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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Working with Notifications

As you learned in Chapter 1, the iPhone’s notification system keeps you informed of activity in which you may be interested, such as new emails, events, app updates, and so on. There are a number of types of these notifications that you will experience. Visual notifications include banners and badges. Alert sounds can also let you know something has happened, and vibrations make you feel the new activity.

You can determine which types of notifications are used for specific activity on your iPhone. This might be one of the most important areas to configure because you want to make sure you are aware of activity that is important to you, but too many notifications can be disruptive and annoying. So, you want to strike a good balance between being aware and being annoyed.

Working with Visual Notifications


Badges appear on an app’s or a folder’s icon to let you know something has changed, such as new email, messages, or invitations.

Badges are purely informational, meaning you can’t take any action on them. They inform you about events so that you can take action on them, such as to download and install an update to your iPhone’s iOS software or read new text messages.

Alerts appear when activity happens that you might want to know about, such as receiving email or a calendar invitation. There are three types of alerts; each type is based on the location where the notification appears. Lock Screen notifications appear on the Lock screen. Notification Center notifications appear only in the Notification Center, and Banners appear on any screen when your iPhone is unlocked. As you learn in Chapter 4, you can select the types of notifications used by each app.

In addition to providing information for you, alerts enable you to take action related to the activity that generated the notification. For example, you can respond to a text message directly from its alert.

There are two types of banner alerts. Persistent banner alerts remain on the screen until you take action on them, which can be closing them, responding to them, and so on. Temporary banner alerts appear on the screen for a few seconds and if you don’t take action on them, they rotate off the screen to get out of your way.

When your iPhone is unlocked, banner alerts appear at the top of the screen. They provide a summary of the app and the activity that has taken place, such as a new email or text message. When a banner appears, you can view its information; if it is a temporary banner, it rotates off the screen after displaying for a few seconds; if it is a persistent banner, you need to do something to cause it to disappear. You can tap it to move into the app to take some action, such as to read an email. You can swipe up from the bottom of the banner to close it. For some apps, such as Mail, you can press on the notification to open a menu of commands.

Alerts can also appear on the Lock screen, which is really convenient because you can read and take action on them directly from that screen. If your phone is asleep, the alerts appear briefly on the screen and then it goes dark again (unless the phone is in Do Not Disturb mode in which case this doesn’t happen); you can press the Side button or the Touch/ID Home button or raise your phone to see your alerts without unlocking the iPhone. You can swipe up or down the screen to browse the alerts.

To respond to an alert or take other action on it, press it to open it (3D Touch iPhones) or swipe to the right on it (non-3D Touch iPhones) and then take action, such as replying to a message. In some cases, you might need to unlock your phone to complete an action associated with an alert. In those cases, you’re prompted to use Touch ID, Face ID, or your passcode to proceed.

Alerts and other notifications appear in the Notification Center, which you can open by swiping up on the Lock screen or swiping down from the top of the screen when your phone is unlocked. See Chapter 1 for the details about using the Notification Center.

Working with Other Types of Notifications

Sounds are audible indicators that something has happened. For example, you can be alerted to a new email message by a specific sound. You can choose global sound notifications, such as a general ringtone, and specific ones, such as a special ringtone when someone in your contacts calls you.

Vibrations are a physical indicator that something has happened. Like sounds, you can configure general vibrations, and you can also configure an app’s vibration pattern for its notifications.

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