All of the Changes to Notifications in iOS 12

In iOS 12, Apple has introduced new notification features, providing an expanded set of tools for monitoring and managing notifications in quicker and more intuitive ways.

There have been no changes to the way that Notifications work on the whole, but many of these features make it easier to clear notifications, determine which notifications you want, and make adjustments on the fly.

Grouped Notifications

iPhone and iPad owners have been asking for the return of grouped notifications for years, and in iOS 12, Apple delivered.

Multiple notifications from the same app will be grouped together on the Lock screen of the iPhone, cutting down on clutter. You can tap a set of notifications from a particular app to expand them to see all of the notifications in the list.

groupednotifications
You can tap on the "X" next to a notification group to clear all of those notifications at one time, or do the same thing with a swipe to the left.

In the Settings app, you can change the behavior of grouped notifications. Go to Settings > Notifications and tap on any app to see the "Notification Grouping" preferences. Tap that to choose "Automatic," "By App," or "Off" if you'd rather see all of the incoming notifications for a particular app like Messages.

Automatic sorts by app for the most part, but with this setting enabled, you might get two notification groups if you have email threads going with two different people in the Mail app, or multiple conversations in Messages, for example. Or different incoming Messages conversations.

By App will make sure all notifications from an app are in one stack, without the sorting that Automatic mode uses.

Instant Tuning

Instant Tuning is a feature that lets you manage a pesky notification right on the Lock screen, giving you the tools to turn notifications for that app off entirely or send notifications right to the Notification Center.

On any notification that's on the Lock screen or in the Notification Center when you swipe down, swipe left on a notification to see settings that include "Manage," "View," and "Clear All."

ios12instanttuning
Select "Manage" from this list to see Instant Tuning options. Notifications set to "Deliver Quietly" will be visible in Notification Center, but you won't see them on the Lock screen, there will be no banner, and there won't be a badge.

To reverse this, tap on a notification from the muted app again, follow the same instructions, and choose "Deliver Prominently." Notification settings can also be changed in the Settings app, also accessible from the Instant Tuning popup. Turn Off, as the name suggests, turns off notifications for that app entirely.

ios12instanttuning2
You can also get to your Instant Tuning settings by 3D Touching or long pressing on any notification and selecting the three ellipses. For more details on using Instant Tuning, make sure to check out our detailed how to.

Note: In iOS 12, Apple will send you alerts asking you if you would like to continue receiving notifications from a particular app if you've been getting a lot of notifications and haven't been interacting with them. When this happens, the alert will feature a "Manage" section so you can access your Instant Tuning settings for that particular app.

Critical Alerts

Critical Alerts are a new type of opt-in notification in iOS 12 that can ignore your Do Not Disturb settings to send important must-see notifications.

criticalalert1
These alerts are limited in scope and are available for medical and health related information, home security, and public safety. For example, a person who is diabetic might want to set critical alerts for a glucose monitor when blood sugar is low, so the notification will be delivered even if Do Not Disturb is turned on.

criticalalerts2
Critical alerts bypass Do Not Disturb and the ringer switch, and will always play a sound. They are meant to be disruptive and for that reason, are going to be highly limited to apps that need these kinds of immediate alerts.

criticalalert3
Developers with apps appropriate for critical alerts will need to apply for an entitlement that needs to be approved by Apple. Users will be able to turn off critical alerts on a per app basis separately from other notifications.

Notification Count in Screen Time

Screen Time, Apple's new feature designed to provide you with the tools to monitor when and how you're using your iOS devices, keeps track of all of the notifications that apps are sending you, letting you know which apps are the noisiest.

This information can help you decide if you want to keep notifications turned on for a particular app, or if you might want to mute an app to cut down on interruptions.

screentimenotifications
You can get to this section of Screen Time by opening the Settings app, choosing Screen Time, selecting "All Devices," and then scrolling down to the bottom. You can see your notifications from the last 24 hours or the last 7 days.

For more on using Screen Time, make sure to check out our Screen Time how to and our how to on App Limits and Downtime.

Richer Notifications

In iOS 12, app developers can build notifications that are able to accept user input, so you can interact with notifications in new ways, doing more on the Lock screen without having to open up your iPhone.

With Instagram, as an example, if the app sends you a notification that a friend posted, you might be able to view the photo and then add a like all from the notification.

ios12touchnotifications

In this example, you can tap the heart to like the photo, something that wasn't possible in iOS 11.

Rich notifications were available in earlier versions of iOS, but Apple has removed the limits that previously restricted interactive touches.

What do you think of the changes to notifications in iOS 12? Are there other notification features you're hoping for in the future? Let us know in the comments.

