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Summary:

iOS 5 is the biggest update yet to Apple’s mobile operating system. Along with over 100 other features, it brings Notification Center, an improved way to manage push notifications on your iPhone or iPad. Read on to learn how to get started using Notification Center.

notification-center

iOS 5 is the biggest update yet to Apple’s mobile operating system. Along with over 100 other features, it brings Notification Center, an improved way to manage push notifications on your iPhone or iPad. Read on to learn how to get started using Notification Center.

What’s a push notification?

Introduced in iOS 3, a push notification is a message sent to your device by an app you have installed. For example, a turn-based multiplayer game may send you a notification to tell you it’s your turn. A lot of apps use push notifications, and a list of the ones on your device that do can be found in Settings > Notifications.

What happens when I receive a notification in iOS 5?

If your device is running iOS 5, then one of two things will happen. If your device is locked (the screen is off), then the screen will turn on temporarily, and the notification will be shown. If you do nothing or are away from your device, notifications will form a list so you can see them all at once.

You can swipe across any of the notifications in this list to open the app they belong to. For example, if you get an SMS, you can swipe across its entry in the list to open the Messages app to reply.

If you are using your iPhone or iPad at the time the notification comes in, it will appear in a banner at the top of the screen, then disappear after a few seconds. This won’t interrupt what you’re currently doing, unlike notifications in iOS 3 and 4, which required you to tap ‘Close’ to dismiss the notification. While these banners are visible, you can tap them to open the corresponding app.

What happens to notifications I don’t respond to straight away?

It might seem like unanswered notifications get sent away, never to be seen again, but don’t worry; iOS 5 is keeping track of them for you. If you’d like to see a list of received notifications, simply swipe downward from the time at the top of your device’s screen. A tray filled with recent notifications, called Notification Center, will slide down. You can then tap a notification in the list to view it in the correct app.

If you’re using an iPhone, this tray will also show a Weather widget and a Stocks widget. These can both be turned off by going to Settings > Notifications, then selecting Weather widget or Stocks widget and sliding the switch to Off.

Can I change which apps show up in Notification Center?

You can indeed, by going to Settings > Notifications, choosing the app you’d like to turn on or off, and changing the Notification Center setting. You can also decide whether apps’ notifications appear in the Lock Screen by changing the setting at the bottom of the screen.

Is there anything else I should know?

When you’re looking at an app’s notification settings, you can decide whether notifications should show up as a banner, an alert, or not at all. An alert is the same as what push notifications were like before iOS 5: when a notification arrives, a box will appear in the middle of the screen, and requires an action to dismiss.

You can also change the order in which notifications show up in the notifications tray: either by time or manually. If you select by time, the most recent notifications will appear at the top of the list. If you select manually, then they will show up grouped by application in the same order you set up in Settings. Once you select to sort them manually, you’ll be able to drag apps around in the list to reorder them.

That’s pretty much all you need to know to get started with Notifications in iOS 5. Any other questions? Feel free to ask in the comments.

  1. John Harrington, Jr. Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Great iPad tutorial, John. For all who are interested, here’s a tutorial for those with the iPhone: http://bit.ly/p3WgmW

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  2. For some reason Facebook and other apps I have turned on for notification center still don’t show up. Ideas?

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    1. same here! The notification center looks so cool but only weather and stock widgets are showing in it

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    2. Same here, no ideas though.

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    3. Same here, any solutions?

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    4. I’m having the same problem. Only Cal and Reminders show up in Notification Center. Many other apps, including Mail, are enabled, but only those show.

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    5. Have you tried to go into Notifications in Settings and verify that they are turned on? Also, make sure those apps are updated properly to iOS 5. Not sure if the migration of the notifications is seamless (I would assume yes – although the “alert” style of notification is still around).

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    6. They won’t show up in the notification center until you actually get a notification from that app. So in other words, you may have the app turned on to notify, but it won’t actually notify you until you get a notification – that’s why it isn’t showing up

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      1. I am also having same problem, and it’s not because my Facebook is turned off or because no activity on FB
        Just the opposite

        Something is wrong

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  3. Do I have to have the apps running to get notifications for them?
    I had them running and I haven’t gotten notifications, so I quit them and still nothing has happened, even though I’ve gotten mentions on Twitter, etc.

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  4. Hi, I read that you can simply access your notification center from the lock screen as well. But for some reason, when I try to, nothing happens. Am I just suppose to swipe down (through the lock screen FYI)? If so, nothing happens when I do just that. Thanks for the help.

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  5. Can I use a different weather app to show up in the slide down notifications?

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  6. I just have one minor gripe…the events in all the calendars on my phone are shown in the Notifications Center, even if I have those calendars unselected (so I can’t see them in the Calendar app). Does anyone know a workaround?

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    1. Yeah, this has to change. I need my Boss’s calendar on my calendar, but don’t need to know when his meetings are coming up.

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  7. Hey all, I have the same problem as Allen. By default, the weather and stock widgets are shown in the notification centre but other apps cannot be seen even when they’re enabled. Any help?

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    1. Glad I am not the only one. You read all these posts on the Web, and it seems it works fine. But it’s actually highly dysfunctional. Only weather and calendar (I didnt enter any reminder yet) show up, and it lists all events from all calendars, which is the silliest feature ever, because we all have multiple calendars but only need to be reminded of one or two (do I need to be reminded that today is fourth of July, for instance? I doubt it)

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  8. Hi John. I cannot seem to get my mail to show up in notifications. I have followed the instructions above without success. I am still receiving an audible alert like the old days, but no visual notification. Suggestions? Kristi

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    1. I had to reboot my iPhone a couple of times to get this to work.

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  9. The article is a bit off. Apple takes the liberty of already configuring some notifications for you – such as Mail. And they even go as far as configuring Messages to go to the Alerts (rather then banners). Might want to include the fact that the user should definitely jump into Notifications to very for themselves what is configured and setup in there.

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  10. I updated but my iPhone3G didn’t show weather widget and stock on the lock screen. does it work on yours?

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