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Notifications Center

Choose your own alert

Banner alert

Lock screen messages

Message multitasker

Customize it

As you like it

What's hot, what's not

An easier way

You're out

More customizing

How many?

It's new day for iOS! Version 5 of the operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod is brimming with new features, including this handy pull-down notifications menu that shows you everything from the weather to missed calls, reminders, and incoming e-mail messages. Sound familiar? Apple definitely borrows from Android on this one.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Unobtrusive banner notifications are another Android influence, but Apple has wisely let you choose your pop-up style rather than foist one on you. You can find that and much, much more in the new Notifications segment of the Settings menu.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Here's a closer look at how banner alerts appear. Tap them to open the alert, or do nothing and watch them fade away.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Notifications on the lock screen have also changed for the better. You can respond immediately or let it sit and unlock the screen as usual.

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If you get multiple notifications while the phone is locked, you'll see them all at once, newest message first (so read this from bottom to top). Before, you saw one message at a time, and had to deal with them in order.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

There's plenty of customizing to be had in the new Notifications submenu.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Apple's Notification Center is all about options. One of the first things you'll decide is if you want to see your alerts as they come or prioritized by type.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Within the notifications subsettings, you can reorder the alerts you see in the pull-down message center by dragging and dropping them.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

An easier way than dragging and dropping to manage what shows up is simply swiping the toggle to "on" or "off."

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Just because it can notify you, doesn't mean you want to see it. You can pick and choose what makes it into the drop-down.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

On top of that, you have control over sound, icons, and whether you're notified of an event in the lock screen.

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

It's nice that Apple lets you pick how many of each item you want to see in the pull-down menu. But why so stringent? Five e-mails (for instance) are too many for our tastes, and one is too few. Why not two or three?

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Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
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