Lock down No­ti­fi­ca­tions

Mac|Life - - FEATURE -

The ba­sics of no­ti­fi­ca­tions remain the same in iOS 11. They can ap­pear as a ban­ner across the top of the screen, play a sound, and dis­play a badge on their par­ent app’s Home screen icon to re­mind you there are things await­ing your at­ten­tion. How­ever, there are some im­por­tant changes to know about. Help­fully, they in­clude the use of clearer lan­guage to de­scribe be­hav­iors and hope­fully pre­vent con­fu­sion.

In the past you might pre­vi­ously have stopped an app show­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tions on the Lock screen be­cause you didn’t want it to dis­play po­ten­tially sen­si­tive data there. Prob­lem is, you could also miss im­por­tant no­ti­fi­ca­tions. For­tu­nately, this should no longer be nec­es­sary – one of iOS 11’s most wel­come changes can fix that for you.

Ban­ners, plain and sim­ple

The first change is a mat­ter of clearer ter­mi­nol­ogy, and will be ben­e­fi­cial if you’re new to iOS. Pre­vi­ously, Ap­ple used the term “ban­ners” to re­fer to the kind that briefly pop in at the top of the screen and dis­ap­pear a few sec­onds later, and “alerts” for those that look iden­ti­cal but stick around till opened or dis­missed. In iOS 11, both are now called ban­ners, and the dis­tinc­tion be­tween them is clearer: you’ll find them de­scribed as “tem­po­rary” and “per­sis­tent” in apps’ pages in Set­tings > No­ti­fi­ca­tions.

New names for fa­mil­iar faces

Go to any app’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion set­tings and you’ll see there are no longer “Show in No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­ter” and “Show on Lock Screen” items. In their place are two new op­tions: “Show on Cover Sheet” and “Show in His­tory.” Un­like ban­ners, these aren’t just a name change. While the Cover Sheet is es­sen­tially what you al­ready know as No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­ter – still ac­cessed by swip­ing down from the screen’s top edge – it sports some func­tion­al­ity changes for the bet­ter.

In­stant photos, wher­ever you are

It’s no longer pos­si­ble to set an app’s no­ti­fi­ca­tions so that alerts ap­pear on the Lock screen but not in the Cover Sheet, or vice versa. The two places are iden­ti­cal in con­tent and func­tion­al­ity, save for the dis­tinc­tion of your de­vice be­ing locked or un­locked (which is im­por­tant to the next tip, about no­ti­fi­ca­tion pre­views).

As a con­se­quence of the Lock screen and the Cover Sheet be­ing the same, a su­per-quick route to cam­era fea­tures is avail­able even when you’re us­ing an app: just swipe down from the top of the screen to re­veal the Cover Sheet, then swipe left on an empty area of it.

To pre­view or not to pre­view

In pre­vi­ous ver­sions of iOS, no­ti­fi­ca­tion set­tings for a few apps – no­tably Mail and Mes­sages – in­cluded a Show Pre­views op­tion. You could change this from “Al­ways” to “When Un­locked” or “Never” to pre­vent pri­vate info be­ing vis­i­ble on the Lock screen. The ma­jor­ity of apps didn’t of­fer this, though. iOS 11 fixes this with a global Show Pre­views set­ting at the top of Set­tings > No­ti­fi­ca­tions, pro­vid­ing a way to en­sure no info from any app is read­able by rov­ing eyes.

This de­fault set­ting for all apps is sup­ple­mented by a Show Pre­views item within ev­ery app’s set­tings. This ar­range­ment gives you more pri­vacy by de­fault, but you can al­low apps to de­vi­ate from the norm if you know they won’t leak any­thing sen­si­tive.

Rest finger to pre­view

Prior to iOS 11, you might have en­abled Set­tings > Gen­eral > Ac­ces­si­bil­ity > Home But­ton > Rest Finger to Open. If that’s the case and you set the mas­ter Show Pre­views set­ting to When Un­locked, af­ter un­lock­ing your de­vice you’ll have to pull down the Cover Sheet to read the items that were shown on the Lock screen.

Dis­able that ac­ces­si­bil­ity set­ting and, af­ter wak­ing your de­vice, rest­ing your finger on the Touch ID sen­sor will un­lock your de­vice but im­me­di­ately pre­view your no­ti­fi­ca­tions; press the Sleep/Wake but­ton if you want to lock the de­vice and hide the pre­views again.

No­ti­fi­ca­tions his­tory

There are two tiers to no­ti­fi­ca­tions on the Lock screen/Cover Sheet. Tap any app’s name in Set­tings > No­ti­fi­ca­tions and you’ll see “Show on Cover Sheet,” which is the list of re­cent and unat­tended alerts shown when you wake your de­vice or pull down the Cover Sheet.

“Show in His­tory” refers to the list of older items you haven’t acted upon or dis­missed, shown when you swipe up on the Lock screen or Cover Sheet. So, you might pri­ori­tise Face­book’s Mes­sen­ger app to in­form you of di­rect mes­sages on the Cover Sheet, but con­fine sta­tus up­dates from the main Face­book app to the his­tory, say.

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