How to use iOS 5′s Notification Center
Follow this tutorial to understand how to use iOS5′s Notification Center on your iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 or other Apple device.
The notification system in previous versions of Apple’s iOS consisted mainly of intrusive blue rectangular alerts that would loom out from the centre of your screen, obscuring whatever you happened to be doing at the time. With iOS5 however, notifications have been significantly improved and are now much less aggravating, and more Androidesque, with the option of a discreet banner that rolls into view across the top of the screen, a bit like the Countdown conundrum. This, along with the new Notification Centre display, serves to notify you of incoming tweets, texts, iMessages, emails and other background goings-on without distracting you from your current activity.
Step 1: Set-up notifications
The main settings panel for the Notifications Centre is accessed by tapping the Settings icon on your home screen, then tapping the Notifications entry, which is fourth down from the top. (Fig 1). All the apps that are set to receive push notifications are listed in the ‘In Notifications Centre’ list.
Step 2: Sort order
There are two options for the order in which notifications can be displayed in the Notification Centre. If the Sort Apps Manually option is ticked, the order that notifications appear in is the same as the order in which the apps appear listed in the ‘In Notification Centre’ list. If sorted By Time, events appear in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top of the page. For example, if you receive a text message, followed a few minutes later by a new voicemail, the voicemail notification will appear above the text alert.
Step 3: Edit order
The order that apps appear in the ‘In Notification Centre’ list can be rearranged manually. To do this, tap the Edit button in the top right hand corner. Three grey lines will appear to the right of each app in the list. These can be used as handles to pick up and drag an app to a new position in the list (Fig 3). These changes will only take effect in the Notification Centre if the Sort Apps Manually option is ticked.
Step 4: Set-up apps
Each app in the list can be configured individually to display icon badges, alert sounds, and a choice of banners, alerts, or no notifications at all. To change the settings for an app, just tap its name in the list to reveal the configuration window (Fig 4). From here you can also choose whether or not to show a particular app in the Notification Centre by setting the Notification Centre switch on or off, and you can select the number of recent items you want to display. Note that some apps have more options than others.
Step 5: Add apps
You can add an app to the Notification Centre list by scrolling down and tapping its name in the ‘Not In Notification Centre’ list. Then just slide the Notification Centre switch to ‘On’, select the appropriate alert style, and use the remaining switches to select whether or not it should use icon badges, play sound alerts, show a preview or be viewable in your device’s lock screen.
Step 6: Varied responses
When an alert comes in, it will be shown in the form that you selected for the app the alert originates from. If it’s a banner alert, you can just tap the banner to be whisked off to the app that the notification came from (Fig 6), so that you can attend to the pressing matter at hand, or you can choose to ignore it, in which case it rolls smoothly away again secure in the knowledge of a job well done. Text alerts require a response before proceeding, while to respond to an alert on the lock screen, swipe the icon displayed in the alert from left to right.
Step 7: Notification Centre Display
If you want to review the last few notifications you received, this can be done by swiping a finger downwards from the top of the screen, drawing down the Notification Centre screen as if it were a roller blind. (Fig 7)This allows you to view what’s been going on in the form of a vertical list, with optional horizontally scrolling tickers across the top for information such as stock prices and weather summaries. To dismiss it, simply flick it back up again.
Step 8: Tap to switch
You can simply tap any of the notifications on the screen to be taken to the corresponding app for that event, where you can take whatever action is required, be it answering an email, listening to a voice mail or taking your turn at Scrabble. The great thing is that it’s entirely up to you when and how you respond – the persistent nagging of the old method is a distant memory.
Step 9: Delete events
To remove an item from the Notification Centre screen, simply tap the small round ‘x’ button on the right hand side of its title bar, then tap again once it has morphed into a ‘Clear’ button. Note that this doesn’t delete the event the notification refers to, merely the notification itself. (Fig 9)
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