iOS 12 Hands-on: Grouped Notifications And Instant Tuning

iOS 12 Hands-on: Grouped Notifications And Instant Tuning

As you probably already know, improvements to Notification Center was a highly-requested feature for iOS 12 by avid iPhone users the world over. You could tell as the portion of the WWDC 2018 keynote pertaining to the iOS Notification Center got one of the biggest applauses.

Now, we didn’t get everything we wanted, but iOS 12 did bring a couple of much-needed improvements to the way notifications are handled on the iPhone and iPad. We go hands-on with the changes.

Grouped Notifications

iOS 12 finally introduces grouped notifications

This was the feature that got a huge roar from the audience. For many years now, iOS would spawn a new entry for every notification. This expectedly caused a massive clutter if you say, received a bunch of messages on a chat app. And because of these individual entries; clearing them off one by one would be a chore. Due to this, it wasn’t uncommon to find unkempt Notification Centers on many people’s iPhones.

Well, not anymore! iOS 12 intelligently groups multiple notifications from the same app (or in some cases, the same conversation) into a neat-looking stack. You also see the total number of hidden notifications at the bottom of the first entry. You can tap on a stack to collapse all the notifications in it. A ‘Show less’ button folds them back into the collected view.

iOS 12 Grouped Notifications

Now that notifications are grouped, clearing a bunch of them becomes easier. Simply swipe leftward on a stack, and hit ‘Clear’ only to dismiss that collection, without resorting to the ‘Clear all’ notifications function.

Compared to Android, grouped notifications in iOS 12 also seem easier to use, because all you need to do is tap on a stack to reveal the rest. While on Android, you need to pull down on a clubbed notification card to expand it, and this sometimes can get confusing with the standard scrolling action.

How Notification Center used to appear in iOS 11, compared to Android

Instant Tuning

This is yet another feature that’s been available on Android for long, but has thankfully made its way to iOS 12. Swiping left on a notification presents a new option called ‘Manage’. This lets you turn off notifications for the app, or let them quietly get collected in Notification Center, all from the lockscreen.

iOS 12 Notifications Manage Settings

This is critical for quickly reducing unwanted distractions which come in the form of notifications on your iPhone or iPad. Previously, users would require to go to Settings -> Notifications and then manually toggle their delivery.

The choice between turning off notifications and allowing them to come in quietly is great. While there may be some apps that are notorious for spamming users with promo notifications, for some others (like news apps) you wouldn’t want to turn notifs off entirely. ‘Deliver Quietly’ is perfect in such situations, where they won’t disturb you upon every arrival, but you can get to them later in Notification Center.

And if that wasn’t enough, Siri will also periodically suggest which apps you can silence, depending on your interactions with notifications on your iPhone or iPad. Lastly, a new type of critical alert is also part of iOS 12, which can even barge through Do Not Disturb restrictions. Apple’s website suggests that reports from healthcare providers could be an example of a critical alert, but we aren’t able to find anything pertaining to this in Settings at the moment.

watchOS 5 Grouped Notifications
Grouped Notifications are part of watchOS 5 too

So, which Notification Center related feature did you like the most? What else do you think they should improve? The comments section below is now open.