How to get rid of unwanted notifications on your mobile phone

Notifications are useful when you want them, but can become incredibly annoying when you don’t! If you’ve been getting notifications on your iPhone, Android or web browser, and want rid of them, follow this guide for some helpful tips to stop your device pinging in the future. 

Last updated: 28th Sep 2020 at 10:51am

What are notifications?

Push notifications are little announcements that are displayed 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, from updates to messages to the latest news, to more general announcements like “so-and-so has added to their Instagram story”.

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

Why do you get notifications?

Notifications are sent by the apps and websites on your device 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 with no relevance. These are usually the ones we like to get rid of or prevent from recurring. 

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

Apps love to send you notifications. This is usually to make you aware of someone trying to contact you, or just to get you back on the app. Here are some of the most common types of notifications:

  • Social media messages, pictures, tags, links, and updates from: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest
  • Missed calls, messages, voicemails, emails
  • Messages from dating apps
  • Updates on stories and headlines from news apps like BBC
  • Music trending updates from audio apps like Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Podcasts
  • Retail apps like Gumtree, Shpock, eBay
  • Wellbeing apps like meditation and fitness

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

But if you do still use or want the app, and simply just want to stop receiving notifications for it, there are a few ways you can achieve this. 

Do you have an iPhone?

Do you have an Android?

iPhone

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, like a cinema. Rings, beeps, and whistles can be distracting and embarrassing during these times. 

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

Settings > Control Centre > Do Not Disturb 

If you have already activated Do Not Disturb on your phone before, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap the blue 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 even 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 be looking at your display screen.

Simply press the crescent moon again to deactivate Do Not Disturb for your notifications to sound 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 a daily lesson, meeting, or even while you’re asleep. You can set notifications to silent at a specific time by:

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 to nearby sales. You can disable notifications from separate apps to personalise the type of information you are sent. 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 to green if you decide you want notifications again.

Android

Temporarily silence your notifications 

As with the iPhone, you might want to temporarily halt notifications from sounding on your phone if you’re in a meeting, or at a public place like the cinema. To do this on an Android, you need to activate the Do Not Disturb option by swiping down from the top of the screen and tapping the crescent moon icon. 

To know if your Do Not Disturb has been activated, look out for the crescent moon icon appearing in your status bar.

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 while you’re asleep, follow these steps:

Settings > Do Not Disturb > Enable 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 may want to disable them. On Android, there are two ways you can turn off notifications for an app. 

  1. When a notification appears, slide the box to the left or right. When you see the grey Settings cog > [tap to open] > Allow Notifications [if it’s green, tap to switch it to white/off]
  2. Settings > Notifications > Notification Management > [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 turn it back to green if you want the notifications turned on again. 

The security risks of browser notifications

What are browser notifications?

Similarly to push notifications, browser notifications are clickable messages that appear on your screen while you’re searching on the internet.

Why can browser notifications be dangerous?

While 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 risks that are sometimes associated with these alerts. 

Some notifications that pop up can carry dangerous malware that can infect and hack into your devices. 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 from certain browsers:

  • Google Chrome: Settings > Content > Notifications > Remove [from a website link you didn’t approve or don’t want push notifications from anymore]
  • Safari: Go to your Settings and scroll to find the option for reviewing push notifications
  • Mozilla Firefox: Settings > Content > Notifications > Remove [from a website link you didn’t approve or don’t want push notifications from anymore]

There are also a number of ad blockers you can download and install from the internet. Make sure you also have some sort of protection on your electronic devices that identify and target viruses. 

 

Looking for more mobile phone hacks? Or simply just want to learn how to properly take care of your phone?

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