ll walk you through the essential options on Android, iOS, and within individual apps, as well as some third-party tools to help you stop the flow of data.
ANDROID NOTIFICATION SETTINGS
Google has slowly added settings for regulating notifications on its mobile operating system over the years.
You can now choose which Android apps and events can send you prompts, as well as how these notifications appear on the screen.
Open Settings, go to Apps & notifications, and press Notifications to begin setting these features.
If your phone is running an older version of Android (anything before Android Oreo), go straight to Notifications from Settings.
You can choose to see a list of apps that have recently informed you (under Recently sent) or press See all to manage every program on your phone.
Touch Advanced to turn off all alerts for a specific app, or tap the name of an application to modify its notifications.
Determine whether it can attract your attention, what sounds the alerts will produce, and whether they will appear on the lock screen.
Notifications can also be snoozed: When an alert pops up, move it to the left or right to reveal a clock symbol.
You can tell the notice to briefly disappear before reappearing at a specific date and time by tapping the icon.
Android also allows you to categorize an app’s alerts, so you can get notifications for certain behaviors but not others.
For example, on Gmail, you may arrange notifications to appear only when email arrives at your business address rather than your one (or vice versa).
Individual apps must support this functionality for it to work, which all Google apps do.
Another effective option to manage notifications is to use Do Not Disturb mode.
When the mode is enabled, it can prevent notifications from sounding or showing at all.
By sliding down from the top of the screen and tapping the Do Not Disturb icon, you may manually activate the mode (a minus sign).
You may also tweak Android’s Do Not Disturb option by going to Settings, selecting Sound & Vibration, and selecting Do Not Disturb.
You can set specific times for the mode to be enabled automatically from this setup page—perhaps you don’t want to be interrupted when sleeping, working, or on the weekend.
Even if the Do Not Disturb mode is enabled, you can allow some notifications, like alarms or calls from important individuals, to draw your attention.
IOS NOTIFICATION SETTINGS
Apple also gives you complete control over your alerts on iOS. Open the Notifications pane in the Settings app to see all of your options.
You may turn on or off notification previews (the brief pieces of information that display with each alert) and customize each of your installed apps individually.
From the Notifications settings page, select an app to control whether or not it receives alerts.
You can also choose whether the app icons on your home screen show the little badges that indicate how many unread messages there are.
The badge on your Mail app, for example, will show you how many emails you still have to open.
You may also pick whether or not app notifications appear on the lock screen, and if so, whether or not they appear as temporary or permanent banners at the top of the screen.
For example, you might want to put notifications from your most important apps at the top of the screen so that you don’t get distracted from vital business emails by random Facebook posts.
You can also keep notifications but turn off their audio for each app—this function is independent of the phone’s master volume settings.
It allows you to keep on top of your messages while avoiding notifications from apps that aren’t necessary.
Like Android, iOS has a Do Not Disturb option that can be accessed in the Focus section of the Settings app.
Toggle Do Not Disturb on or off to manually enable or schedule the mode. If you haven’t updated to iOS 15, you’ll discover a separate Do Not Disturb option in the Settings app.
You may quiet all alerts or simply those that appear when your phone is locked once you’re in the menu.
You can also allow your preferred contacts to bypass the Do Not Disturb guidelines, like before.
Since iOS 11, iPhones have gained the ability to automatically activate Do Not Disturb mode when they detect that you are driving.
If it isn’t listed on your Focus settings page, hit the + sign in the top right corner and select Driving to get started.
HOW TO CUSTOMIZE NOTIFICATIONS FOR SEPARATE APPLICATIONS
Many apps on your phone have their notification settings in addition to the system-wide ones.
Take the time to sort through your selections for your most important apps and adjust them to your tastes.
While we won’t be able to cover every app, we’ll go over a few instances. Take, for example, Twitter: In the top left corner, tap your avatar, then Settings and Privacy, then Notifications.
You may choose which activities trigger an alert and which don’t use this option.
For example, you might turn off notifications for individuals who like your tweets but keep them on for replies.
To adjust notifications in Gmail, tap the menu button (the three horizontal lines in the top left), then Settings, and then your email address.
Depending on whether you’re using the app on Android or iOS, you’ll have different options.
On all platforms, you can choose to only receive alerts for messages marked as important by Gmail.
You’ll also be able to enable or disable alerts for all of your other Gmail labels on Android.
Not every app will provide you with this level of notification management. Some services will not allow you to modify your alerts at all.
Others will merely allow you to turn off notification noises or limit the number of alerts you may see at any given moment.
Many instant messaging programs, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, allow you to mute certain chats.
Open a conversation thread in WhatsApp that you don’t want to hear from for a while, tap the chat’s name at the top of the screen, and select Mute.
A dialogue box will appear, offering to disable all thread warnings for eight hours, a week, or indefinitely.
HOW DO I MANAGE THIRD-PARTY APP NOTIFICATIONS?
Third-party app developers don’t have much to do with the numerous notification settings accessible on Android and iOS,
as well as within the apps themselves. You can still find some essential tools.
Freedom for iOS, for example, gives you complete control over your alerts across all of your iOS devices as well as your computer.
You can define quiet times, ban specific apps, and more. The software costs $7 each month, but you may try it out for free first.
On Android, the free Notification Blocker app offers a more simple, but still effective, alert-blocking solution.
You can, for example, prohibit notifications from flashing at the top of the screen at random times.
Instead, at the end of the day, you catch up on all the ones you’ve missed in bulk.
We are unable to give a one-size-fits-all solution for notification management.
Instead, you’ll have to experiment with all of the possibilities to determine what works best for you.
With so much customizing ability, you should be able to tame your notifications and minimize your phone’s stranglehold on your attention.