April 19, 2024

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It's time to reset notifications

It's time to reset notifications

feel that? Is your phone ringing in your yoga pants pocket? Better check it out. Maybe it's a request to approve a substitution in your grocery order. They may be fraudulent charges on your credit card. Maybe it's your mother, your wife, or your sister. It may be a notice from your child's daycare. It could be any of those things! But maybe not. It might be something like:

Hello! You've run out of time for a Spanish lesson! Still thinking about ordering dinner? Enjoy $8 off your purchase. Conditions apply. You've met your sleep goal seven times in the past two weeks. Nice one, Alison. Shop these fresh beauty picks. Take a second to think about how you feel. Beck will be presenting on Wednesday, July 3. Click to learn more!

Notifications are hell, especially on iOS. Android offers better controls and thankfully moves some offenders to a “silent” mailbox, but it's not completely off the hook either. On both platforms, notifications were and continue to be a constant distraction, a plague on our already meager attention span. In theory, we have the tools to tame them. But I don't think I'm in the minority when I say I find it inadequate, boring and confusing. I'm also paranoid about missing an important alert, so I leave notifications on my phone all day, every day. This is how one grocery delivery results in at least five individual push notifications:

Your order has been confirmed. Your order is out for delivery. Your order will be delivered soon. Your order has been delivered ❄️ Remember to refrigerate those perishable items. Tell us how we did!

All day, every day, I'm motivated to learn more! Rate my experience! Psychiatric treatment! Try new seasonal drinks! Sign up for premium and save!

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Here's the thing: I think it's time for apps to get rid of this nonsense. Let's all declare bankruptcy and start over.

I have a few ideas on how to do this. First: Tinder for notification settings. Each app should show you an example of the type of notification it wants to send you, and you can swipe left or right to opt in or out. This would save us the trouble of going into settings in two hundred different apps and selecting two thousand little “unsubscribe” buttons. Plus, it looks like a fun game.

My second suggestion – which is a wild one – is this Promotional notifications should not be allowed. Or you can subscribe to it if you really want to listen to the Starbucks app every day, but you must do your best to do so and you must no This is the default behavior when you choose Allow Notifications. just an idea!

However, I think it's time to give control of notifications back to the people, not to app developers who want us to check these deals! Deals! Deals! Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I felt my phone ringing in my pocket. We'd better see what's up.