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.
Make an early decision
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.
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.
Clean up your phone or tablet settings
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.)
On an Android phone’s Apps & Notifications screen, tap an app’s icon to go to the app information page. Then tap App Notifications to get to all the controls that this app can use to notify you. To turn off notification tones and screen locks for all apps, go to the Apps & Notifications screen and tap Notifications to get started.
in the In iOS 13, the operating system for Apple devices, tap the button at the top of an app's settings screen to allow or disable notifications. If you want to keep the notification enabled, you can choose where and how it appears on your device. If you don't want a banner alert to appear on the lock screen, you can move it straight to the area of the iOS notification center so that you can later search through all updates at once.
Manage desktop notifications
Website and app alerts are also part of desktop life – Windows 10, the Mac operating system, and some Linux distributions support them. In the system settings, you can determine how your computer generally processes notifications.
On a Windows 10 PC, open the Settings app and select System. On a Mac, open the System Preferences icon and look for notification controls. (Linux users should read their respective help.)
Most browsers have controls for managing notifications from certain websites. To customize these warnings, go to the "Settings" or "Settings" section for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari or the browser of your choice and look for the "Notifications" section.
Put the Do Not Disturb sign on
Sometimes you only need a temporary break from all interruptions, for example if you want to stream a video or take a nap. The do not disturb mode in your Android, iOS, or Mac system settings can minimize or disable notifications at the same time. Focus Assist mode in Windows 10 (called "Quiet Hours" in earlier versions) offers the same controls.
In the "Do Not Disturb" or "Focus Assistant" settings, you can manually switch everything off (and on again) and adjust the sound effects. You can also set a daily schedule to automatically suppress warnings – for example, during your sleeping hours.
If you don't want to tap through the screens to get to the Do Not Disturb controls, iOS offers some shortcuts. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the icon Control Center, or, for some models, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen. Tap the moon icon to toggle Do Not Disturb on or off. Apple's voice assistant, Siri, also replies, "Hey, Siri, turn Do Not Disturb on (off)."
To jump to the Do Not Disturb Android controls, swipe down from the top of the device’s screen and tap the Do Not Disturb icon in the Quick Settings panel. In newer versions of the Android system, you can also ask the Google Assistant to turn the mode on or off when you're ready to get back into the action.