Most notifications that pass through your iPhone have one of two two fates—they're either swiped away in an instant or immediately responded to. In addition to an annoying flood of notifications that can overwhelm your device, sensitive messages can remain on your Lock Screen. This can take a hit on both your privacy and productivity.
Let’s look at how you can best control the flow of iPhone message notifications in popular apps like Slack, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Messages.
Managing Notifications in Messages
First, let's look at how to take control of notifications in the Messages app. We'll focus mostly on in-app options here, so be sure you're familiar with general iPhone notification settings already.
Silence Messages With a Swipe
For Messages, you'll find notification options either in the individual or group message, or under Settings > Notifications > Messages. When you tap the info tab at the top of an individual message, you can silence alerts by toggling the Hide Alerts option.
You can also silence groups and individuals by swiping left on the conversation in your message list. There, a bell icon will appear. For particularly annoying contacts, you can block their ability to message you further by selecting Info at the top under their name, selecting Info again, and then hitting the Block this Caller option.
Besides hiding alerts in groups, you can also exit the group chat by selecting Leave this Conversation in your group’s settings.
The Case of the Traveling iMessage
One pitfall that comes with iCloud integration for Messages is that messages sent or received on your iPhone can also appear on your other devices, such as your MacBook. This can be an issue if those messages are private.
To prevent this, first you’ll want to establish where you’re signed into iCloud. You can do so on your iPhone by tapping your name at the top of your iPhone's Settings. From there, you’ll find a list of devices at the bottom. If there’s a device you don't use anymore simply select the device and choose Remove from Account.
If you want to dig deeper, you can adjust which addresses you can send or receive messages from. By going to Settings > Messages and choosing Send & Receive, you can adjust which addresses the service uses.
Managing Notifications on Slack
If you use Slack for work, these are the notification settings you should know to cut down on unnecessary pings.
Slack Office Hours
The first step to managing your message traffic in Slack is to set your own office hours. In the iOS Slack app, tap the You button at the bottom-right, then Notifications, and finally Notification Schedule.
Here, you can customize on which days you’d like to get notifications, and during what hours. Outside of those designated hours, Slack pauses notifications.
Do Not Disturb for On-Demand Silence
Slack understands that you may want peace sometimes, even during your office hours. You can enable Do not disturb from the You menu in Slack to silence all notifications for a set amount of time.
That way, you can stop pings even during the times when you've normally set Slack to show you notifications.
Keyword notifications are triggers that allow Slack to notify you when anyone mentions a particular term. To set them up, go to the You tab of Slack, and then under Notifications, select My Keywords.
There, you can select the words or phrases that you would like to send a notification. For example, you might want to know when people use your name or the name of a project you're working on.
Through Notify Me on Mobile under You > Notifications in the Slack app, you can keep tabs on your Slack notifications while away from your desktop. The mobile app can notify you of alerts if you're inactive on the desktop, or after a set period of inactivity. If you often see duplicated alerts on your iPhone, change this setting to take longer before sending notifications.
Managing Notifications on WhatsApp
If you use the wildly popular WhatsApp, here are some tips for cutting down the number of pings it sends.
Silence Annoying Group Messages
You can mute notifications in noisy group chats for a moment or for good. Tap the top bar in the offending chat for more info, then select Mute. There, WhatsApp allows you to mute for 8 Hours, 1 Week, or Always.
The same procedure applies for one-on-one chats as well.
Keep Private Messages Private
When exchanging confidential messages, you can prevent prying eyes from seeing them by hiding the message previews. If you find your lock screen is showing too much, open the Settings tap in WhatsApp, go to Notifications, and toggle the Show Preview setting to hide the text preview in notifications.
Get Notifications on Your Desktop
If you're often at your computer and prefer to receive notifications there, you can utilize WhatsApp Web to chat from your desktop instead. See our full guide to WhatsApp Web to learn how it works.
Have Siri Read Your Notifications
If you need to check your WhatsApp notifications but can't navigate your device normally, you can ask Siri to read your latest messages aloud. Just ask Siri to read your WhatsApp messages, or to send a message to a contact.
Managing Notifications on Signal
For the ultra-secure messaging program Signal, you’ll only need to adjust a few settings to control your notification flow.
Enhanced Lock Screen Anonymity
You’ll first want to adjust what Signal shows on your lock screen. To do so, tap your profile picture in the top-left and go to the Notifications section. From there, under Notification Content, select the Show box and choose if you want notifications to show the Name, Content, and Actions, Name Only, or nothing at all.
In Signal, actions include being able to mark a message as read, to reply, or the ability to call back an incoming Signal voice call.
Adjusting Incoming Call Notifications
While we're discussing calls, there are a couple of ways you can adjust how your iPhone responds to incoming or missed calls from the app. Signal defaults to showing Signal calls in the Recents list in your Phone app. This can defeat the app's purpose of privacy and anonymity.
Also, Signal doesn’t relay calls out of the box. When activated, call relay puts your Signal voice calls through its servers, avoiding your IP address from being revealed to your contact.
While call relay reduces your call quality, it enhances your security. To enable, go to the Privacy section of Signal’s settings. There you will find the options to Always Relay Calls and Show Calls in Recents.
Managing Notifications on Facebook Messenger
If you use Facebook Messenger, you should know about these notification settings.
Slim Pickings for Overall Notifications in Messenger
Tap your profile picture in the top-right of Messenger, then navigate to the Notifications & Sounds section. Here, you’ll find just a few options.
You can activate Do Not Disturb, Show Previews for incoming messages, or activate sounds and vibrations while using the app. There may also be an option for message reminders on this screen.
You’ll find that the bulk of Facebook Messenger’s notification settings come in specific message threads.
Options in Individual Messenger Chats
In an individual message thread or group chat, tap the name at the top for more options. You can mute by clicking the bell icon under the individual’s name. To go a step further and silence an individual or group indefinitely, you can click Ignore Messages. This silences all future messages and pus them into your spam folder.
The only other option after that is to block the offender. Facebook offers you the ability to block all future messages and calls, preventing you from receiving individual messages and calls from their Facebook account. It does not totally block them on Facebook, which is a second option on that page. You’ll still be able to receive messages from them in groups or rooms.
For group messages, the same options apply. There's the added ability to Leave Chat or block a particular member, however.
Stay Connected While Staying Sane
The steps highlighted above can help tailor your iPhone settings to best silence rowdy group messages or active chatters. Once you tweak them per your preferences, you’ll be able to respectfully stay up-to-date on what your friends, coworkers, and family have to say.
But you also won't have to worry about your phone displaying too many pings that break your concentration.
Image Credit: William Hook/Flickr
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