iPhones for all: Book chapter on configuring Explorer notifications

From the chapter on “Simplifying the iPhone”:

iPhone apps have many ways to get an Explorer’s attention. They can beep, flash[1], display red circles on icons, and show “banners”. Banners are text and images that can stay or fade, and they can appear over apps, on the notification screen, and on the lock screen.

Yes, that’s probably too many ways to get attention — and apps love attention. When many apps are installed they request every possible notification. It adds up to a clamor of distraction. Important notifications, like an incoming message or a Reminder notice, can be lost in the crowd.

Happily it’s not that hard to control distractions. Go to Settings:Notifications and turn “Show Previews” to Never (this will now be the default setting for every app).

Next, for every app listed in Settings:Notifications tap on the app name and toggle “Allow Notifications” to off.

Lastly scroll down to the bottom of Settings:Notifications and review “Government Alerts”. I recommend turning off the AMBER alerts for most Explorers. Emergency and Public Safety alerts[2] are rare, for some Explorers they are useful, for others they can be disabled.

Now you can relax and appreciate the peace and quiet for a moment.

Alas, we can’t do entirely without notifications. Exporers benefit from notifications from Reminders.app, Calendar.app,  FaceTime.app, Mail.app, and Messages.app among others. So for each of these you’ll turn Allow Notifications on and Notification Grouping to “Automatic” and Show Previews to “Never” (both should be default). 

Then, for each of these apps, turn everything off (No Lock Screen, No Notification Center[3]) except for what’s listed below:




Badges on.


Sounds and Badges on, Banners on and persistent.


Calendar is complicated!

For Invitations show Badges. For Upcoming Events Sounds on, Banners on and persistent. Everything else off!


Sounds and Badges on.


Sounds on.

[1] Flash notifications are enabled in accessibility and are designed for persons who do not hear well.

[2] Emergency alerts include tornado warnings, flash floods, and the like. Public Safety alerts are not well documented, I think they can be generated by police.

[3] Notification center is particularly confusing — for most Explorers keep it empty.


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