Are your iPhone notifications not working as you expect? Here’s how to check if you set it up correctly, how to troubleshoot software problems, and also understand what might be wrong.
Related: How to master notifications on your iPhone
Make sure notifications are enabled
iPhone notifications are enabled on a per app basis. Each app must request permission to display notifications, which you then grant via a popup. Sometimes you may deny the permission by mistake, other times the app may not ask for the required permission which results in it not showing up.
You can correct this behavior and make sure that notifications are enabled (or disabled, if you prefer) under Settings > Notifications. Scroll down to the app in question, enable Allow Notifications and make sure that alerts are enabled wherever you want: on the lock screen, in the Notification Center, and drop-down banners at the top of the screen.
You can choose between a temporary or permanent banner style, the latter requires you to manually decline it. This can be useful if you don’t want to miss a notification from a specific app. You can also enable or disable Notification Aggregation, which groups similar notifications together in an expandable package.
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 the screen (or swiping up from the bottom on iPhone models that still have a Home button). Click 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 be sure to turn them off if you want to receive all notifications. If you find focus mode useful when working or studying but prefer to whitelist certain contacts and apps, go to Settings > Focus and set up the mode you want.
This allows you to reap the benefits of disabling distracting notifications from social media or games, while still being able to send messages or receive calls from friends and family.
Disable notification summary
Notification Summary is a feature that groups “non-urgent” notifications together and presents them as a summary at the most convenient times of your choosing. You won’t see certain notifications right away with this mode enabled, but you will still receive calls and messages.
The iPhone will suggest particularly heavy apps on notifications when you first set up the feature. You can disable or reconfigure the feature under Settings > Notifications > Scheduled Summary.
Related: How to set up notification summary on iPhone and iPad
Reboot your device
If everything looks fine in the Settings > Notifications menu, a software problem is likely to be the cause. 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 that with an app like Safari (and try disabling Wi-Fi and using cellular instead if it isn’t).
Reboot your iPhone for alarm sounds
If you see notifications but don’t hear them, your iPhone is probably muted. You can sound your iPhone back using the toggle switch on the left side of the device (if you are looking at it in portrait mode, face it).
The volume of incoming notifications is determined by the volume of your ringer. You can change this using the slider under Settings > Sounds & Touches, and tweak 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 you want to sound an alert (this will be turned on by default).
Check if the app is to blame
The app or service you are using may be to blame for this problem. This could be due to a software glitch locally on your device, or due to a service outage that specifically affects the service. You can try turning the app off and on again on your iPhone to see if that helps.
You can also check for any updates the app might be pending for by launching the App Store, clicking on your user icon, and then scrolling down to the Updates section. Click Update next to an app to immediately download and apply the update. If the problem persists, you can delete the app and then download it again from the App Store to see if that helps.
If you are getting some app notifications but not all, the way you configured the in-app notifications might be the cause. Some apps, like Twitter, allow you to configure exactly which notifications you want to see. For example, you can see every tweet from certain accounts while excluding mentions or direct messages.
You’ll need to dig into the app’s settings to change how notifications are set up, and each app will handle this a little differently.
Get the Gmail app
If you use 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 instant alerts for your Google email account, this is the app you’ll need to use.
You can set the “fetch” period during which the iOS Mail app checks for new mail under Settings > Mail > Accounts.
Enable notifications for shortcuts
Shortcuts is an application that enables you to create time-saving workflows and automation. This includes receiving notifications for some triggers, such as at sunset or when a specific sound is recognized.
To make sure these notifications (and other automations) are working, turn on the shortcuts and tap the Automation tab, followed by the automation you want to edit. Make sure “Enable this automation” is turned on and “Ask before play” is turned off. Unfortunately, there is no way to disable the “Turn on automation” notification at this time.
Notifications can be distracting and drain your battery. Disabling iPhone notifications might be a good move if you’re feeling annoyed, and using the notification summary feature to deliver things at set intervals might be fine too.