Anyone that has used a computer is familiar with the following scenario. A friend tells you a story about an app that is really useful or fun so you take a chance and download it. After you download and fire it up, you get a pop up asking if you want to allow notifications from that app. You blast “yes” just to get to the application and sometime later, you are asleep or working and you get a notification from the company behind the app you downloaded. Then you get another one, and another, and since you’ve blasted “yes” on 25 little pop-ups, you are getting a constant flow of notifications that you could completely do without.
No matter how early you got wise to this strategy, you still have notifications from at least one or two apps that don’t serve any practical use. Today we’ll pull out all the stops, literally. That is, we’ll help you limit your notifications so that you are faced with fewer distractions, and less worthless information.
The Problem with Notifications
Inherently, there isn’t a problem with having notifications. They are programmed into the software to help the user get the information they want when it happens. With today’s society so connected, and with business reacting by embracing this connectivity, some notifications are necessary. Collaborative work relies largely on cooperation in real time, which is why notifications can be viewed in a positive light–in some way other than as constant annoyances that aim to break your concentration and keep you on edge all day.
Notifications in general have changed over the past several years. Initially the only notifications a user would receive are ones that had to deal with direct communications. These were easy enough to manage. Sometime in the last few years, more app developers have incorporated direct information about the ongoing development of the application and application promotion. By sending reminders from an app, even if it’s rarely used, developers are hoping that marketing the app to the user that already possesses it will get them to use that app more. These are the notifications that need to be turned off if you hope to co-exist in a workspace with a smartphone around. Here is how to manage notifications in the two most popular mobile operating systems.
In Android, notifications are found many places and, in modern versions, they don’t stop when the phone is locked. Developers have made this system much more intuitive (which they had to with the increased number of notifications people receive) by allowing the user to set the priority of the notifications that they receive. Before Android 8.0 Oreo, this priority was set by the perceived usefulness of that notification to the user.
Most high-end phones that run Android, use 8.0 Oreo. Some have been upgraded to 9.0 Pie. We’ll show you how to turn notifications off in each.
Before we get into the Settings menu, We should mention that in the notifications tray (the list of notifications you get when you swipe down from the top of any android device) you can swipe left to dismiss the apps, but if you swipe halfway, either right or left, you will reveal two icons, a gear and a clock. Pressing on the gear icon can open a setting that will allow you to block notifications for that app.
To review and set notifications any way you want to go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > App notifications, then tap on the individual apps as they are listed and what notifications you want them to send. You can also turn off lock screen notifications by going to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > lock screen and pressing on the Don’t show notifications at all option.
In Android 9.0 Pie, stopping notifications is even simpler. All you need to do is long press on any notification and you’ll see an option to Stop notifications. You can also simply pull down the notifications drawer (swipe down from the top) and you’ll see a new option on the left to Manage notifications.
If you choose to go into the options, go to Settings > Apps & notifications > Notifications > App notifications to see the notifications that you are getting, where you can sort them by Most recent or Most frequent. This setting is helpful to identify and alter the apps that constantly present problems.
One of the major benefits of using Apple products is that they are upgraded to the newest version of their renowned mobile OS as it is released. Apple’s latest mobile build is iOS 12.
For the iPhone or iPad user, managing notifications is just as simple and intuitive. iOS 12 uses what they call the Notification Center and you can easily make edits to individual app’s notifications to improve your usability. First you’ll want to launch the Settings app and tap Notifications. Select the app whose notifications you want to remove from the Notification Center. It will give you a simple toggle switch to toggle notifications on or off from that app.
Notifications can be useful, but they can also create anxiety, provide distractions, and sap an individual’s productivity. For more great mobile tips, or to learn more about the technology your business depends on every day, subscribe to our blog.
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