Top Rated Comments

seatton Avatar
31 months ago
As long as I can set up my Tinder messages as a part of Critical Alert, I will stick with Apple for life.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Infinite Vortex Avatar
31 months ago
Sounds nice… but at the end of the day its just more and more **** to manage in more and more complex ways. I'm getting to the point where Flight Mode is the answer to everything.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brownbird Avatar
31 months ago
Here let me write this for them.

As a user I want to be able to schedule when notifications arrive so that I am not distracted by notifications all day long.

For example, I can set up a schedule where notifications arrive every 30 minutes. Imagine what kind of difference that would make in our ability to be present in the moment, enjoy the company of others, and be able to maintain control over our lives. Maybe that's too much to ask from a company who claims to care about the user and their experience? :shrug
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
L-Viz Avatar
31 months ago

As long as I can set up my Tinder messages as a part of Critical Alert, I will stick with Apple for life.

The only alert, that really can be critical, is coming from the bladder.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DEXTERITY Avatar
31 months ago
How about the ability to delete all mail? It makes no sense there is no way to select all email messages and delete. Who in Apple thinks it is efficient to delete one by one. Beyone annoying, mindboggling and stupid.

The same person who designs mail must be in charge of the apple music layout and settings.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aston441 Avatar
31 months ago

Getting closer to Android's notification functionality ever day. Maybe we'll get home screen customization with applets in the next 10 years :)

Maybe we'll get a freaking notification LED so I don't have to leave my freaking screen on 24/7.

You know, like in the freaking 1990s?!?

you wanna know why life was better in the 90s?

Because even freaking tape based answering machines had a freaking notification LED. Not to mention ALL cell phones.

No notification LED is INSANE.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

windows 10

Developer Successfully Virtualizes Windows for Arm on M1 Mac

Friday November 27, 2020 7:16 am PST by
Developer Alexander Graf has successfully virtualized the Arm version of Windows on an M1 Mac, proving that the M1 chip is capable of running Microsoft's operating system (via The 8-Bit). Currently, Macs with the M1 chip do not support Windows and there is no Boot Camp feature as there is on Intel Macs, but support for Windows is a feature that many users would like to see. Using the...
iPhone black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPhone Deals

Friday November 27, 2020 12:56 pm PST by
Black Friday is halfway done, but there are still a few deals to shop for on iPhones at carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AT&T Starting with AT&T, you'll find up to $700 off any iPhone 12 when...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
iphone trade in store

UK Environmental Committee Says Apple Contributing to 'Throwaway Culture' of 'Short-Lived Products'

Thursday November 26, 2020 7:07 am PST by
Technology companies like Apple are contributing to e-waste by making their products difficult to repair, and charging expensive repair fees, according to a lengthy report published today by the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee. "We were told that Apple glues and solders parts together on their laptops, which makes repairing them very difficult," the Committee wrote in a summary ...
MacBooks black friday

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Mac and MacBook Deals

Thursday November 26, 2020 8:29 pm PST by
For Black Friday 2020, many retailers have solid deals on a variety of Macs. Apple's new M1 Macs are ones everyone wants right now, but because they're so new, deals on them are fairly sparse, although we are seeing some modest discounts. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps...
Top Stories 38 Feature

Top Stories: Black Friday Deals, Redesigned MacBooks, Hands-On With Apple's M1 Macs

Saturday November 28, 2020 6:00 am PST by
With Apple's holiday hardware lineup seemingly all set, attention this week turned to the shopping end of things with Apple and other retailers rolling out their Black Friday deals. That wasn't the only news this week, however, as we've continued to learn more about Apple's new M1-based Macs and we've even heard some fresh rumors about redesigned Mac notebooks coming next year, so read on...
General black friday 20 sale feature 2

Apple Black Friday 2020: Our Top Picks

Friday November 27, 2020 6:16 am PST by
Black Friday shopping has officially kicked off across the United States, and we've been collecting the best deals for Apple's iPads, Macs, AirPods, the HomePod, Apple Watch, and more in separate articles. In order to further streamline your Black Friday shopping this year, we've put together this quick list of our top picks of the overall best Apple-related bargains happening today. Note:...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Thanksgiving Day Deals Still Available on AirPods, M1 Macs, Apple Watch Series 6, iPads

Thursday November 26, 2020 10:21 am PST by
Black Friday deals seem to start earlier and earlier every year, so there were already a wide variety of discounts available for Apple products on Thanksgiving Day. Many of the deals remain available even after Thanksgiving, but act fast, as inventory quickly fluctuates. Thanksgiving Day Deals on Apple Products — Still Available:AirPods with a wireless charging case remain available for...