Apple introduced Notification Center in iOS 5 to give users a quick way to check all notifications and alerts in a single place without leaving the app they’re in. Prior to that, the notification system was modal and disruptive, and it was difficult to keep track of them.
Notification Center did not get a lot of attention in iOS 6, expect for the “Tap to tweet” and “Tap to post” shortcuts for Facebook and Twitter and syncing of notification status across iOS devices.
In iOS 7, Apple has made some improvements and changes to Notification Center. Before we go into the details here’s what Apple has to say about the
improvements to Notification Center in iOS 7:
Notification Center lets you know about new mail, missed calls, to-dos that need doing, and more. And a new feature called Today gives you a convenient summary of, well, today. One glance at your iPhone and you’ll know if it’s a certain someone’s birthday, if you’ll need an umbrella, or if traffic will slow down your commute. You’ll even get a heads-up on tomorrow. You can access Notification Center from any screen, including the Lock screen. Just swipe down. And get up to speed.
So here’s what has changed in Notification Center:
- The grey linen background of the Notification Center has been replaced by a translucent/blurred background. It has a dark tint compared to the Control Center, with light smudges based on the color of the app icons or what’s underneath. Like the camera slider, Notification Center obeys the laws of gravity, if you slam it down, it’ll bounce.
- The Notification Center in iOS 7 is divided into three tabs namely Today, All and missed.
- Today: It shows you the current date and time, along with information of the current weather and your next appointment. It also provides commute details of locations you have frequently visited. The feature seems to be similar to Google Now feature, which gives traffic conditions before you leave for work. Below that it displays the Calendar view for the next 6 hours, Reminders and Stocks. It also displays tomorrow’s summary, which gives suggestions such as going to bed early if you’ve a busy day tomorrow.
Screenshot of the Today feature showing traffic
Screenshot of the Today feature showing tomorrow’s summary
- All: It displays all the alerts you’ve received in the last 24 hours.
- Missed: It lets you see the alerts you may have missed in the last 24 hours.
- You can access the Notification Center from the Lock screen just like iOS 7′s all-new Control Center. If you’re worried about privacy, then don’t worry, you can turn off the Show on Lock screen toggle for an app in the Settings app. The setting is currently used to show or hide alerts on the Lock screen.
- Banner notifications and alerts get the flat design treatment.
- You can dismiss banner notifications by swiping up on them.
- Apple has removed the ”Tap to tweet” and “Tap to post” shortcuts for Facebook and Twitter. We’re not surprised as they always seemed out of place in the Notification Center. However, it is surprising that Apple has not added them to Control Center.
- The font size of the notification text is relatively bigger, which should improve readability.
- You have the option to disable the Today view when you access Notification Center from the Lock screen.
- You also have the option to disable today’s summary, Calendar day view, Reminders, Stocks and tomorrow’s summary from the Today tab via the Settings app.
Things we didn’t get:
- Ability to dismiss a notification with a gesture in Notification Center, which would have been a lot more intuitive.
- Option to dismiss all Notifications. You can only dismiss notification at an app level like before. You still have to tap on the x button and then the Clear button to dismiss th
e notifications, which is quite ridiculous.
- Actionable Notifications: Notifications are kind of read only, when you tap or swipe on them, they launch the relevant app, that allows us to take the appropriate action. However, that’s too basic. We were hoping Apple will let us interact with the notifications, which will be possible in OS X Mavericks, so we can reply to a message, respond to a FaceTime video call, or delete an email right from a notification.
- When Apple introduced the Notification Center in iOS 5, we were excited by custom widgets for Weather and Stocks. We were hoping that Apple will open up API to allow developers create standalone widgets or as extensions to their apps. However, Apple seems to have killed the idea of widgets completely in iOS 7 by replacing the weather with a more descriptive information and a list view for stocks in the Today view.
The new Notification center will be available in iOS 7 when it is released later this fall.