Are your iPhone notifications not working as you expect? Here’s how to check whether you’ve set them up correctly, how to troubleshoot software problems, and understand what else could be wrong.
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Ensure Notifications Are Enabled
iPhone Notifications are enabled on a per-app basis. Each app must ask permission to display notifications, which you then grant via a pop-up. Sometimes you may deny permission by mistake, and other times an app may never request the required permission causing them to not appear.
You can rectify this behavior and ensure that notifications are enabled (or disabled, if you’d rather) under Settings > Notifications. Scroll down to the app in question then enable “Allow Notifications” and make sure alerts are enabled wherever you want them: on your lock screen, in the Notification Center, and as drop-down banners at the top of the screen.
You choose between a temporary or permanent banner style, the latter of which requires that you dismiss it manually. This can be handy if you don’t want to miss a notification from a particular app. You can also enable or disable “Notification Grouping” which gathers similar notifications together into an expandable stack.
RELATED: How to Manage App Permissions on Your iPhone or iPad
Check Focus or Do Not Disturb Mode
Focus mode can be found in the Control Center by swiping down from the top-right of your screen (or swiping up from the bottom on iPhone models that still have a Home button). Tap and “Focus” to see the different modes available to you: Do Not Disturb, Personal, Work, and Sleep.
These modes can interfere with notification delivery, so make sure to turn them off if you want to receive all notifications. If you find Focus mode useful when working or studying but would prefer to whitelist certain contacts and apps, head to Settings > Focus and set up your desired mode.
This allows you to reap the benefits of disabling distracting notifications from social media or games, while still being able to message or receive calls from friends and family.
Disable Notification Summary
Notification Summary is a feature that bundles together “non-urgent” notifications and delivers them as a summary at more convenient times of your choosing. You won’t see certain notifications immediately with this mode enabled, but you’ll still receive calls and messages.
Your iPhone will suggest apps that are particularly heavy on notifications when you first set the feature up. You can disable or reconfigure the feature under Settings > Notifications > Scheduled Summary.
RELATED: How to Set Up Notification Summary on iPhone and iPad
Restart Your Device
If everything seems right in the Settings > Notification menu then it’s possible a software problem may be to blame. Try restarting your iPhone to see if this solves the problem.
Not having an internet connection will of course affect your ability to receive notifications, so you can check this with an app like Safari (and try disabling Wi-Fi and using cellular instead if not).
Unmute Your iPhone for Notification Sounds
If you’re seeing notifications but not hearing them, your iPhone is likely muted. You can unmute your iPhone using the toggle switch on the left side of the device (if you’re looking at it in portrait mode, face-on).
The volume of incoming notifications is determined by your ringer volume. You can change this using the slider under Settings > Sounds & Haptics, and modify the default alert sounds for notifications like text messages, new mail, and reminders.
It’s also important to make sure “Sounds” is enabled under Settings > Notifications for any app that you want to sound an alert (this will be on by default).
Check If the App Is to Blame
The app or service you’re using could be to blame for the issue. This could be caused by a software bug locally on your device, or by an outage affecting the service in particular. You can try killing the app and starting it again on your iPhone to see if that helps.
You can also check for any updates the app may have pending by launching the App Store, tapping your user icon, then scrolling down to the updates section. Tap “Update” next to an app to download and apply the update immediately. If the problem persists, you can delete the app then download it again from the App Store to see if that helps.
If you’re receiving some app notifications but not everything, the way you’ve configured notifications inside the app could be to blame. Some apps, like Twitter, allow you to configure exactly what notifications you want to see. For example, you can see every tweet from certain accounts while excluding mentions or direct messages.
You will need to dig through the app’s settings to change how notifications are set up, and each app will approach this slightly differently.
Get the Gmail App
If you’re using the default Mail app for iOS you won’t get push notifications for a standard Gmail account. This is because Google limits this functionality to the Gmail iPhone app. If you value immediate alerts for your Google email account, this is the app you’ll need to use.
You can set the “fetch” period at which the iOS Mail app checks for new mail under Settings > Mail > Accounts.
Enable Notifications for Shortcuts
Shortcuts is an app that enables you to create time-saving workflows and automations. These include receiving notifications for certain triggers, like at sunset or when a certain sound is recognized.
To make sure these notifications (and other automations) work, launch Shortcuts and tap on the “Automations” tab, followed by the automation you want to edit. Make sure both “Enable this Automation” is on and “Ask Before Running” is off. Unfortunately, there’s no way to disable the “Running Your Automation” notification at present.
Notifications can be both distracting and a drain on your battery. Disabling iPhone notifications could be a good move if you’re feeling swamped, and using the Notification Summary feature to deliver things at set intervals could be good too.