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10 ways Apple could make iOS's Notification Center great

Dan Frakes and Dan Moren | April 17, 2014
When Notification Center arrived in iOS 5, we greeted it with a sigh of relief. No more alerts lost to the ravages of time, easy access to all of our notifications in a single place, and even a handy way to get a look at the weather or stock info.

When Notification Center arrived in iOS 5, we greeted it with a sigh of relief. No more alerts lost to the ravages of time, easy access to all of our notifications in a single place, and even a handy way to get a look at the weather or stock info.

But as the years have passed, our enthusiasm for Notification Center has dimmed as we've realized that most of its original limitations are still around. Even some of iOS 7's updates to Notification Center served only to increase our frustration, adding less-than-useful features while avoiding fixing its most glaring annoyances.

As we sit only a few months away from the likely announcement of iOS 8, we've compiled a list (with the help of a few of our Twitter followers) of our biggest frustrations with iOS's handling of notifications — along with what we'd like to see Apple do about them.

Wipe it clean

You've surely had a moment when you've wanted to just raze everything in Notification Center from the face of the earth — if you're anything like us, perhaps as often as once a day. But if you've ever actually tried to clear out Notification Center, you've quickly discovered that there's no easy way to do so. Rather, you must tap the "x" icon next to the application name, and then tap the Clear button that takes its place — and then repeat the process for each app. And you may have to go through a dozen (or more) applications. Surely it would be faster to have a button, say all the way at the bottom of Notification Center, that simply declares notification bankruptcy? We'd certainly appreciate it.

Weed it out

While we're on the topic of clearing notifications, how come it's an all-or-nothing proposition for each app? Say you get three text messages from somebody you're meeting later in the day; one of them contains a particular piece of information — a time or location — that would be handy to refer to at a glance, but you don't need the other two. If you want to keep one and ditch the others, you're out of luck. The capability to clear an individual notification would be a nice improvement in Notification Center — provided of course that there's an easier way to do so. Speaking of which ...

Die, tiny buttons, die

Raise your big, fat finger if you've ever been annoyed that clearing an app's notifications in Notification Center requires you to tap the teeny, tiny, little "x" button, followed by tapping an almost-equally tiny Clear button. Especially on the iPhone and iPod touch, these buttons are frustratingly small — so small that they often result in accidentally tapping a notification itself, which then opens the app doing the notifying. We'd like to see bigger buttons or, perhaps even better, swipe-to-dismiss, like the folks using Android have had for a while now. (Sure, swiping currently switches between the Today, All, and Missed views, but that gesture is unnecessary given the buttons at the top of Notification Center.)

 

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