How to take control of iOS push notifications

The iPhone and iPad use iOS to do many things, and do them well. There is one thing that iOS doesn't currently do well, though, and that is push alerts. This short guide will show you how to take control of alerts on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

Push alert from Twitter
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Most iPhone and iPad users already know what it's like to be in the middle of an intense game of Angry Birds only to have a friend start sending instant messages, thus creating countless popups from push alerts, interrupting gameplay. The way iOS currently handles push alerts can be a real annoyance.

This simple guide will show you how to take control of the push alerts on your iOS device, allowing you to decide what applications are important enough to interrupt what you are doing with a text alert.

The first thing you will need to do on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch is to go to Settings.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Notifications pane for the iPad Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Once in Settings, tap on Notifications.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Now that we have navigated to the Notifications section, you will see a button that will turn off Notifications (push alerts) for your iOS device as a whole. Turning off push Notifications across the board will prevent any app listed on this screen from alerting you to new events.

Also in this section will be a list of all apps that use the iOS push service. This is where you can change the push settings, app by app, on your device.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Pick an app that you wish to change the notifications for and tap on it. You will be taken to a new screen that lists three options you can turn on or off. Here is a brief rundown of what each option does.

  • Sounds: If Sounds are turned on, that particular app will play a sound as a new notification arrives. If Sounds are turned off, there will be no sound played.

  • Alerts: Alerts are the text pop-ups that show up on your screen, no matter what you are doing on your device. They can be very intrusive when you are watching a movie, playing games, or even reading an e-mail. Turning Alerts off will eliminate this annoyance.

  • Badges: Badges are the small, red circles with a number inside that appear on an app icon, letting you know how many messages are waiting for you in that app. Turning Badges off will remove these badges from the app icons.

You can go through the third-party apps listed in Notifications one by one, turning off or enabling pop-up Alerts on each according to whether you deem that app important enough to take over your screen. These simple steps will give you better control of your iOS experience.