How To: Make Notifications on Your iPhone Appear Exactly When You Want Them To

Make Notifications on Your iPhone Appear Exactly When You Want Them To

Apple unrolled an array of nifty iPhone features in iOS 15. One of the more valuable updates lets you group all your untimely notifications and view them throughout the day at only the times you choose.

In a nutshell, Scheduled Summary helps summarize and organize app notifications the way you want them, allowing you to bundle non-urgent notifications to view at specific times when you're not busy. That way, you won't get bombarded by untimely alerts all day long, making your more important notifications stand out.

When you omit apps from the Scheduled Summary, their notifications will show up on the lock screen and Notification Center in real time. Then, all alerts from the consolidated apps will show up in groups at your scheduled times. In another scenario, you could add only important apps to the Scheduled Summary instead — so you're more likely to see their alerts and not miss anything, which could be helpful to view after waking up.

Overall, Scheduled Summary is a neat little feature that helps you concentrate on your task at hand and prioritize alerts based on your daily schedule. Remember, though, that this is not the Do Not Disturb mode, so you'll get calls, messages, and other time-sensitive notifications. However, you do have the choice of whether you want to have direct messages delivered to you immediately or bundled up in the summary (you can't do that with calls and FaceTime).

To set up your Scheduled Summary:

Step 1: Enabled Scheduled Summary

Navigate to Settings –> Notifications. At the top, tap the "Scheduled Summary" option, which is turned off by default. Alternatively, you can get to the menu by selecting "Scheduled Summary" from a search in Settings or Spotlight. Once there, toggle its switch to turn Scheduled Summary on.

Step 2: Choose Apps to Summarize

It will prompt you to choose the apps whose notifications you want to be consolidated in the summary. I selected WhatsApp and Messages in my example, but you can pick as many as you want. They can be all apps minus only important ones, apps from a particular category (like news), or whatever works best for you.

The apps with the most daily notifications on average will show up right away, but you can tap "Show More" to see the rest. If you don't see an app that you want to include, it's likely because you have notifications turned off for it, so you'd have to turn them back on before you can add them to your summary.

After you have selected everything, tap "Add 1 App" or "Add [#] Apps."

Step 3: Set Your Summary Schedule

After that, you'll see a page where you can set a schedule for receiving notifications from the apps you selected in Step 2. By default, there are two summaries scheduled; tap their times to customize them. For example, in the screenshots below, I scheduled my first summary for noon and the second for 5:00 p.m.

If you only want one summary, tap the minus button next to the "2nd Summary" to remove it. If you want more than two, tap the "+ Add Summary" button, but know that Apple limits you to 12 total summaries.

When done, tap "Turn on Notification Summary," and you'll be all set.

Step 4: Customize Your Scheduled Summary

Once you've set up the summary's schedule, it will redirect you to the main Scheduled Summary page. Here, you can add or subtract apps by toggling the switch next to each one. In my case, I added the Gmail app. If you can't find the apps you want, you can choose to sort from "A to Z" instead of by the daily notification average.

Step 5: See Your Summaries Early (Optional)

You will also see an option called "Show Next Summary," which is disabled by default. When it's on, the following summary shows up in your Notification Center before its scheduled time. Your iPhone will keep adding to it until it reaches the scheduled time, but you can expand it from your notifications to see everything that's in there already, in case you don't want to wait.

My second summary is due at 5:00 p.m., but I won't be able to preview it with the "Show Next Summary" switched disabled. When it's on, however, that summary will be available to preview, and I can interact with it just like I can with regular notifications. Anything you read or dismiss won't appear again at the scheduled time.

Step 6: Adjust Important Notifications (Optional)

On each app's notifications preferences, you'll see two options under Always Deliver Immediately: "Time Sensitive Notifications" and "Direct Messages." To get there, you can:

  • Navigate to Settings –> [The App] –> Notifications.
  • Navigate to Settings –> Notifications –> [The App].
  • Tap the ellipsis (•••) next to the app in the Notification Center, then choose "View Settings."

Both options should be enabled by default, but you can disable them if you don't want DMs or urgent alerts to bypass the summary.

Sometimes, the Notification Center will ask you if you want to keep getting direct messages right away or push them all to your Scheduled Summary. You may also get a similar question for some apps about time-sensitive alerts.

Step 7: Add More Apps to Your Summary (Optional)

You can add and subtract apps from the Scheduled Summary page, as seen in Step 4, but that's not the only way to do it.

If Scheduled Summary is enabled, whenever an app asks for permission to send you notifications, there will be an option to "Allow in Scheduled Summary." Tapping that will add the app to your summary.

You can also open an app from Settings and tap "Notifications," then choose "Scheduled Summary" to add it. Or you can do it from the app's preferences in Settings –> Notifications.

Other Things You Should Know

  • You can only have one Scheduled Summary. Maybe one day, Apple will give us an option to select different groups of apps for different schedules so that like-minded apps can be consolidated into their own summaries, but it may not ever happen either.
  • Turning Scheduled Summary on won't affect any notifications already in your Notification Center, so it won't move recent alerts to it. Only future alerts will be included.
  • You can ask Siri to show "Notification summary," and it'll let you know which apps are in the summary, then start speaking the first notification. After telling you the first notification, it will move to the others. When a new app comes up, it'll ask you if you want to hear its alerts, so say "no" or "yes" to skip or listen to them, respectively.
  • If you disable the Scheduled Summary, any summaries in your Notification Center will disappear, and the alerts that were in them may not disseminate back to where they'd usually go.
  • You can tap the ellipsis (•••) next to apps in your summary and choose "Deliver Immediately" to remove the app from your summary altogether.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new emoji, enhanced security, podcast transcripts, Apple Cash virtual numbers, and other useful features. There are even new additions hidden within Safari. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.4 update.

Cover photo and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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