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.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

(View all)
Avatar
22 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)
Avatar
22 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)
Avatar
22 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)
Avatar
22 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)
Avatar
22 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)
Avatar
22 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

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...