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5 ways to take charge of Android and iOS notifications

Ben Patterson | March 12, 2015
Android and iOS notifications can get out of hand fast. For example, it seems like the notification light on my Android tablet is constantly pulsing, and no--I really don't need to know that there's a new episode of "Big Bang Club" available on the CBS app for iPhone.

Android and iOS notifications can get out of hand fast. For example, it seems like the notification light on my Android tablet is constantly pulsing, and no — I really don't need to know that there's a new episode of "Big Bang Club" available on the CBS app for iPhone.

Luckily, there's an alternative to completely silencing your phone using, say, iOS's Do Not Disturb mode, or Priority mode on the latest Android handsets. Both Android and iOS offer plenty of other options for deciding which alerts and notifications will pop on your display — and perhaps more importantly, which won't.

Read on for five ways to take charge of your Android and iOS notifications, starting with...

1. Turn off the notification light (Android)

The little notification light above my Nexus 7's screen always seems to be flashing — to the point where it's practically meaningless.

For pre-Lollipop Android handsets: Tap Settings > Display, then uncheck the Pulse notification light box.

For Lollipop devices: Tap Settings > Sound & notification, then flip the Pulse notification light switch.

2. Move notifications for specific apps out of Notification Center (iOS)

The pull-down Notification Center for iOS has (for me, anyway) started to get as useless as Android's flashing notification light. It can easily get jammed with too many alerts, all thanks to a few too-pushy apps.

Luckily, there's a way to decide which apps can add alerts to Notification Center. You can also set which app's alerts go first, and how many alerts each app gets to display.

Tap Settings > Notifications, then scroll down to the Include list — basically, a list of all the apps that get to send alerts to Notification Center.

For any app, you can tap it, then tap Show in Notification Center, and pick an option — anything from No Recent Items, which nixes an app's alerts from Notification Center altogether, or 1, 5, or 10 recent items.

To change the order in which app alerts are displayed, go back to the main Notifications settings screen, tap Sort by Time, then tap the Edit button in the top corner of the display.

See those little handles next to the name of each "Included" app? Tap, hold and drag to rearrange them. Feel free to drag an "Included" app into the "Do Not Include" section.

3. Priority mode: Choosing alerts (Android Lollipop)

The latest "Lollipop"-updated Android devices boast the new Priority mode — that is, a mode that silences your phone or tablet save for important alerts of your choosing. Just tap the Volume button to toggle Priority mode on and off.

By default, calls from your contacts can get through, as well as calendar reminders and alarms. To customize what makes the cut, try this: 

 

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