How to take control of your notifications

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One way to reduce the blizzard of warnings and notifications: don't sign up for them.

Notifications on your phone and computer are ideal for keeping up to date with the latest news, weather and traffic reports. However, these real-time warning messages can also drive you crazy if you frequently interrupt your screen – not to mention the battery consumption on your device caused by all activities.

Between the presidential election, the Olympic Games and the usual turmoil of current events, 2020 promises to be a particularly busy year. If you're already feeling the information overload and want to get the notifications, or just need a little rest, here's how to manage your alerts so you get the most useful updates.

When you open a newly downloaded app for the first time, you may be asked for permission to send you notifications. You can say no.

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Alerts from some types of apps, such as hurricane trackers, local news, or transit aids, are incredibly useful, while others may just want to postpone coupons or announce a movie opening. Think about how much you want to hear from this app and make your decision. (Some websites ask you to send notifications to your computer desktop the first time you visit them.)

If you unsubscribe here, you cannot receive these notifications. If you really need these notifications later, you can activate them at any time in your system settings or keep them in your notifications list for later reading.

Some apps may have notification controls in their own settings. However, you can also manage alerts in the Settings section of your device. Just search for "Notifications" or "Apps & Notifications". Look in the notification settings for a list of apps and select one you want to change. (Note that the exact screens vary depending on the operating system and version of your device.)