How to Turn Off Push Notifications on iPads and iPhones

Updated on May 30, 2017
Jonathan Wylie profile image

Jonathan is a certified teacher who has taught in the UK and in the US. He now works as a Digital Learning Consultant.

Do you know which one to pick?
Do you know which one to pick?

What Are Push Notifications?

Push notifications are alerts from specific apps that relate to some kind of new information. They were designed to notify you of something you may not otherwise see unless you opened the app and discovered it for yourself. For instance, if you get a new email, your iPad or iPhone can be set to automatically notify you when that happens. If you get a new friend request on Facebook, the Facebook app can send you a notice to let you know.

However, not all push notifications are welcome. These alerts happen automatically, can appear on top of other apps, and will often happen at inconvenient times. Some exist purely to try and sell you something, to encourage you to go back and play a certain game, or to use an app you may have long since forgotten about.

What Do The Notifications Look Like?

Essentially, there are three types of push notifications that you might see. Some are more invasive than others, but Apple gives you the option to choose which ones you want, as well as the option to turn off push notifications altogether. The three main types are:

  1. Badge icons: These are the least intrusive push notification, but for some people they are the most annoying. They appear as a number in a red circle on the top right-hand corner of the app icon. The badge number shows how many unread notifications you have for a given app.
  2. Banners: The banner alerts appear as a rectangle at the top of your screen. They will remain on screen for a few seconds, but will go away automatically. You can also dismiss them manually by swiping them upwards with one finger.
  3. Alerts: These are the most obvious of the three because they appear in the middle of your screen and will interrupt whatever you are currently doing on your device at that time.

Another type of notification you may encounter is actually a sound. For instance, if you set an alarm or a timer, a sound may be played to notify you when it is finished. Sounds are often combined with Alerts, but not always.

Not all push notifications are worth reading
Not all push notifications are worth reading

How to Disable Push Notifications

  1. Open your Settings app
  2. Tap Notification Center on the left-hand side of your screen.
  3. Swipe up until you see a list of your apps.
  4. Find the app you want to turn off notifications for, and tap it.

Remember the types of notifications we talked about above? This is where they live. So, choose the type you want, or tap None to turn them off. If you want to get rid of the red number on the corner of the app, slide the switch next to Badge App Icon to off. You can also change the Alert Sound to None in order to disable sounds.

Notifications have to be disabled on an app by app basis. There is no way to turn of notifications on all apps at once, but this makes sense because you will likely not want to disable all alerts...just the annoying ones!

How to disable push notifications on iOS devices
How to disable push notifications on iOS devices

More Options for Disabling Push Notifications

If you want to go even further with your customization of notifications, scroll down some more and you can decide whether or not the notifications appear in the Notification Center. The Notification Center can be accessed by swiping down from the clock on your iPhone or iPad and swiping to the right. This is where you will see all unread notifications in one place.

There are other useful options on this screen like the ability to hide notifications from your lock screen, disable notification previews, or just show alerts from your contacts. The ability to fine tune these settings ensures that you only see what you want, where you want it.

More options for dealing with app notifications
More options for dealing with app notifications

How to Silence Push Notifications with Do Not Disturb

So, you have picked the apps that you want to send you notifications, and the ones that you want to stay quiet, but there are still times when we just don't want to be interrupted by any notifications, good or bad. For times like these, Apple introduced the Do Not Disturb feature. Once enabled, you can silence all phone calls, alerts and notifications. This means that if you are in a meeting, or at an important event, there will be no more buzzes or beeps from your iOS device when Do Not Disturb is turned on.

How do you enable it? There are two ways to turn on Do Not Disturb. The first is to go to the Settings app, and tap Do Not Disturb on the left hand menu. Flip the switch next to the word "Manual" to turn it on and you should see a crescent moon icon appear in the top right-hand corner of your device next to the battery indicator. There are other settings here, like the ability to schedule when Do Not Disturb is enabled, or the option to still allow calls from certain people.

The other way to enable Do Not Disturb is from the Control Center. To open the Control Center, swipe up from the bottom bezel on your device. Look for the same half moon symbol we mentioned before, and tap it to enable Do Not Disturb.

When the moon icon is highlighted, Do Not Disturb is turned on
When the moon icon is highlighted, Do Not Disturb is turned on

Final Thoughts

Every time you download a new app, and launch it for the first time, you will likely get that familiar pop-up asking you if you want to receive push notifications or not. This is your chance to take some control over your notifications, so take a minute to think about it. Don't just turn off push notifications every time, because there may be some that you do actually want.

Is it a genuinely useful app that will make your life richer by notifying you of important information as soon as it is available? If so, tap OK to enable push notifications. If not, or you are just unsure, tap Don't Allow, safe in the knowledge that you can always go back to Settings > Notification Center and enable them at a later date if needed.

© 2014 Jonathan Wylie


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    • profile image


      7 months ago

      This is not a push notification. This is just notifications. Push notifications use your cellular data to show you emails as they come in or to update your game data as you are using it. Again, what this is telling you is only what notifications are.

    • profile image

      Melissa Carroll 

      10 months ago

      My friend is receiving my push notifications on my Facebook and we're not on each others Facebook but I would like him to stop recieving mine but we're on the same phone account and phone plan


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