notifications on phone

How to get rid of unwanted notifications on your mobile phone

Notifications are useful when you want them, but can be incredibly annoying when you don’t! If you’ve been experiencing an influx of unwanted notifications on your iPhone, Android, or web browser, follow this guide and stop them today!

Do you have an iPhone?

Do you have an Android?

What are push notifications?

Push notifications are little announcements that display on your phone in the form of a banner at the top of your screen. 

They allow apps and websites to communicate information to you instantly. Some examples include:

  • Updates
  • Messages
  • Breaking news
  • More general announcements like “James has added to their Instagram story”

Depending on what you like to use your phone for, push notifications can be one of the handiest features on your device, or the most irritable. 

Why do you get notifications?

Apps and websites send notifications to alert you to updates or pieces of information they feel is necessary for you to know. They are generally controlled from within your settings for each individual app and are usually enabled by default. 

Most push notifications are personable to you, but you can still end up receiving snippets of information that have no relevance. These are usually the ones we like to get rid of or to stop receiving. 

Apps love to send notifications. For the most part, it's to make you aware of relevant updates. Other times, the apps are just trying to make you use them. This is why you get notifications like “Alex posted for the first time in a while”. 

Notifications can also stay as a little red number by the app they have come from until you either clear it or open it. 

Common app notifications

Here are some of the most common notifications you can get from apps you may use:

  • Social media messages, pictures, tags, links, and updates from: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more
  • Missed calls, messages, voicemails, and emails
  • Updates on stories and headlines from news apps like BBC
  • Updates from music apps and podcasts like Spotify, Apple Music, and iTunes
  • Updates from radio apps 
  • Retail apps like Gumtree, Shpock, and eBay
  • Wellbeing adds like meditation and fitness
  • TV streaming apps like Apple TV, Netflix, and Hulu

If you’re getting annoyed by the notifications an app is sending you, it might be a sign that you don’t need that app installed anymore. 

But if you do still use or want the app, you can turn off any annoying notifications. Find out how for iPhone or Android. 

What are browser notifications?

Alongside apps, your web browsers can also send you notifications. These are clickable messages that appear on your screen while you’re searching the internet. 

Why can browser notifications be dangerous?

Whilst most browser notifications are usually harmless, and you can just exit them and continue reading your webpage, it’s important to be aware of the online risks that are sometimes associated with these alerts. 

Some notifications that pop up can carry malware, which can infect and hack your devices if it manages to infiltrate from the web. Malware advertising is easier to spot now, as it usually spams the page full of ads that you can’t seem to escape from. Clicking on any of these can direct you towards fake phishing sites where cybercriminals can hack into your personal and financial data. 

Here’s how to disable notifications in certain browsers:

  • Google Chrome: Settings > Content > Notifications > Remove [a suspicious link or website you don’t want notifications from anymore]
  • Safari: Settings > find the option for reviewing push notifications > remove any you don’t want
  • Mozilla Firefox: Settings > Content > Notifications > Remove [a suspicious link or website you don’t want notifications from anymore]

There are also a number of ad blockers you can download and install onto your device. Make sure you also have some sort of protection on your phone or laptop that can identify and target viruses. 

How to stop unwanted notifications on iPhones

If you have an iPhone, here’s all the ways you can get rid of unwanted notifications. 

Please note that instructions may differ slightly depending on which model you have. 

Temporarily silence your notifications

Sometimes you might want to temporarily turn off your notifications if you’re in a meeting or a public place where silence is expected. We all know how embarrassing it is for a phone to ring out at the cinema!

To temporarily turn off notifications until you’re in the clear again, go to:

Settings > Do Not Disturb

If you’ve already activated Do Not Disturb on your iPhone before, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen (or the top right on iPhone 12s) and tap the crescent moon icon. 

On Do Not Disturb mode, no notifications will sound on your phone, but they will still be displayed on your screen.

It’s important to note that this also silences texts and calls, so if you’re waiting for a phone call, Do Not Disturb won’t be your best option unless you can always see your display screen. 

To deactivate Do Not Disturb, turn the toggle off in your settings, or press the crescent moon again. 

Silence notifications at a specific time each day

There might be a certain time of day that you require your phone to be silent. This could be in a lesson, meeting, or while you’re asleep. You can set notifications to silent at a specific time by going to:

Settings > Do Not Disturb > Scheduled > [Set the times you don’t wish to be disturbed]

Turn off notifications from one app

Maybe Facebook or Instagram keeps reminding you of people posting pictures or updating their stories, or your shopping apps are sending too many alerts about their sales. 

Whatever the inconvenience, you can disable notifications for separate apps to completely personalise the type of information your phone is allowed to send. To do this, go to:

Settings > Notifications > [Scroll down the list to find the app you want to disable notifications for] > Allow Notifications [if it’s green, tap it to white]

You can switch it back on again if you decide at a later date that you want the notifications.

Turn off browser notifications

If you don’t want open websites on the internet to send you notifications, simply go to:

Safari > Preferences > Websites > Notifications > [Find the website/s you don’t want to receive notifications from] > Deny

This works for both iPhones and iPads. For a MacBook, go to the Apple menu instead of Safari, and follow the remaining instructions. 

How to stop pop-up notifications

To stop Safari from sending you pop-up notifications, go to:

Settings > Safari > [Scroll down to the General section] > Block Pop-ups > Switch toggle to on [green]

How to stop unwanted notifications on Android

If you have an Android, here are all the different ways you can temporarily or permanently get rid of these notifications. Please note that some of these actions may differ slightly depending on which phone you have. 

Temporarily silence your notifications

As with an iPhone, you might want to temporarily halt notifications from sounding on your phone. This is especially useful if you’re in a meeting, or at a public place like the library. 

To do this on an Android, you need to activate the Do Not Disturb option. Swipe down from the top of your screen and tap the crescent moon icon. 

If this is on, the crescent moon icon will appear in your status bar. 

To deactivate, simply tap it again.

Silence notifications at a specific time each day

If you require your phone to be silent at a specific time every day, like for a lesson, meeting, or overnight, follow these steps:

Settings > Do Not Disturb > Enabled as Scheduled > [Tap and enter the times you want notifications to be silent for]

Turn off notifications from one app

If you’re irritated at Facebook or Twitter spamming you with notifications about updated posts, you can turn them off. On Android, there are two ways you can do this. 

  1. When a notification you don’t want to receive from an app appears on your screen, slide the box to the left or right (depending on your model). When you see the grey settings cog, tap to open, and make sure the Allow Notifications toggle is white for off
  2. Go to Settings > Notifications > Notification Management > [Scroll down the list to find the app you want to disable notifications for] > Tap Allow Notifications [green for on, white for off]

You can turn individual app notifications back on to green if you want to receive them again. 

Turn off browser notifications

If a website is sending you browser notifications that you want to remove, there are two ways you can do this on your Android phone or laptop. 

  1. Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Chrome Browser > Notifications > Turn off
  2. Open Chrome, click on the Menu (which is shown as three dots in a vertical line), go to Settings > Advanced > Site settings > Notifications > [Scroll down to Block or Remove a website link you don’t want to receive notifications from] 

How to stop pop-up notifications

To stop pop-up notifications on websites, open Chrome > click on the Menu (indicative by its three vertical dots in the corner) > Settings > Permissions > Pop-ups and redirects > Turn off

And that’s everything you need to know about turning off notifications on your iPhone, Android, or computer. You may also be interested in looking at more mobile phone life hacks to make your life easier. 

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