iOS 11 Feature Wishlist: Notification System Overhaul

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From time to time, willingly or unwillingly, I engage in iOS vs Android debates. They’re quite fun and while I always have legit arguments, there are some points where I just concede (as any sensible person would). Notification Center is one of those things.

It just feels like Android takes notifications seriously. It’s designed like an email inbox. You have a list of actions to perform and until you do them, they’ll stay there, in the same state.

iOS is kind of whatever about notifications. If you catch a notification on the Lock screen, that’s great. You can interact with it, take some action, or dismiss it. But once you’re in, there’s little indication that you have an important notification. You literally have to go looking for it. Either as badges on icons, or you need to pull down the Notification Center.

Consider The Android Approach

Because of the nature of my work, I carry two smartphones – an iPhone 6s Plus which is my primary device and a OnePlus 3T. I get notifications on both devices but funnily enough, I’m better at dealing with notifications on my secondary phone than I am on my primary one. Unlike Android, I rarely take action on notifications in the Notification Center itself. Because I have this belief that it’s going to let me down, in some way. So my brain has trained itself to directly go to the app and figure out what to do there. An email notification? Let’s open the email app and find our way to that email ourselves.

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Android’s sticky approach instills more confidence. The notification is there until you swipe it away. Tap to interact with it, swipe down to reveal options.

iOS notifications used to be grouped by app, now they’re grouped by date. Android does both. It sorts notifications based on time and yet, groups different notifications from the same app. This lets you fly through the notifications from the past day.

Apple doesn’t have to copy Android completely but either a grouped approach or at least a setting option to switch between them would be helpful.

Rethink The Notification Visuals

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It wasn’t until I started using Nougat on my OnePlus 3T that I realized just how much wasted space there is in a notification bubble on iOS 10. Nougat packs in a lot more information inside a notification and there’s no padding between notifications either. More importantly, they do it without sacrificing on readability.

With iOS 10, Apple went a bit too far with the notification design. I think Apple needs to take half a step back towards the iOS 9 design.

How Do You Think Notification Center Should Be Improved?

Apple, I think it’s time to peek over once again at what Android is doing with notifications and see if it inspires you. It is time to sort this mess out.

How is the Notification Center letting you down? How would you change it? Share with us in the comments below.

Check out the other features in our iOS 11 Wishlist: